In the book of Esther, two extraordinary women leaders, Queen Vashti and her successor, Esther, confronted the patriarchal palace system, eventually acting as power brokers on behalf of themselves and others.
As we walk with Hannah, we see how she encounters and discovers who God says she is. This is a message not just for moms, but for all of us. Every day of our lives, we are asked to fit into a certain shape, but we don’t always fit the mold.
Two years ago, I made friends with a woman in another state via social media. We communicated through Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter. She was thoughtful, caring, and generous. She wrote about her children, her family, and the ways God was working in her life. She has several kids, and always seemed to be laughing about the ups and downs of raising a big family. I admired her, was maybe even a little jealous of her overflowing life.
Where they aren’t erased, biblical women are often misrepresented. The Samaritan woman is remembered as a serial adulteress, when it’s just as likely her five marriages were the result of things beyond her control
I recently heard a sermon delivered by Dr. Peter T. Vogt, a professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. In it, he shared some insights about the story of Naomi and Ruth. With his permission, I have summarized some of them here.
Jesus was sitting near the temple treasury one day, observing all who passed by. He witnessed many wealthy people give large sums of money to the treasury. He also saw a woman—a poor widow—give two small copper coins, worth just one penny. But Jesus declared, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44).
This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. On this side of history, she appears singularly submissive, but to the people around her, it was likely a very different matter.