Many women today have very little knowledge of the Old Testament. You might not have much. I look at that half of my Bible, and I can easily think, “What’s written in it happened sooo long ago—anywhere from 2-4 thousand years ago. What do those women have in common with me? They didn’t live in my world.” Do you tend to think that way, as though they are just names on a page?
Maybe you like to read biographies. Doesn’t reading someone’s biography make that person come alive for you? Or, you may have done genealogy work on your family tree? It can be great to find something to brag about. But, you can also find out some of your ancestors’ dark secrets and hardships. I don’t know about you, but I feel a connection to that great-great grandmother when I learn a little bit about her life.
This study covers the lives of some Old Testament women and the time periods in which they lived. Some you may have heard about—Sarah, Hannah, Abigail and Bathsheba. Everyone of Jewish birth can consider Sarah to be a great-grandmother. Others are strangers to you—Jael, Mrs. Manoah, the Shunammite woman.
Maybe these Old Testament women lived years ago, but they were still women just like us. They cooked meals, did laundry, and raised children. They had responsibilities inside and outside of their homes. Some even had home businesses. A couple of them could put together a banquet in a short time. They experienced hormone fluctuations, PMS, and menopause. They laughed with their friends, differed with their mates, and cried when a loved one died. They wrote songs and played musical instruments. I bet they all found ways to use their 20,000 words per day!
At one time, they were 20-somethings, then 40-somethings, then 60-somethings and more. They wore beads, earrings, and anklet bracelets. Their hair needed to be combed and fixed, and it turned grey as they aged. No doubt, some of them, if not all, had something on their bodies that sagged!
These women also experienced fear at various times in their lives just like we do. They faced invading enemies, sick family members, and empty pantries. They faced creditors and surprise houseguests. They even had “bad” days when things didn’t go right, sometimes due to their own choices. These were EVERYDAY WOMEN, just like us. Their stories—snippets of their biographies—are preserved for us to get to know them, and to know their God who is also our God.
As we study their lives, we’ll see an EVER FAITHFUL GOD in action. They knew Him by the personal name Yhwh. In our English translations, it is usually written as LORD in capital letters. In the Old Testament, you’ll find the phrase “the LORD your God” or “the LORD our God” at least 500 times. Every time, that phrase is emphasizing, “We have a personal God. His name is Yhwh.” It’s the name by which God wished to be known and worshiped in Israel and by Israel. Yhwh means, “I am.” This name expressed His character as constant, dependable and faithful.
Jesus applied God’s name “I am” to Himself, when He says in John 8:59, “before Abraham came into existence, I am.” Those listening knew He was declaring Himself to be God. So, the EVER FAITHFUL, promise-keeping God of the Old Testament is embodied in the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament and forever. We still have a personal God.
He’s our faithful God whose character never changes. He’s as faithful now in our everyday circumstances of life as He was years ago to those women, and as He was years ago to my great-grandmother. We can feel confidence in His presence and active involvement, even when we can’t see it. And, knowing this, we can trust in Him whenever we are afraid.
Fear is an ever-present emotion with us. Real fears and imagined fears. Is it realistic to think we can live without fear? I don’t think so.
Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I trust in you. In God – I boast in his promise – in God I trust, I am not afraid. What can mere men do to me?”
Notice the psalmist doesn’t say, “If I am afraid.” He says, “When I am afraid.” Fear is a normal human emotion designed by God to alert us to danger so that we will take action against it. Yet, sudden fear can cause us to be terrified. That can lead to panic and hysteria. God knows this. When we are afraid, God wants us to trust Him and not give way to fear. Learning to do so is our walk from fear to faith.
As we join these Old Testament “everyday” women on their walk from fear to faith, we will see consistent truths that we can apply to our lives today in our faith walk.
John 3:16 says, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
I am part of that world that God loves. So are you. So was my great-grandmother. So was every one of those women whose biographies are preserved in the Old Testament Scriptures. God loved her. That love applies to every human being who ever lived or does live today, whether or not she believes in Jesus Christ who is our God. But, those who do believe in Jesus have extra assurance…
Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
We can count on Truth #1 — God loves me.
God is everywhere and knows everything. That’s part of His character.
Matthew 6:31-32 — “So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
God knows what is going on in my life. If He doesn’t, then He isn’t really God. God knew what was going on in Miriam’s life, in Rahab’s life, and in Ruth’s life whether or not those women could tell. He knew their needs and how best to meet those needs. It’s a given.
We can count on Truth #2 — God knows what is going on in my life.
The angel of the Lord declares to Sarah in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything impossible for the LORD?” The answer is, NO! Remember the part of the Christmas story where the angel Gabriel tells Mary in Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Since the angel lives in heaven with God, he should know. Did you notice that both of these often-quoted statements are made to women! Jesus Himself said in Mark 10:27, “All things are possible for God.”
Our God is all-powerful. He is capable of doing anything He chooses to do that is in agreement with His character and His will. He cannot lie, though; and, He cannot go back on His promises.
We can count on Truth #3 — God can do something about it. Whatever it is.
This is the sticky part, isn’t it? Is God good? Do I believe that He is good all the time?
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.”
The day before my dear friend died of breast cancer, she softly spoke to me these words, “God is good.” I finished her sentence with “all the time” because I had heard her say that repeatedly. She replied, “I don’t understand all of this.” And, most of the time, we just don’t understand. But, we’ve got to bank on God’s goodness.
As you study each of these women, you’ll see that during her faith walk, a loving God said “no” to some things. Yet, she chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, God rewarded her faith with an outpouring of His blessing in other ways. God may not choose to rescue you from everything that is threatening you. But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths… God loves me, God knows what is going on in my life, God can do something about it, and…
Truth #4 — I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!
This is your faith walk. Your faith walk is your story, your biography of God’s faithfulness to you and your response back to Him. Each one of these women had a story, and that story has been shared over and over and over to millions of eager listeners. You might be surprised how many times the scriptures refer to them actually telling their story in one form or another. You’re going to get to know it as you get to know them. It’s a connection with real women, everyday women.
And, each one of you has a story. There will be opportunity throughout the study for you to recall parts of your story, write about it, and share it with others. If you are in a group doing this study together, you will have a greater connection with each other in 3 months than exists today. And, you’ll have more reason to praise our ever faithful God as you see and hear how He has been faithful to each of you through the years. And, what about that woman who will one day call us “great-grandmother”? She’ll know more about you, just an EveryDay Woman, and she’ll know more about the Ever Faithful God you love and serve. She’ll know that you chose to trust God on your walk from fear to faith.
It’s going to be a great journey. And, I’m so glad to be walking beside you!