The Bible is filled with poignant stories of God's faithfulness, power, and love. There are all sorts of tales about God empowering His people to do kingdom work on His behalf, of the Christian community impacting the world through Jesus' radical demonstration of love and healing.
Throughout the Bible, we can see God highlighting faithful women to move the world in a powerful way.
We're dialing in on the incredible stories of women in the Bible and how God speaks through them to enact justice and inspire us—many, many years later. Without any further ado, here are 3 hopeful lessons we've learned from the awe-inspiring women in the Bible.
1. A Loyalty Like Ruth's
"But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." ~ Ruth 1:16
Many of you are familiar with the story of Ruth. We love this story, as it showcases the power of loyalty and Christian friendship. Right away, we're introduced to our main set of characters. Ruth is the daughter-in-law of Naomi, an Israelite woman living in Bethlehem. Sadly, both Naomi and Ruth's husbands die and two are left as widows. Naomi tells Ruth to essentially move on with her life, to move to another town and seek out a new life, but Ruth demonstrates great love for her mother-in-law and remains steadfast, claiming, "Where you go, I will go."
Ruth understands just how difficult life will be for Naomi, as she is both an immigrant and a widow, and she commits to being by her side no matter what.
Later on in the book, Ruth meets a man named Boaz, and he's instantly impressed by her steadfast loyalty to her mother-in-law. He prays that God may reward her for this great love.
In chapter 3, Naomi and Ruth acknowledge Boaz as a man of great moral character and establish him as the "kinsmen redeemer" of the family. In other words, he is a male relative who takes responsibility for family members in need. Ruth once again acts with boldness and asks Boaz if he will marry her and redeem the family. Again, Boaz is impressed with Ruth's faithfulness to the family—and to Naomi's honor, in particular.
What We Learned
In the midst of devastation and family tragedy, Ruth demonstrates radical loyalty that earns her favor in God's eyes. Because of her kindness to Naomi, the Lord allows her to find a husband in Boaz. The book starts out with death and sadness and ends with birth and great happiness, as Ruth and Boaz have children—to the great delight of Naomi, too!
2. A Faith Like the Canaanite Woman's
"He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." ~ Mark 5:34
There are those moments in the Bible that are so stunning and powerful, they take our breath away. The passage of Jesus' encounter with the Canaanite woman from the New Testament is one of those stories. In this account, Jesus travels some 50 miles to Tyre and Sidon to have this encounter with this woman, as He knew her deep need for Him.
The woman confronts Jesus in the crowds and tells Him of her daughter, plagued by demons. She says, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." A few things to note here. One, the woman demonstrates great love for her daughter by interceding on her behalf. Two, she acknowledges Jesus as Lord and greatly reveres Him. She knows who He is and believes in His healing power.
The disciples seek to send her away, bothered by her display of emotion, but Jesus engages with her. He replies, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Essentially, He's saying here that his mission was not to serve Gentiles like her.
This urges the Canaanite women to press Him further, stating, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table."
This passage can be difficult to unpack. Again, Jesus is clarifying who He was sent for—the Jews, not the Gentiles (i.e., not her). According to Enduring Word commentary, the woman's response continues to seek His favor and blessing. It's as if she says,"Jesus, I understand that the focus of Your ministry is to the Jews – that they have a special place in God’s redemptive plan. Yet I also understand that Your ministry extends beyond the Jewish people, and I want to be part of that extended blessing."
Of course, Jesus ends up rewarding this woman for her demonstration of faith—for her courage and dedication.
What We Learned
There are a couple of instances in Scripture in which Jesus compliments someone for their faith. This instance here and also His encounter with the Centurion (Matthew 8:10). She was rewarded for her faith because it was unlikely, it was tested, and it was clever. Her great love for her daughter emboldened her to pursue Jesus' healing, even when He pushed back. She didn't give up.
3. An Obedience Like Mary's
"My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed." ~ Luke 1:46
Otherwise known as Mary's Magnificat, or Mary's song of faith, this passage is a stunning glimpse into Mary's deep reverence and obedience to the Lord after learning she was to give birth to Jesus. She acknowledges how blessed she is and directly praises God for it. This is what we're called to do, too!
The Charles Spurgeon commentary puts it in these words: "It was only her wondrous faith—in some respects, her matchless faith, for no other woman had ever had such a blessed trial of faith as she had—it was only her matchless faith that she should be the mother of the holy child Jesus, that sustained her."
What We Learned
Mary's response to this great news is one of adoration and obedience. She praises God with assurance, trusting in His great plan, even though the future is highly uncertain. Whenever the Lord speaks to us, we are to trust, obey, and praise. Think of the cost for Mary. As a virgin mother, she was to experience shame, suffering, and confusion. However, she didn't let those possibilities overcome her. Instead, she can only focus on God's goodness and trust in His plan for her life.
Trust & Obey
Spread the hope and joy of the Gospel through what you wear! Our selection Christian t-shirts and accessories are not only inspiring, but they're super cute, too. They also serve as wonderful reminders for yourself as well.