Women of the Word: the Woman Who Was Crippled

One Sabbath, Jesus the Christ was teaching in a synagogue when He spotted a woman in the listening crowd. This woman was a cripple. Luke 13:11 says “she was bent over and could not straighten up at all,” and she had been this way for eighteen long years.

If you know anything about Jesus, you know that He couldn’t let this woman remain in the state she was in any longer. When He saw her, He put His teaching on pause, called her forward, and said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then Jesus put His hands on her, and the woman was immediately healed. Her body straightened up. Her bent disappeared. She could walk with her back upright and her head held high.

Imagine how incredible it must have been for her to have been set free in less than eight minutes after being bound for eighteen years. The woman, however, didn’t just rush to enjoy the newfound freedom she had in her limbs. When she saw that she was no longer a cripple, her first reaction was to praise God. Besides this, what other things can we learn from the woman who was crippled? Continue reading

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Women of the Word: the Women Who Served at the Entrance to the Tent of Meeting

Eli served as the second-to-last high priest of Israel. He was faithful and did what was right, but his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were scoundrels who had no regard for the Lord. Even though they worked in the tabernacle with their father, they did not do so because they wanted to serve God. They only wanted to serve themselves. When people came to offer sacrifices to God, Hophni and Phinehas took the sacrifices for themselves. When women came to serve and worship God at the tabernacle, Hophni and Phinehas took them as objects on which to satisfy their sexual desires.

1 Samuel 2:22 says, “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”

Eli’s sons had absolutely no respect for God or for those who sought to follow Him. Because of this, God caused both of them to die on the same day. In their place, He raised up Samuel – the last priest of Israel who remained faithful to God all of his days. Under Samuel’s leadership, women could go to the tabernacle and not fear being sexually harassed or being forced to perform sexual favors. Continue reading

Women of the Word: the Women Who Ate Their Children

In 2 Kings 6:24-33, we come to another one of the Bible’s tragic stories. It is truly a sad, nauseating retelling of a horrible event that took place, but this tragic story is yet another reason why we know the Bible is true. In His Holy Word, God honestly tackles difficult subjects – rape, murder, adultery, lies, war, famine, and betrayal; and He honestly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about His people’s lives from Adam and Eve to Peter and Paul.

In the Scripture passage we’re looking at today, the city of Samaria was under siege by the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad, and his army. The siege lasted so long that a famine fell upon the city and people began to suffer the terrible effects that often accompany war – starvation, grief, and madness. Madness is the best word I can think of to describe the horrible thing that two mothers did to their children because the famine was so terrible.

One day during the siege, the king of Israel was walking along one of the city’s walls when a woman cried out to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” She then told him her horrible story. To avoid starving, she had made an agreement with another woman to eat their children. They agreed to eat the first woman’s son first and then to eat the second woman’s son the next day. So, they killed the first woman’s son, cooked him, and ate him. But when it was time to do the same with the second woman’s son, that woman hid her son, and now the first woman is full of anger and despair and is demanding the king help her.

What is the king’s response to this horridity? He tears his clothes and wears sackcloth. And then he blames God and the prophet Elisha for causing such a disaster to come upon his city and his people. There is nothing he can do to help the woman who has sunk to such a desperate low as to eat her own child and then has the audacity to ask for help in eating another woman’s child. What is there to learn from the women who ate their children? Continue reading

Women of the Word: the Women Who Mourned for Tammuz

Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet who lived during the fall of Jerusalem and was among those who were exiled to Babylon like Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. During his prophetic ministry, Ezekiel spent much of his time telling those in exile that Jerusalem would fall, the temple would be destroyed, and they should not expect a fast return to their homeland. He urged them instead to focus on repentance and being obedient to God while living in exile. Much of Ezekiel’s prophetic messages are recorded in his book of the Bible which ends on an optimistic note when Ezekiel has a vision of dry bones coming to life and dancing, a prophecy that Jerusalem would rise again, the temple would be restored, and the exiled people would one day return to their homeland.

In Ezekiel chapter 8, Ezekiel is lifted by the Spirit and through a vision is taken to Jerusalem where he sees how the Israelites have turned to idolatry and filled the temple with idols. Ezekiel 8:15 reads, “Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.” After seeing this sight, the Spirit asks Ezekiel, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”

Ezekiel does see more detestable things. He sees men worshiping the sun instead of God. He sees the elders of Israel offering incense to idols. He sees idols and crawling things and unclean animals portrayed all over the temple. Even though the people think that God does not see their ungodly behavior, God promises to deal with them in anger and not have pity or spare them or listen to them. Continue reading

Women of the Word (Recap 14)

When God created woman, He made a very special creation. He made us beautiful and unique. He made us strong and resilient, gutsy and spirited, sassy and sweet. And He loves us. God really, really loves His girls. And the Bible is filled with many women – some good, some bad – all of who God made, who God loved, and who we can learn many lessons from.

So far in our Women of the Word series, we have looked at over 140 different female figures in the Bible. They all have something to teach us. So, (drum roll, please). Here is our fourteenth series recap:

View the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninthtentheleventhtwelfth, and thirteenth series recaps.

Good for Us

Why is Good Friday considered “good”?

Christ was betrayed by one disciple, denied by another, and deserted by the others. He was mocked and beaten, stripped and slapped, interrogated and jeered. He was declared innocent, but put to death anyway. The perfect became a sacrifice for the imperfect. He was forsaken by God, His Father. Body broken. Isolated and alone.

Why is this good? Continue reading