Thank You, Mothers (1) By Babatunde Olugboji
Where would we all be without mothers? May 14 was Mother’s Day in many parts of the world, including the United States. And as we celebrate mothers across the globe, this week we are starting a mini-series on women in the Bible.
First we will examine the role of some notable women in the Old Testament.
There are relatively few women mentioned in the Bible when compared with the number of men. However, the Bible records more about women than would be expected of the inspired collection written at the time when a patriarchal society was the flavor of the season, when women had little influence in the home, in politics, or in religion. This historical reality is accurately reflected in the Bible with accounts mostly of men being influential during biblical times. However, the Bible does record many instances of women playing vital roles in God’s plan for humanity.
The first instance of a woman playing an important role was Eve, the very first woman. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word for “helper” is `ezer, which elsewhere in the Bible refers to God saving His people from dire circumstances. God had pronounced Adam’s circumstances as “not good” and then pronounced that a woman was the solution to save Adam from his aloneness.
Both the mother of Moses, Jochebed, and Miriam, his sister, played an important role in saving his life as an infant when the Egyptian ruler had ordered the death of all Israelite baby boys (Exodus 2). Providentially, Pharaoh’s own daughter played perhaps the most important role as adoptive mother raising Moses in Pharaoh’s palace (Exodus 2). After the exodus, Miriam led the Israelites’ worship in response to God’s rescue (Exodus 15:20–21).
Rahab a prostitute in Jericho, hid and saved two Israelite spies as they prepared to enter the land God promised them (Joshua 2). She eventually became an ancestor to Christ himself (Matthew 1:5). After entering the Promised Land, judges ruled Israel, not kings. Deborah was the famous female judge who led the army to victory which brought peace for forty years (Judges 4—5), while a woman, Jael, assassinated the opposing army’s commander during that battle (Judges 4:18–22).
Ruth, as a result of her unwavering faith in God, followed her mother-in-law to Israel and eventually became the great grandmother of King David and ancestor to Christ (Ruth 1—4; Matthew 1:5). Hannah took her grief about infertility to God and in return was blessed to become the mother of Samuel who anointed Israel’s first king (1 Samuel 1:1—2:11).
Abigail prevented David from avenging himself and becoming guilty of bloodshed (1 Samuel 25:33). For this good judgment, she later became King David’s wife. Another of King David’s wives, Bathsheba, saved her son, future King Solomon, by alerting David to Adonijah’s plot to overtake the throne (1 Kings 1:11–21). After Israel’s fall to the Babylonians, it was again another woman who saved the Israelites. Esther entreated King Xerxes to spare her people (Esther 7:3).
These women did not play minor roles, but rather were influential in advancing God’s plan.
This week, we pray for mothers all over the world, for their labor of love, and the important position they occupy in God’s scheme of things.
Have a great week.
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