Since stating my intention to write a post about some of the less popular (or just rarely mentioned) women of the Bible, many times have I wished I’d kept my mouth shut… Because having mentioned it, I will now obligate myself to do it, and just saying, it’s not been as easy as I first thought. (I guess the women who are more famous, became famous for a reason, and vice versa.)
Against my better judgement and the advice of more experienced writers, I give you the disclaimer that I’m feeling pretty insecure about this post… It just hasn’t come together or flowed easily for me. But here are my efforts and there’s always the opportunity to do better next time.
I did find a few women from the Bible, who I don’t hear people talk about much, and some more common ones, who we mainly remember for their failings. They have some good qualities too!
For example, Eve. Okay, so Eve gets a bad rap, and with good reason; after all, it was she who “ate the apple,” (although in her situation I’m pretty sure any of us would have done the same.) But laying all her mistakes aside, let’s take a moment and recognize her as the mother of humanity… the very first mother ever.
Did you ever stop to think about how brave Eve had to be? Imagine how terrifying it would have been for her, going through the first pregnancy and childbirth ever, with no mother to ask when she had questions?
No midwife to explain the strange symptoms she would experience… No sisters, no other moms to compare notes with. Just her husband who probably was equally clueless as to what was going on.
I hope God somehow helped her to understand what was happening, because I can’t imagine going thru labor and delivery completely unprepared for what I would face. And I may be wrong about this, but seeing as she was the reason for the punishment of painful childbirth, I doubt God made it extra easy on her…
Sure, Eve had her failngs, but in my mind she deserves a medal for braving all those firsts with no mother of her own, no midwife, no nearby hospital for backup, and no peers to give advice and support along the way.
There is another brave young woman that fascinates me, but the Bible doesn’t name her. She is only referred to, as the daughter of Jephthah. (Judges 11:30-40) This is a story that has been familiar to me from little up, as my mom always used it to show us the imprudence of making rash promises. I read this story again recently, and was impressed to again realize what kind of woman Jephthah’s daughter must have been. I remembered the gist of the story but had forgotten many of the details.
Honestly, in her shoes, I think I would have begged my Dad to ask God’s forgiveness for making such a promise, and let me live. But no! She encouraged her father to keep his vow to God, only asking that she might have a little time first, just two months to mourn with her friends.
I don’t know how old she was, but it would seem like she was fairly young. Not only was she brave, she was obviously a mature girl, whose desire to be in God’s will was stronger than her wish to live.
When it comes to brave women, there’s the story of Jael. (At the risk of being seen as a promoter of violence, I use her as an example.)😉
If you don’t know the story, read the account in Judges 4 and I think you too will find her bravery impressive. It’s a little gruesome, but it was Old Testament times, and since she was so highly spoken of by Deborah and Barak, (Judges 5:24) I guess she did what she had to do according to God’s plan. All that to say: when I think bravery, I think Jael.
Bravery is not the only quality that I admire, by the way. It is probably the one quality by which I’m most easily impressed, mainly due to the lack of bravery I see in myself. That explains why the women I admire from the Bible, tend to be the really brave ones. Some others would be Abigail, Deborah, and Hagar. (How would you like to take a small child and go live in the wilderness with no man to provide you with food or protect you from wild animals?)
Humility is another beautiful quality in a woman. Humility kept Elizabeth from being jealous of Mary, who was just a young girl, and wondering why she wasn’t chosen instead to be the mother of Jesus… It seems to me that she could have found reason to feel a little slighted. She could have said “at my age, surely I am more mature and suited for the task of raising the Son of God than she- and here I am, bearing his fore-runner!” But we don’t read anything like that! She was honored when Mary visited her, and she addressed her with joy as “the mother of my Lord.”
What does humility look like today? One definition I found for humility was “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” Does this mean we should constantly mope around with an inferiority complex?
No! Each one of us is talented in certain areas, and capable of filling a place on this earth that no one else can fill. God made each of us just the way He wanted to, and He has called His work “good.” I firmly believe that it is good and right to be confident in who you are in Christ- to recognize and embrace that you are a daughter of God, created by Him and beautiful in his eyes. Refusing to accept ourselves will not make us humble.
Humility is… not looking around at other people and thinking we are better equipped for, and/or should have been assigned to the task they are doing. For example; I love people, and interacting with them, but that doesn’t mean I should have been asked instead of someone else, to travel to some far away land as a missionary.
My place for now is here on our farm, and my mission field consists of the strangers I chance to meet in the grocery store, the neighbors and community people here, and as many precious little souls as God sees fit to give us.
Humility is… not looking at where you are in life, and thinking you got there on your own efforts or merits. I am not a wife and mother just because God looked down and decided I was better equipped for the job than others around me. (It’s more likely that He said “There is someone who needs to grow up! It’s time for her to get married!”)
I thank God for the life I have, because I know I only have it because of God’s love and mercy.
I didn’t consult God’s will nearly as much as I should have in my younger years. I was and still am impulsive by nature and I often ran ahead of God and made my own choices. I recognize that only by his grace am I so blessed today. I have a husband who is truly my perfect match, but it’s not because I waited on God to bring him to me. It was more like a game of trial and error, where put of the blue, God plunked the right one in my lap.
I cannot pat myself on the back, thinking God selected me for my excellent homemaking skills and submissive attitude. No! (in fact I’m not a great housekeeper at all, and submission? Well… sometimes it comes easily… like when things are going my way!) 😉
Humility is… not being too proud to accept the help of others. This one steps on my toes, because I like to be independent and tend to think I can do everything myself. I always saw it as a good thing, you know, not needing anyone to help me. I would stay up all night if I had to, rather than call anyone else to come help me with “my work.” But then when I became a mom, and I got behind, I could no longer stay up all night working, because I needed that sleep!! One day my dear husband found me crying, because the turkeys, the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, and all the other things that needed to be done, had piled up over my head and I was sure I could never catch up.
I told him my sob story and he matter of factly said “Well, call somebody to help!” I was appalled at the idea and assured him that I would figure out something. I tore into my work with renewed determination, because I was not about to call for help.
Hubby watched quietly for a minute and then said: “You know, I could take the day off and help you today, and I wouldn’t mind a bit, but it looks to me like its time for you to get past your pride. You are going to call someone to help you.” That word “pride” made me stop and think. I had never considered my independence a matter of pride!
It was not an easy or fun thing to do, but I did end up calling someone to come and help me that day, and it was such a wonderful lift! I must have learned my lesson, because now I don’t hesitate to call my mom or mother in law if I’m needing some help. 🙂
I see many examples of humility in people I know and interact with, too many to name. From these friends I can take examples and hopefully grow in humility. There are also a lot of verses in the Bible about humility. Here are two of my favorites:
“Clothe yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5b ESV
” O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NLT
I hope someone finds a blessing here, and that all of you have a blest weekend!