1st of June
This time I have planned to introduce to you a few of the women presented in the Bible. The first one is Ruth. She actually has her own book so I do believe that God wants us to learn a few things from her.
Ruth came from Moab. The people from Moab were considered to be heathens. They worshipped other gods. Ruth got married, but her husband died after ten years of marriage. Her brother-in-law also died. Ruth’s mother-in-law was Naomi. She was also a widow. She wanted to go to the land of Judah since she had heard that the Lord had compassion for His people and gave them bread. Both of her daughters-in-law accompanied her, but after some traveling she wanted them to return to Moab. First she asked the Lord to bless them. They both loved Naomi and did not want to leave her and they cried. Finally Orpah decided to return, but Ruth said: “Wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” Naomi understood that Ruth had made a final decision and they went together to Bethlehem. They were well received, but Naomi felt she had lost everything and wanted to change her name to Mara, Mara means bitter.
The former husband of Naomi had a relative called Boaz. He was very rich. Ruth started to glean heads of grain after the reapers. Boaz paid attention to Ruth and told her to keep together with his servants. He had told the young men not to touch her and he was her protector. She was so surprised by this that she asked him why she had found favor in his eyes. Boaz said: “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” He told his servants to take care of her. Ruth shared what she collected with Naomi and she continued to work for Boaz till the harvest was over. Ruth lived with her mother-in-law. Ruth knew that Boaz was related to the husband of Naomi. Naomi loved Ruth and wanted security for her future life. She instructed Ruth how to approach Boaz when he was at the threshing floor winnowing barley. She should wait till he had eaten and when he was asleep she should lay at his feet. He woke up at midnight and asked who was there. I quote chapter 3, verse 9: “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” Boaz answered her by honoring her and telling her that she is a virtuous woman. She stayed with him till early morning and left before anyone saw her. Boaz was the second in line who could buy back the land that Naomi had sold. This land had belonged to Elimelech, the husband of Naomi. When the first in line heard that he not only had to buy the land, but also buy Ruth, he said “No thanks”. At this meeting they had ten witnesses and Boaz said that he wanted to buy everything that had belonged to both the sons of Naomi and take Ruth for his wife. Then all of the elders and the witnesses said: “Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.”
Ruth and Boaz got married and Ruth got a son. He was called Obed and is grandfather to David.
What is so special about Ruth? She is FAITHFUL. She is faithful towards her mother-in-law and her husband. She has RESPECT for her husband and her mother-in-law. She is FRIENDLY. She was OBEDIENT and could take ADVICE. She was WILLING to WORK and she was HUMBLE. She was well liked by the people. She was GENEROUS. God rewarded and blessed her and she and Boaz got a son who was one the great ancestors to Jesus.
A WOMAN OF GOD SHOULD BE FAITHFUL, FULL OF RESPECT, FRIENDLY, OBEDIENT, WILLING TO WORK, HUMBLE AND WELL LIKED AS FAR AS POSSIBLE.
The other one I want to refer to is: ESTHER. She is also having the honor of a book in the Bible. She lived in the days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne (485 – 464) He reigned over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. King Ahauerus had a very beautiful wife, named Vashti, but she rebelled against her husband and that created fear in the King’s wise men. They were afraid that other women should follow the example of Vashti and rebel against their husbands. These wise men recommended the King to get rid of Vashti and he did so and sent a decree to all the provinces. Everybody hoped that the women once again would honor their husbands.
The King’s servants understood that they had to look for beautiful, young virgins for the King. All these young women were gathered at Shushan, the citadel. In this citadel there was a Jew with the name Mordecai. He had a relative, named Esther and she was very beautiful. He had been like a father for her since her parents had died. Hegai was the custodian of the women and he liked Esther very much and gave her special favor. He gave her seven servants and she and the seven servants moved into the best part of the house. Esther did not know that she was a Jew. The King selected the woman to stay with him, one by one and he liked Esther better than the others. He eventually chose her to be queen after Vashti.
Mordecai continued to work for the King. He revealed a plot against the King and he was promoted because of that. There was also another person who was promoted and that was Haman. Mordecai did not want to bow down and “worship” Haman. That made Haman furious – so furious that he wanted to destroy the Jews. Haman asked the King to make a decree and destroy all the Jews. Mordecai wanted to save his people and he asked Esther to help him. He wanted her to go to the King. If you entered the King’s court without being summoned, you could be killed. Esther knew that. She asked all the Jews in Shushan to fast and she and her servants did the same. On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the King’s palace. When the King saw her, she found favor in his eyes and she was invited in. He asked what he could do for her and she asked for a banquet where the King and Haman should be present. In the meantime the King was thinking about Mordecai. He did not think that he had honored him enough for the fact that Mordecai had revealed the plot against him and he asked Haman to promote Mordecai. Haman had planned to hang Mordecai and Haman had already prepared everything for the hanging. Haman and the King were at the banquet held by Queen Esther. Esther revealed to the King that Haman wanted to kill all the Jews and she asked the King to spare their lives. The King got very angry with Haman and when he found Haman laying on the same couch where Esther sat, he commanded Haman to be hanged in the same gallows that was prepared for Mordecai. (The King had gone out of the room and Haman was behind with Esther to plea for his life, but had most likely been drinking wine.) Esther then told the King that Mordecai was her relative and that he had raised her. She also asked the King to write a new decree to all the provinces, saving the lives of all the Jews. We can read in detail how she cried and pleaded with the King. Mordecai was asked to take over the same position that Haman had held and he got the signet ring that had belonged to Haman. The decree was sent out and those who wanted to kill the Jews were killed themselves. The Jews celebrated. You might have heard about the feast of Purim. Mordecai wrote that every 14th and 15th of the month of adar, (February) should be a celebration to remember the days when they got saved from massacre and when sorrow was turned to joy.
What was so special about Esther? She was first and foremost chosen by God to save God’s people, Israel. She was prepared by being raised by Mordecai. God used her beauty to get King’s favor. Esther was willing to die in order to save her people. She was also willing to loose position and honor. She was extremely courageous. She was wise and good in strategy. She wanted to reward Mordecai and he got a position next to the King.
A WOMAN OF GOD IS COURAGEOUS. SHE IS WILLING TO USE HER GIFTS AND TALENTS TO SERVE GOD. A WOMAN OF GOD IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE HER HONOR AND POSITION IN ORDER TO SERVE THE KING OF KINGS. SHE IS WILLING TO DIE FOR HER FAITH. SHE IS WILLING TO HONOR OTHERS.