All throughout God’s story in the Bible, we are introduced to incredible women of faith. It’s evident that women play a powerful role in God’s plan for redemption - from the Old Testament to the New Testament and today. That’s why we want to highlight three epic ladies - incredible women in the Bible - and how God equipped and used them for His divine purposes.
DEBORAH: WISDOM AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S PROMISES
First, in Judges 4, we are introduced to Deborah: A judge, prophet and wife. Historically speaking, it is pretty amazing that Israel had a female judge in an ancient, patriarchal society. In this Old Testament passage, I love how God shows us how he establishes women in positions of wisdom and authority to carry out His Kingdom promises.
Deborah was a wise leader who settled disputes amongst the Israelites and spoke God’s promises over Israel. In Judges 4:6-7, we see Deborah give Barak, a military leader, a direct command from God. Rather than rushing out to battle for victory, Barak responded by asking Deborah to go with her. He was scared even though, in the passage, God laid out exactly what he should do to gain victory over their enemies. Deborah responded with such confidence in God that she went out with him.
When God reveals his promises for your life, do you walk in full confidence like Deborah? Or, do you worry and hesitate like Barak? If I am completely honest, I often find myself looking for safety nets like Barak, even when I know God has positioned me for victory. My prayer is that, as women, we embrace the confidence we can have in God, like Deborah, and walk towards the things He has prepared each of us to accomplish for His glory.
HANNAH: FAITH IN THE MIDST OF HEARTBREAK
Next up, we’re introduced to Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. When we meet Hannah, she is heartbroken because she was unable to conceive a child. However, in her deep grief, Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord, believing that God would hear her and could open her womb to conceive a child. She even promises to give her child back to Him (1 Samuel 1:11). God remembered Hannah and gave her a son, whom she named Samuel.
What always surprises me in this Bible passage is what happens next. Hannah never hesitates to give her son back to the Lord. Check it out:
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord.” -1 Samuel 1:27-28a
What’s even more amazing is that Hannah praises the Lord as she says goodbye to her son! That’s right. As she gives Samuel to Eli (the high priest) to be raised in the house of God, she praises the Lord. Because of Hannah’s sacrificial love, Samuel grows up to become a great prophet in the days of the Israelite King David. Incredible, no?
But her story doesn’t end with Samuel. The Lord goes on to bless Hannah with more children! Yes. She prayed for one child and God not only fulfills her desire, but he also honors her faithfulness, exceeds her hopes, and blesses her beyond her dream with five additional children.
Do you have a dream not yet fulfilled? A hope that weighs heavy on your heart? My prayer today is that we remember Hannah’s testimony. That in pain and uncertainty, we still cast our cares on Him because we know He is faithful and good.
ESTHER: COURAGE IN THE UNEXPECTED
Finally, in the book of Esther, we meet a young Jewish woman who, despite her humble background, rose to a prominent position of power as the Queen of Persia. When Esther was brought to the Persian King as a potential bride, she kept her Jewish identity a secret for fear of what may become of her in the foreign land. Despite this, we see evidence of God’s provision all throughout Esther’s life.
While Esther’s royal path was not one she planned, God knew the bigger picture. In time, Esther recognized that the path her life took was meant to be used for the deliverance of her people: God’s people.
See, in the book of Esther, we learn that an advisor to the King named Haman basically wanted to destroy the Jewish people. Esther’s trusted cousin Mordecai informed her of Haman’s evil plan and asked Esther to use her power to inform the King. At that moment, Esther had two options. She could risk her life to save her people, or she could stay quiet out of fear, allowing her people to die. At this crossroads, Mordecai shared this wisdom with Queen Esther:
“If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14
At Mordecai’s words and by God’s guidance, Esther gained the courage to approach the king, who then granted her favor. Ultimately, Esther’s courage led to the deliverance of her people from Haman’s murderous decree.
While you and I may not be Queens of powerful nations, we still find ourselves in unexpected and difficult situations today.
Maybe you thought you’d be further in your schooling or career by now.
Maybe the family you’ve dreamed of having still hasn’t come to fruition.
Maybe you received an unwanted diagnosis from the doctor this year.
In these moments, I hope you remember that, though the challenges you face are great, when God’s hand is upon you, we can walk into uncertain situations like Esther: Confident in God’s control and purpose for your life.
Ultimately, God went with Esther, Hannah, and Deborah through all the challenges, heartbreak, and uncertainty they faced. Likewise, God goes with you - and He has a kingdom purpose for your life. We pray you are encouraged today by the examples of these women of faith as you live your life in faith for God’s glory, today!