The Bible is filled with miraculous stories and examples of courage and bravery. Teachers and preachers talk about the apostles and other men of God, but often forgotten are the women of the Bible. Women were involved in Jesus’ ministry and have played other major roles in Christianity and the Old Testament.
Female leadership is exemplified by the story of Deborah. You can read about the prophetess, wife and judge in the book of Judges. Not a queen or even mentioned as royal, Deborah became a leader in Israel. With her leadership, Israel was delivered from its oppressor, Sisera. Deborah appointed Barak as leader of the Israeli freedom operation. Barak was promised a victory. Barak balked at going into battle without Deborah. Because of his refusal to go as commanded, God used a woman to kill Sisera, taking the great victory from Barak. Jael, the wife of a tent dweller, killed Sisera with a tent nail as he hid in her accommodations. Deborah’s leadership gave Israel 40 years of peace and safety.
Ruth was a compassionate woman. Ruth’s story can be found in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. This story takes the reader from a hopeless situation of death and famine to a new beginning and new life. Ruth wasn’t from the nation of Israel. She and her sister-in-law Orpah were from the land of Moab. They married into the tribe of Judah, marrying sons of Elimelech and Naomi. The father and sons died, and the three women were left with no support during a time of great poverty. Naomi hears that in her homeland there is food so she decides to travel there. The two daughter-in-laws were left to make a choice, go with Naomi or return to Moab. After much crying, Orpah returns to her people and leaves the two women alone. Naomi tries to convince Ruth to go to but to no avail. Ruth remains with Naomi and together they enter Israel. Soon, the sweet and compassionate Ruth catches the eye of a rich land owner, Boaz who turns out to be a relative of Naomi. This lesson ends with a marriage and new grand baby for Naomi to care for. Notably, Ruth was the great-grandmother of the great king, David.
The character of Hannah encourages us to pray and believe that God has heard our prayers. Hannah was married to Elkanah, who had another wife named Peninnah. Peninnah tormented Hannah because of her inability to have children. Peninnah gave Elkanah many sons, but Hannah had none. Hannah longed for a son when the family made its annual trip to Jerusalem to worship God, Hannah prayed in the temple. She wept loudly in the temple of God but prayed silently. The priest Eli thought Hannah was a drunkard and rebuked her for her loudness. When she confessed her prayer to him, he blessed her and sent her on her way. The next day, Hannah became pregnant with one of the greatest prophets of all time, Samuel. Hannah's story teaches us to pray and believe that our prayers will be answered.