Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your continued labor in prayer for our prodigals and revival each Wednesday. This unity in prayer is very much appreciated and valued by Rachel and me.
In reading the sad account of the Judges, I noticed a number of women who were very significant in the progress of God’s plan for His people. I would like to consider four.
In chapter one, Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, became the wife of Othniel because of his heroics in conquering the city of Kiriath-sepher in the land of Negeb. What caught my attention was her desire and request for a special (extra) blessing. She asked for a field of water springs. This was significant because Negeb was a dry barren place. What I find commendable was the foresight in her request. She foresaw the need of refreshing water for her family and the new inhabitants of this city and was willing to step up and request it. How good it is when sisters of vision see the need for refreshment in their areas of service and act accordingly!
Second, is the often criticized prophetess by the name of Deborah. It was through her leadership that Israel had rest for forty years. Her desire was not for prominence and place, as was clearly seen in her interactions with Barak, but rather for the freedom of God’s people. They were under the cruel hand of Jabin, King of Canaan. I really appreciated one of the tasks she performed while being the judge. “She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephriam, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:5). Here was a woman of God, a mother in Israel who knew her God, the ways of her God, and made herself available to do the work God gave her to do among His people. May the Lord raise up many more like her!
Then there is the tent-dwelling woman whose name was Jael. Hers was a difficult task, but God had prepared her and then used her mightily in bring down Sisera, the general. She was not afraid of the enemy and (like David) went out to meet him. She wisely offered the tired general milk and a warm bed. When he fell asleep, she quietly took a tent peg and hammered it into his temple, staking him to the ground. While the details are grotesque, she did what was right regardless of how difficult it was. When you know in your heart that you are doing the right thing before God, then learn from Jael, and do it faithfully with all your might.
The fourth woman is Manoah’s wife, the mother of Samson. What intrigued me was the fact that the angel of the Lord appeared to her twice and not to her husband. It was to her that the announcement and instruction concerning Samson came. She then invited Manoah to the second meeting with the angel, and after they conversed, Manoah was afraid for their lives and said, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). It was his wife that calmed his fears, knowing that God had a special plan for them. This woman who previously had been barren was now marked by great faith.
There is a fifth woman of God, from this generation, that I wish to mention. We attended her funeral today. Her name was Jean Vance and she was the wife of John and the mother of Stephen, Rachel, and Ruth. While her son Stephen is a very good friend of mine, I didn’t get to know Mrs. Vance until after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis a year and a half ago. During my visits, I learned that trials can do at least two things: they can develop character, making us more like Jesus, but they also prove the genuineness of character. I saw that in my visits. I saw her patience and endurance in the face of great difficulty. I saw her acceptance and joy in the midst of disappointment. I saw her true concern and love for others in times of personal pain. In her, I saw Jesus. She was a woman devoted to her Lord, and it was visible in her love for God’s people and for souls. We walked away from her funeral today feeling challenged to emulate the Christ-like characteristics she lived.
May we learn from these godly women as we seek our God with true earnest hearts today.
Love in Christ,