Godly Women of the Bible: Deborah

Guest author Jesse Flowers continues his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

In the book of Judges we read of Israel’s greatest woman leader. The inspired account is given in two ways – chapter 4 contains a prose narrative, while chapter 5 contains the story in poetry. It is safe to say that Deborah is the only woman who served God as an official of the state government. She was raised up by God; no other woman ruler of Israel could claim this. Deborah’s skills were exceptional and her character was holy.

 1.  She was a prophetess. This is the very first detail the author provides us about Deborah (Judges 4:4). Only two other women shared this honored position in the Old Testament (Miriam, Ex. 15:20; Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14-20). As a prophetess of God she had been uniquely selected by the Lord to be filled with the Holy Spirit to reveal divine truths to Israel. She was the wife of Lapidoth. We know nothing else about her husband. So often the Bible barely makes mention of some wife or mother, and tells us a great deal about the man. This is one of those rare exceptions where it’s the other way around.

2.  She was well respected. Deborah was well respected by all of Israel. We read in Judges 4:5 that “the children of Israel came up to her for judgment” on important matters. As the various tribes learned that she spoke by inspiration, they would naturally turn to her for instruction and advice, and to have her settle their disputes. The text reads that “she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim” (4:5). It was her place for holding court. Here the people came to her for judgment. She was a godly woman possessing knowledge and wisdom that her people came to rely upon and no doubt benefitted from greatly.

3.  She was a woman of strong faith. The one fact that stands out above everything else in Deborah’s story is her faith in God. Repeatedly the narrative stresses her faith in God (4:4, 6, 7, 9, 14, etc.). She was full of faith at a time when so many in Israel were faithless. Recall that she lived at a time when so many in Israel “did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel” (2:10). Remember that she lived and served at a time when “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD…forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths” (2:11, 13). She lived during a general time of apostasy. 1) Israel worshiped false gods (2:14-15). 2) God used other nations to punish Israel (2:14-15). 3) Israel repented and cried out to God for deliverance (2:18). 4) God provided judges to deliver Israel from oppression (2:16). 5) Israel disregarded the divinely appointed judges and returned to idolatry (2:17, 19). 6) The cycle repeats. Her faith, trust and confidence in God certainly stood in stark contrast to the majority in her day. When “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25), Deborah did what was right in God’s eyes.

4.  She was a leader. The children of Israel were starving for leadership. At this time Israel was being “harshly oppressed” by Jabin king of Canaan for doing evil in the sight of the LORD (4:1-3). Israel cried out to God for mercy and deliverance. Help and deliverance ultimately came from two unlikely sources, Deborah and Jael (4:8-9, 17-22). Deborah demonstrated leadership in summoning Barak, from the tribe of Naphtali, to come lead 10,000 of his men in battle (4:6, 14). She inspired others, such as Barak, to rise up, take courage, and lead (4:6-7, 14-16). She was courageous to lead Barak and his forces into battle against overwhelming odds when Barak refused to go without her (4:8). Consider how Deborah used her tongue to lead: she spoke the commands of God (4:6); she used cheerful, positive words of victory when those around her faced innumerable odds (4:14); her words were so wisely selected that people traveled far distances to hear her speak (4:5). Today women must use their tongues in similar ways if they are to prove effective leaders in the Lord’s church.

Robert L. Whiteside commented: “Deborah was raised up to meet an emergency. When men will not lead, or cannot lead, and some good woman can lead, it falls to her lot to do so. It is evident that there was no man willing, or able, to take the lead at that time. They cried to Jehovah, but no man made a move to do anything about it. When Barak was called by Deborah to lead the army in battle, he did not want to do so, and would not agree to assume full responsibility in the matter. In her song for the victory over Sisera and his army, Deborah said, “The rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel” (5:7, ASV). Thus did Deborah herself acknowledge that she was called to leadership because the rulers of Israel failed. It is a shame and a pity that the men of a nation make it necessary for a mother in Israel to settle their troubles and lead them to victory against their enemies. And so, instead of being just a mother in Israel, Deborah had to be a mother to Israel, and had to bear the burdens that rightfully belonged to men. She had the approval of Jehovah, else she would not have been an inspired prophetess” (Bible Studies, vol. 2, pp. 44-45).

Thanks to Deborah’s leadership, the land had rest for forty years (5:31).

5.  She made a difference. Read these two chapters and you will readily see that Deborah made a tremendous difference in the lives of God’s people.

John L. Kachelman, Jr. wrote: “As you read the account in chapter 5 you will notice a “before” and an “after.” Before Deborah assumed general leadership the highways were so dangerous that no one traveled them; they were deserted (v. 6). But after she led Israel the highways were so safe you could leisurely rest along the roadside without fear of robbers (v. 10, 11). Before Deborah’s leadership the city gate was the scene of battle (v. 8). But afterwards, “the people of the Lord went down to the gates” (v. 11b). The influence of this godly woman made a difference! Modern women need to consider this tremendous influence of Deborah. Let each woman ask herself these questions and answer honestly – Does my life merit the respect and devotion of others? Am I doing things which “strengthen” others? Am I a source of power for others? Does my life change things for the better? Does it make a difference if I am around?” (Studies in Judges, p. 77).

At no other point in Israel’s history has God ever raised up a woman leader like Deborah – here we discover a solitary, unique event! She was a breath of fresh air in a polluted environment of sin and ungodliness. She was a much needed light of faith and holiness during a time of darkness and corruption. Just like Deborah you too can influence everyone in your life for good (Matt. 5:13-16). Just like Deborah you can make a tremendous difference for the cause of truth and righteousness (Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Thess. 5:8). Although we also live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” we too can and should “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15)!


Pic of Family_Florida

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 8 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Sarah


Guest author Jesse Flowers continues his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

It seems to me that a godly woman that is often forgotten because of the enormity of the shadow cast by her husband is Sarah. Abraham is mentioned in the Bible 280 times while Sarah is mentioned just shy of 50 times. When we think of faith we don’t think of Sarah (though she had faith), we think of Abraham. He was not only the father of the Jewish nation, but is the spiritual father of all who walk in his steps of faith (Rom. 4:12).

When we mention the patriarchs of old we typically list off the big three: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But what about the wives of these mighty men: Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel? Whenever we think of Isaac’s great story we generally think of him in connection with his father Abraham, but seldom with his mother Sarah. Why is that? Most assuredly, there would be no son of promise if it wasn’t for the very key role of this godly wife and mother in the plan of God!

Indeed there is much that we can all learn from this remarkable woman of God named Sarah.

 1. She endured various hardships in life. Although she was righteous and married to a very righteous and wealthy man, this did not mean that her life was problem free. In fact, the first time we are introduced to her in Scripture we read: “But Sarai was barren; she had no child” (Gen. 11:30). While we do read of other godly women in the Bible who were barren (Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, etc.), none of them remained barren as long as Sarah. She was 90 years old when Isaac was born.

On two separate occasions her husband placed her in very awkward and dangerous situations, by presenting her to Pharaoh and to Abimelech as his sister instead as his wife (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18). Also there were difficult hardships that arose regarding her handmaid Hagar and her son Ishmael (Gen. 16:1-6; 21:8-12). Like Sarah, godly women today will encounter various hardships in life (Jam. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:12) that they too must endure holding fast to the Lord their God (Josh. 23:8).

2. Her faith was lacking and needed to grow. There were certainly occasions when Sarah’s faith was not as strong and trusting in God as it should have been. For example, when ten years had passed since God’s promise to Abraham of not only a son but a great nation, and she was still barren, she grew impatient with God’s timetable. So she suggested to her husband an alternate plan. “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her” (Gen. 16:2). But we must also point out that instead of reassuring her of God’s promise he “heeded the voice of Sarai.”

Another example is found in Gen. 18:9-15. God sent divine messengers to Abraham to tell him that “Sarah your wife shall have a son” (v. 10). Sarah overheard the conversation and she laughed within herself and said, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” The LORD was not pleased with her response and asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” But would it not also seem a bit far-fetched to you at age 89? Even the text says, “Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing” (v. 11; cf. Rom. 4:19). In fact, we read of a very similar example of Abraham reacting the same way earlier (cf. Gen. 17:15-18).

But let’s be completely fair and honest. Have there not been times in our lives when our faith and trust in God was lacking and needed to grow more? At times like Jesus’ own disciples we need to be lovingly rebuked, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31)

3. She obeyed her husband. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter holds up Sarah as an example to be emulated by all Christian wives. “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror” (1 Peter 3:5-6). Out of all the godly wives that Peter could have chosen, he chose Sarah. She stands as a shining example for all time of a wife that had “chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (v. 2), “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (v. 4), a “holy” woman “who trusted in God” and was “submissive” to her husband (v. 5).

These qualities and characteristics in a woman are ridiculed and looked down upon by many in the world today, but they are “very precious in the sight of God” (v. 4). To obey your husband is to obey your Lord (Eph. 5:22-24). The Lord calls upon Christian wives to be “daughters” of Sarah. Will you arise and answer that noble and high calling? And is it any wonder then that when Abraham lost such a godly wife and mother that he “came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:2)? The void in his life for the next 38 years until his own death must have been tremendous without his best friend and companion in life by his side. No doubt she was greatly loved and would be greatly missed by Abraham.

4. She had a faith that pleased God. The Bible tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Sarah possessed such a faith. Five verses later we read: “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised” (v. 11). “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed…” And where does faith come from? Faith comes from hearing the words of God (Rom. 10:17). The inspired text tells us that she bore a child when she was past the age, “because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Do we have a faith like Sarah? Do we also judge God faithful who has made “exceedingly great and precious promises” to us (2 Peter 1:4)? She wasn’t perfect in her walk with God. Neither are we. Her faith faltered at times. So does ours. But let us be determined that over the course of our lives that we too will possess a faith that pleases God.

Can you not relate on some level to Sarah? Surely each of us can not only relate to her, but also learn some invaluable spiritual lessons. In fact, she is so significant to the story of the Bible that the apostle Paul says that Christians are children of Sarah, children of promise (Gal. 4:21-31). I must admit that I’m really looking forward to meeting Abraham in Heaven, but I am also really looking forward to meeting and getting to know this great woman of God. Aren’t you?


Pic of Family_Florida

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 8 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Jochebed

Guest author Jesse Flowers continues his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

Do you know the story of Jochebed? Perhaps for many children and adults she is virtually an unknown Bible character, and I suppose for good reason since she is only mentioned by name twice in Scripture. But we need to know her for she has an incredible story to tell us.

So who exactly is this woman named Jochebed? I will give you a BIG hint. She had a son named Moses. Of course, we know plenty about Moses, but what about the godly woman that gave birth to one of the most significant Bible characters of all? I think it’s high time that we tell her story.

  1.  She was the daughter of Levi. “And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1). Here is further evidence of this same truth. “The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt…” (Numbers 26:59). That fact alone is pretty amazing to me. It would mean that Joseph was her uncle, Jacob was her grandfather, Isaac was her great-grandfather, and Abraham would have been her great-great grandfather! You see, Amram married his father’s sister, Jochebed. Amram’s father was Kohath, who was one of the three sons of Levi (Exodus 6:16-20). And that pretty much makes Jochebed “Bible royalty.” Of the twelve tribes of Israel, this would be the one tribe that would soon be set apart unto God for special service (Num. 1:47-54; 18:21; Deut. 10:8-9; 21:5; Josh. 13:14, 33). Her descendants and relatives would go on to do untold good for the chosen people of God, including a much later descendant named Elizabeth (Luke 1:5), the mother of John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Jesus Christ! And don’t forget that we too have been set apart unto God for special service (1 Cor. 6:11; Jude 1:1; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10; Rev. 1:5-6).

  2.  She was a woman of great faith. Somewhat overlooked and too often forgotten in the impressive list of great heroes of faith, we find this statement recorded: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child…” (Hebrews 11:23). Now the faith spoken of in this passage did not belong to Moses yet, for he was just born, but rather it speaks to the faith belonging to Amram and Jochebed. Imagine having to hide your newborn baby from the government because they were seeking to kill him (Exodus 1:22-2:2). But this is exactly what Jochebed had to do, and it was her great faith that caused her to take such action. We read earlier in the same chapter, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6). This is the faith that was possessed by Jochebed. She believed and trusted in God, and knew that her God was a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. May each one of us also possess such a faith!

  3.  She was very brave. The author of Hebrews also tells us that “they were not afraid of the king’s command” (11:23). No doubt their great faith instilled great courage in their hearts in a very frightening and dangerous time to raise a family. Pharaoh commanded all his people regarding the Hebrew women: “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22). The reason for the command was because “the children of Israel…multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty” (Ex. 1:7). Afraid they might join their enemies in time of war, the Egyptians made them their slaves, but the more they afflicted them, the more they grew (Ex. 1:12). Thus, Pharaoh gave the command to exterminate all male babies. I think as a parent I would have naturally been afraid of such a command. But the inspired text tells us that Jochebed was not afraid. Instead she trusted in God’s care and protection over her family (Ps. 27:1; 56:3, 11), and did all she could to keep her baby safe. I think in many respects today, Christian parents live in frightening times to raise a family. And so we too need to be very brave as we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15) doing our absolute best to keep them safe and protected, bringing up our children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

  4.  She was a woman of great strength. After baby Moses was discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh, Miriam offered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby (Exodus 2:3-9). Of course, she brought her own mother, Jochebed, to be the baby’s nurse – and she was paid to feed her own child! Do we not see God’s wonderful providence in this story? But how difficult it would have been for her to later give up her little boy to be raised by another woman. Such would require great strength. “And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son” (Ex. 2:10). But Moses never forgot his roots. He never forgot who his people were, and never forgot who was his true family (Ex. 2:11; 3:14; Heb. 11:24-26). “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Heb. 11:24). No, he was proud to be the son of a godly Israelite woman named Jochebed! May we also have such great strength when we face difficult decisions and circumstances as we raise our children.

  5.  She was the mother of three amazing children. “The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam” (Numbers 26:59). All three of her children played a major role in the spiritual leadership and direction of God’s people. “For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4).

a.  Miriam. The daughter of Jochebed, and sister of Aaron and Moses, was quite special in her own rite. She was a godly woman and leader among the nation of Israel. She is described as a “prophetess” who led all the women in praise to God (Ex. 15:20-21).

b.  Aaron. God initially chose Aaron to be the mouthpiece for Moses as he stood before Pharaoh in Egypt (Ex. 4:13-17). God later gave Aaron the great honor of being Israel’s first high priest (Ex. 28-29).

c.  Moses. Of course, God chose him specifically to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage and to the Promised Land (Ex. 3:1-10). He was the great Lawgiver (“Law of Moses”) and prophet of the nation (Josh. 8:31-32; Deut. 18:15).

Consider this. If it wasn’t for the faith, love, bravery, and strength of a godly woman named Jochebed, then we would never read about the life and faith of Moses (Heb. 11:23-29). So in the future whenever you read in your Bible the stories about Miriam, Aaron, and Moses don’t forget about the very significant role of Jochebed. And let us be determined to also raise up great servants for the Lord and His people!

Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 8 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Esther

Enjoy the latest article by guest author Jesse Flowers from his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

The very first book of the Bible that I taught as a young preacher in training was the Book of Esther to a high school class in Danville, Kentucky. Ever since that time the incredible story of Esther has remained a personal favorite of mine.

“Like the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Esther belongs to the post-exile period of Old Testament history. However, Esther is unique in that it focuses only on those Jews who remained in foreign lands during this time period rather than returning to their homeland. The book of Esther is also unique in that it is one of only two Old Testament books to bear the name of a woman, and it is the only Old Testament book which lacks any explicit mention of God” (David Dann, Overview of the Bible – Part 2, p. 29).

Esther’s life and story is truly amazing and inspirational. So what important spiritual lessons can we learn from this godly woman?

  1.  She was an orphan. “And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother…When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter” (2:7). She was born in a foreign land as a result of the 70-year Babylonian captivity of her Jewish ancestors from Judah. Evidently at a young age she lost both of her parents. In a time of great loss, her older cousin Mordecai raised her as if she was his own daughter. No doubt one of the greatest acts of love that can be expressed by Christian parents today is to bring an orphan into their home, to love them and raise them as their own child (James 1:27). Consider the love of our heavenly Father in that through Christ He adopted us into His spiritual family as His own sons and daughters (Rom. 8:14-17). “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) But God had very special plans for this very special orphan.

  2.  She possessed an outward and inward beauty. The previous queen, Vashti, was removed after displeasing king Ahasuerus (1:10-22). So beautiful young virgins were sought throughout his kingdom in order for him to select his next queen. Many young women, including Esther, were taken to the king’s palace in Shushan, the Persian capital, to undergo twelve months of preparations (2:8, 12). We read that “Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her” (2:15). And further that the “king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (2:17). Yes, Esther was “lovely and beautiful” (2:7), but more importantly, the Scriptures reveal to us her inner beauty. The godly character that she possessed. The fact that she was pure in heart and life. As we continue to live in a world that is so focused on outward beauty, may Christian women give their attention to adorning the hidden person of the heart (1 Pet. 3:3-4), for that is the place where the LORD sets His gaze (1 Sam. 16:7).

  3.  She was obedient to Mordecai. “Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him” (2:20; cf. 2:7, 10, 15). Mordecai was always looking out for the best interests of Esther. He was always there to provide, protect, and guide her in life. And from a young girl to a young woman Esther obeyed and honored Mordecai’s instructions. Even as queen she heeded his wise counsel. What a wonderful example she is to children and young people today. We are to obey our parents in all things “for this is right” (Eph. 6:1) and “well pleasing to the Lord” (Col. 3:20). We are to give honor to our parents as children and as adults (Eph. 6:2-3; Mt. 15:3-6; 1 Tim. 5:4). Esther is a shining example of a child trained up in the way she should go, and did not depart from it when she became older (Prov. 22:6).

  4.  She was a woman of great courage. Haman, a wicked and arrogant ruler, had persuaded king Ahasuerus to sign a decree to annihilate all the Jews in the whole kingdom (3:1-15). Mordecai gave Esther the most difficult command of her life to obey – “to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people” (4:8). Why would this be such a difficult task to obey? For one, the king doesn’t know that he himself is married to a Jew. Secondly, if she entered the inner court to the king without being called she would be put to death unless he held out the golden scepter (4:11, 13). And thirdly, she hasn’t been summoned before his presence for an entire month! Ultimately, she responds with some of the most courageous words recorded in Scripture. “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (4:16) Esther’s act of bravery lead to the salvation of the Jewish nation and to multiple victories over their enemies (5:1-9:19). The people of God today need that degree of courage for the cause of righteousness (Acts 18:9-10; 1 Cor. 16:13-14; Eph. 6:10-17; 1 Tim. 6:12; Jude 3). To be willing to forfeit our life for Christ and our brethren if the hour and occasion would require such from us (Rev. 2:10; 1 Jn. 3:16).

  5.  She played a key role in the unfolding of God’s plans (4:13-14). “Though God Himself is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the book of Esther, God’s providential protection of His covenant people is seen throughout the book” (Ibid., 32). Was it simply a matter of chance and luck that Esther happened to be in the perfect place at the perfect time? Or can we not readily see the hand of God in the unfolding of the various events in the book? As Mordecai expressed it to Esther: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14). If it was not for Esther we would not read of the great Bible stories of Ezra and Nehemiah. But far more importantly if it wasn’t for the brave actions of Esther, the promise that Christ would come through the seed of Abraham could not have been fulfilled (Gen. 12:3; Matt. 1:1). The providence of God is truly an incredible and amazing reality in the lives of His people to this very day. Who knows whether or not you are God’s woman for such a time as this – in your local congregation, in your community, in the workplace, or in your home?

The story and life of Esther is truly remarkable. Think about it – a Jewish orphan that became the queen of Persia! From a young orphan girl to a beautiful and radiant queen who delivered her fellow Jews from death and destruction, preserving the very people through whom the future Messiah would come. Her courageous decision to stand up and speak up so long ago positively impacted every single one of us. Now that’s a Bible story that must be told and retold to our children and grandchildren!


Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 8 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Hannah

Enjoy another article by guest author Jesse Flowers from his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

I’m sure you have heard the expression, “behind every great man there is a great woman.” This is certainly true as it pertains to the Bible story of Hannah and her son Samuel. She was a most impressive woman in so many ways. She will inspire you, comfort you, and even challenge you spiritually. Please join me in a study of a godly woman from whom we can learn and benefit a great deal.

  1.  She was barren. Elkanah “had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (1 Sam. 1:2). To make matters worse, Peninnah intentionally “provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb” (1 Sam. 1:6). Even when the family made the yearly trip to the house of the LORD “she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat” (1 Sam. 1:7). And although her husband tried to “cheer her up,” his words did very little to comfort her broken heart. She longed for a child, nothing was more important to her. Hannah was certainly a woman that could readily relate to the anguish and sorrow of not being able to bear children. To any who may find themselves in a similar situation today, remember that God has always cared about the plight of the barren.

  2.  She prayed fervently. “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish” (1 Sam. 1:10). When was the last time you wept greatly while praying to God because of your misery, despondency, and sadness? She poured out her soul before the LORD (v. 15). When was the last time that you poured out your soul to God in prayer? God’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous (1 Peter 3:12), and “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Hannah’s prayers were heard and they accomplished much! It’s also interesting to note that after praying and her brief conversation with Eli that she “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Sam. 1:18). We feel great anxiety we are to pray to God “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). Never forget that when you feel overwhelmed to cast your cares upon God, knowing that He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Never forget when you find yourself in a pit of despair to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). We all can learn some wonderful lessons about prayer from this godly woman named Hannah.

  3.  She kept her promise. While praying in Shiloh she made a vow to God that if He would bless her with a male child, then she would “give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head” (1 Sam. 1:11). Wow, what a promise to make! To ask God for a child, then promise to give him up all the days of his life! The great void and emptiness in her life was that she had no children. And when she finally received a child of her own, how tempting it would have been to go back on the vow she had made. But there is no indication that she ever entertained the idea. She made a promise to God, and she was resolved to honor that promise. This was a woman of great integrity. The psalmist David speaks of the one “who swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Psalm 15:4). That was Hannah. We too must strive to be men and women of integrity, that refuse to go back on a promise that we have made to God and to men (Eph. 4:25; Jam. 5:12).

  4.  She was sacrificial. It’s hard to fathom a greater and more difficult sacrifice for Hannah to make than her willingness to sacrifice her son to God for his entire life (1 Sam. 1:28). For that which she longed for the most, she surrendered him completely to the LORD. What are you willing to sacrifice to God? To sacrifice to is to give up something or someone that we value. Every Christian is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). We are to be willing to sacrifice our family, our self, our life – EVERYTHING for the Christ we love and serve (Luke 14:25-27, 33). We are “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Are we sacrificial when it comes to our service before God? Or do we merely follow the Lord when it is convenient to do so? David said that he would not offer to God that which costs him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). Can you think of a greater or better sacrifice than Hannah’s, to give her child to God? Like Hannah, let us also be sacrificial and give our children to God!

  5.  She was a devoted mother. If there was ever a mother that redeemed the time with her children, then it was Hannah. Through the years older parents and grandparents, based on wisdom and experience, remind me to enjoy my children because they will grow up so fast and soon leave home. Indeed it is very true that our time with our children is both limited and precious, and so we must be very conscientious to redeem that time. But consider how this truth was incredibly magnified in the case of godly Hannah. She would not have her son Samuel for very long. Her plan was to fulfill her vow to God regarding her son, after she had weaned him (1 Sam. 1:21-24). We don’t know how old the “child” Samuel was when Hannah left him in the care of Eli, but we can be confident of her godly influence in his life from birth onward. She would bring him a little robe year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice (2:19). How she must have missed him terribly, and yearned with excitement and joy to see her young son each year. Let us also be devoted parents to our children that the Lord has blessed us with (Ps. 127:3) in bringing them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4).

  6.  She loved the LORD. There are many indications in the text of Hannah’s love for the LORD. Clearly, worshiping God held a place of great importance in her life (1 Sam. 1:3-5, 7, 19, 28; 2:19), and it should be a natural priority in our life (Jn. 4:23-24; Mt. 6:33; Heb. 10:24-25). Further, she described herself as a “maidservant” of the LORD (1 Sam. 1:11). We too ought to humbly view ourselves as the servants of God (Heb. 12:28). Also she was a woman given to earnest and steadfast prayer. She depended on God, she put her trust in God, she rejoiced and praised God, and freely poured out her soul before Him (1 Sam. 1:10-17; 2:1-10). If we truly love the Lord like Hannah did, then it will be evident in how we draw near to God in our prayers to Him (James 4:8). Even the name she gave to her child expresses her love and appreciation for the LORD. Samuel means “heard by God” (1:20).

Hannah may seem to you like a minor Bible character, but what a major role her sacrifice had in the lives of others. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew Samuel had been established as a prophet to the LORD (1 Sam. 3:20). He led Israel to repent of false gods and serve the LORD only (7:3). The hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel (7:13). Consider the tremendous influence that he had upon Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David. And Samuel is listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. If we would only give ourselves and our children completely to the Lord, what great things we too could accomplish in the kingdom!


Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 8 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Anna

Enjoy the next article by guest author Jesse Flowers from his “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

Luke is the only Gospel account that makes mention of this godly woman, and just three mere verses tell us her story in Holy Scripture. But wow…those three verses contain such a great and inspirational story about an extraordinary woman of God. Anna means “grace.” Interestingly, “Anna” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Hannah.” She was from the tribe of Asher. Asher, of course, was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Gen. 30:12-13). Search your Bible, and other than Asher himself, you will not read of a more notable character from that Israelite tribe than Anna. Also this proves that the so-called “Lost Tribes” of Israel were not altogether lost.

Here’s the inspired account of her story. “Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” ( Luke 2:36-38). So what spiritually beneficial lessons can we learn from this woman of God?

  1. She was a prophetess. This truth does not make her completely unique (Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and the daughters of Philip were also prophetesses), but it certainly does make her quite special. “She was inspired; God spoke to the people through her, for that is the meaning of the word prophet – one who speaks for God” (Whiteside, Bible Studies, vol. 4, p. 27). Most assuredly, God would not simply choose just any woman to be a mouthpiece for Him. So this speaks highly of the godly character that she possessed. But Anna was a teacher of God’s will. And although Christian women today are not divinely inspired like Anna, they too can and should serve as a mouthpiece for the Lord in imparting Biblical teaching to others, in keeping with the parameters set by God (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35).

  2. She was an aged widow. Her husband had died after she had been married only seven years, and the text seems to indicate that she had been a widow for 84 years. If that is the case, then at this time she would be more than a hundred years old. It is never an easy thing to lose a spouse, and Anna had lost the leader, provider, and protector of her home at a very young age. All of us know many Christian women today who are widows. My mother has been one for over 23 years now. With such a circumstance often comes great loneliness, sorrow, and despair. And yet in spite of that great hardship, this widow had remained actively faithful to God throughout her long life (1 Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10). What a great example to all saints!

  3. She was always at the temple. The statement by Luke that Anna “did not depart from the temple,” I think is somewhat of a hyperbole. I don’t understand it to mean that she lived at the temple, but that she was there regularly, even daily. To priests and temple worshipers, she must have been a very familiar face, because she was always there. “The fact that she was old and without family responsibilities would have minimized other obligations and thus given her more time for special religious service” (Caldwell, Luke, p. 180). But may it also be said of you and I, “She (he) is always at services; always at Bible class and worship”? That when Sunday, Wednesday, gospel meetings, etc. occur, everyone knows exactly where we can be found – assembled with the saints to worship God, ever putting Him first in our lives (Heb. 10:24-25; Matt. 6:33; Acts 2:42, 46).

  4. She was dedicated in her service to God. Anna was such a deeply spiritual woman who had devoted herself entirely to the worship and service of God. Even though she was of great age, she attended constantly to her spiritual service. Luke tells us that she “served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (v. 37). Fasting is “authorized in the New Testament as a private means of personal dedication to God, or of seeking greater spiritual fellowship with God” (Caldwell, Luke, p. 180). Her service unto God also included constant prayers (Rom. 12:12). “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Pet. 3:12). While fasting is not commanded of Christians in the New Testament, it is certainly presented to us a beneficial spiritual activity. It certainly would be helpful to “fast” from Facebook, TV, video games, and other such things for a period of time to more fully devote ourselves and our families to the Lord and spiritual matters. Of course, we too are instructed to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). But do we? Anna was an amazing woman who “served God…night and day.” May the same be true of us, “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).

  5. She was blessed to see the young Child Jesus. Anna was one of those who looked and longed for the coming of the promised Redeemer. “And coming in that instant” (v. 38) seems to imply that she heard what Simeon spoke concerning the Child Jesus whom he took up in his arms and blessed (Luke 2:25-35). Understanding that she had just laid eyes on the promised Messiah, she immediately expressed her gratitude to God. How privileged her aged eyes were to be able to behold the Son of God in the flesh! The word here translated “gave thanks” means to “celebrate fully in praise with thanksgiving” (Vine, 1145). We too should give praise and express great thanksgiving to God for everything He has given us through His beloved Son (Eph. 1:3; Heb. 13:15). And we too are greatly blessed to see and believe in Jesus with the eyes of faith (Jn. 20:29; 2 Cor. 5:7).

  6. She told others about the Christ. Anna “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v. 38). Many were looking for a deliverer at this time. Simeon was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” (v. 25), “and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (v. 26). When John began to preach “the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not” (Luke 3:15). Anna did not keep the “good news” to herself and neither must we (Rom. 10:14-18). Believe it or not, there are many who are looking for redemption today (Matt. 9:37-38). Like Anna, let us tell others about Jesus (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16). There are lost and dying souls all around us, and they desperately need to learn about their Savior and Redeemer (Titus 2:11-14). God will give the increase if we will only plant and water with His Word (1 Cor. 3:6).

Anna was an extraordinary woman of God, whom readers of the Bible often pass by with little thought. However, she is certainly worthy of our study, admiration, and imitation in many ways.

Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 7 1/2 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Abigail

Enjoy another edifying article from guest author Jesse Flowers from the “Godly Women of the Bible” series:

During the time that David was being relentlessly pursued by King Saul he encountered a remarkable woman named Abigail that would have a profound influence upon his life at that present time as well as in the future. The Bible describes her to us as being beautiful inwardly as well as outwardly. Unfortunately, her home situation was quite ugly. No doubt she faced daily trials and hardships, but in spite of those real challenges her faith and character come shining through. Although some 3000 years removed there are some wonderful lessons that we can learn from this godly woman.

  1. She is an example of a godly woman being married to an ungodly man. “The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings” (1 Sam. 25:3). How unpleasant it would be for any woman to be married to a “harsh” man that was also “evil” in his doings. Perhaps due to the time and culture it was an arranged marriage in which she had no choice. After all, it may have seemed like a good arrangement since Nabal was “very rich” (v. 2). But she did have a choice in how she would conduct herself in the marriage relationship. And from every indication she was a virtuous wife (Prov. 31:10) married to an unvirtuous man. For any Christian woman that has ended up in a difficult and trying marriage, the story of Abigail will most assuredly provide you with encouragement, strength and inspiration as you strive to faithfully fulfill your God-given role (Eph. 5:22-24, 33; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6).

  2. She possessed humility and wisdom. The sacred text describes Abigail as a woman of “good understanding.” How effectively she demonstrated this outstanding quality in her handling of a very explosive situation. David and his 600 men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and sheep in the fields. And now David had the reasonable expectation that Nabal would express his gratitude by supplying David and his men with food and drink. But David and his men were harshly and callously rebuffed by Nabal. After being warned by a servant that harm was soon to come “against our master and against all his household” (v. 17), Abigail sprang into action. In her wisdom, she hastened to meet David and his men with many supplies (v. 18). When she reached David she fell on her face before David (v. 23), and spoke words that were filled with humility, godly sorrow and respect (vv. 24-28). May we also possess that wisdom that is from above that “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits…” (James 3:17).

  3. She had great faith and confidence in the will of the LORD. To no surprise, Nabal had total disregard for the will of God as it pertained to David’s future. “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master” (v. 10). This stands in stark contrast to Abigail’s knowledge, recognition, and glad acceptance of the Lord’s will concerning David. “For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days… And it shall come to pass, when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel…” (vv. 28, 30). Like Abigail, may we have just as much trust and assurance in the will and promises of the Lord (2 Cor. 1:20; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 10:23; 1 Jn. 2:25).

  4. She reminds us of how a soft answer turns away wrath. As the wise man declared: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Nabal’s harsh words stirred up David’s hot anger (1 Sam. 25:10-13, 21-22), but Abigail’s soft answer turned away his wrath (vv. 32-35). She possessed the “gentle tongue” that “breaks a bone” (Prov. 25:15b). “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Prov. 31:26). Stop and consider how many lives were saved because of the words and actions of a courageous and godly woman. “For indeed, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hastened and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” (1 Sam. 25:34) Truly, “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). How many problems and conflicts would be quickly resolved or altogether avoided, if like Abigail, we too would respond to others with a soft answer?

  5. Her godly character attracted a man after God’s own heart. Following the Lord’s judgment upon wicked Nabal and his subsequent death, “David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife” (1 Sam. 25:39). She humbly and happily accepted his marriage proposal (vv. 40-42). After only a brief encounter with Israel’s future king, Abigail made a very positive and lasting impression upon David. I suppose it should come as no surprise that a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) admired and desired to be with a woman after God’s own heart. Later she conceived and gave birth to David’s second son, Daniel (1 Chron. 3:1). Ponder for a moment that she married the man whom the apostle Paul had declared: “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus” (Acts 13:23; cf. Rom. 1:3-4). May we too become men and women after God’s own heart (Matt. 5:48; Eph. 4:22-24; 5:1).

Make no mistake about it. Abigail was a godly woman with remarkable spiritual attributes who played a very integral role in the life of David and the story of the Bible. She was indeed a worthy woman that is worthy of imitation by women of God today!

Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 7 1/2 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Mary Magdalene

Study along with us in the fourth article by guest author Jesse Flowers on “Godly Women of the Bible.”

A Bible character that I have always admired and appreciated is Mary Magdalene. Her devotion, love, and commitment to the Lord are so inspiring to me. I believe one could make the argument that she was just as loyal to Jesus as the twelve apostles, if not more so.

I don’t know about you, but I have always thought of her as being such a key character in the Gospel accounts, and yet the first time that we read of her in Matthew, Mark, and John are at the very end of their books. It is only Luke who makes mention of her prior to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

By the way, “Magdalene” was not her surname or last name. “Magdalene was a term identifying this woman with Magdala, much as the term Nazarene identified Jesus with Nazareth. Magdala was a town south of Capernaum and about three miles north or modern Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee…Jesus visited there after feeding four thousand men, besides women and children (Matt. 15:39). The woman was, therefore, Mary from Magdala.” (The Gospel of Luke, Caldwell, p. 467, Truth Commentaries).

Let’s examine together some specific details from the life of Mary Magdalene that causes her to be such a wonderful example to us of a godly woman.

1. She was healed by Jesus of demon possession. The very first time that we are introduced to Mary Magdalene in Scripture is in Luke chapter 8. “Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities–Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons” (8:1-2). Mary’s case of demon possession was quite unique. She did not merely have one unclean spirit within her, but seven! Try to imagine the turmoil, havoc, and grief this brought to this woman’s daily life. But also try to imagine the eternal gratitude she felt towards the Lord for cleansing her of these evil spirits. No doubt she became a believer in Christ and devoted follower of His after this initial encounter. Should we not too be eternally grateful to our Lord for cleansing us of our sins (2 Pet. 1:9; Acts 22:16)? Because of everything Jesus has done and continues to do for us, we too should be devoted followers of His!

2. She helped to provide for Jesus and the apostles.And the twelve were with Him, and certain women…Mary called Magdalene…and many others who provided for Him from their substance” (Luke 8:1-3). When we picture Jesus’ earthly ministry, do we not typically picture Him and the twelve apostles, almost exclusively, traveling together from place to place? Well, Luke informs us that certain female disciples were also accompanying the Lord as He went about preaching. We also learn that these women helped provide what was needed for Jesus and the twelve from their own possessions. Women, such as Mary, who Jesus had healed of evil spirits and various sicknesses, were happy to serve and sacrifice for Him. How much the Lord must have loved and appreciated these women who financially assisted Him in such an important and needed way. Perhaps our perspective concerning giving upon the first day of week (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:7) would be improved if we remembered that, like Mary, we were helping to provide for the work of our Lord.

3. She stood by the cross of Jesus. When Jesus was arrested all the disciples forsook Him and fled (Matt. 26:56). Judas betrayed Him. Peter denied Him. The others feared for their lives (John 20:19). Out of all the apostles only John is specifically mentioned as being present at the crucifixion. But the women who had faithfully ministered to Him in Galilee were there (Mark 15:40-41). “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25; cf. Matt. 27:55-56). Mary Magdalene, loyal and steadfast to the end, stood by the cross of Jesus. How incredibly sorrowful and emotionally painful that experience must have been for Mary. She was there to give Him her unwavering support in life and in death. It could not be said of Mary that she ever forsook Him and fled. Would we have stood by the cross of Jesus with her?

4. She was there when the Lord was buried.And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55-56). Matthew tells us specifically that “Mary Magdalene was there” (27:61) ever ready to serve the needs of the Lord she loved. What a devoted servant of Jesus! Are we so devoted to the Lord we claim to love (2 Cor. 8:5)?

5. She reported her discovery of the empty tomb. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him’” (John 20:1-2). It was not the apostles who first discovered the empty tomb; it was Mary Magdalene and other women with her (Lk. 24:1, 10). Out of genuine concern “she ran” to tell Peter and John this startling news. And thanks be to God, that tomb Mary discovered to be empty 2000 years ago is still empty!

6. She was the first disciple to see the risen Savior. Mark records: “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons” (16:9). Not Peter, Andrew, James or John. Not his mother, brothers or sisters. But Mary Magdalene had the distinct honor and privilege to be the first to see the risen Christ! Why? I don’t know. Perhaps because when the disciples left the tomb she lingered behind (John 20:10-11). Without question one of the most stirring scenes in all of Scripture involves Mary Magdalene and Jesus (John 20:11-18). Her tears of great sorrow and despair soon turned into tears of great joy and hope. As Jesus called out her name, “Mary!” she realized the Lord Himself stood in front of her and she grabbed a hold of Him tightly. May we too possess such genuine love and affection for our Lord and ever cling to Him tightly!

The heart and soul of the gospel message is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and Mary Magdalene was there to witness it all. If anyone could ever be described as a faithful disciple of the Lord, it would be her. She desired to be a disciple of Jesus and therefore denied herself, took up her cross daily, and followed Him (Luke 9:23), never looking back (9:62). She was 100% committed to her Lord, willing to forsake all for Him (Lk. 14:33). How much better off the Lord’s Church would be today if we had more Mary Magdalene’s!


Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 7 1/2 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Ruth

Study along with us in the third article by guest author Jesse Flowers on “Godly Women of the Bible.”

Nestled within the pages of the Old Testament is a short book that contains both a powerful and inspiring love story. Ruth is unique in that it is only one of two books in the Bible named after a woman. The story takes place “in the days when the judges ruled” (1:1). In a time of political, moral, and religious turmoil, how spiritually refreshing and rejuvenating to read these four chapters.

The story begins with a family from Bethlehem (Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons) moving to Moab because of the hardships of a recent famine in their native land. Sadly the hardships only continue with the loss of Naomi’s husband. Meanwhile, the two sons married Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth), but tragically and unexpectedly they too die. Ten years have now passed, and Naomi learns the situation has greatly improved back home. The three widows begin to travel back together to Judah, but Naomi insists that her daughters-in-law return to their mother’s house. Eventually Orpah reluctantly agrees to do so; however, Ruth is resolute in remaining and returning with her mother-in-law (1:1-14).

So what are the qualities and attributes that make Ruth a godly woman of the Bible?

  1. She was loyal. This quality of Ruth probably stands out to me more than any other. Her loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi was true, steadfast and unwavering. Although this loyalty of hers is plain to see in all four chapters of the book, nowhere is it more deeply and intensely expressed than in Ruth 1:16-17. But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” This is the kind of loyalty and love we ought to have for our marriage and family (Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 5:22-6:4). This is the kind of loyalty and love we ought to demonstrate towards God (Matt. 22:37).

  2. She was sacrificial. Consider everything that Ruth was willing to give up. She gave up her family, her country, her religion, and everything she was familiar with in order to remain with Naomi (1:16-17). What an incredible level of commitment and sacrifice she possessed! And yet this is the same degree of commitment that Christ demands of us His disciples (Luke 14:25-33). We too must be willing to sacrifice family, self, and life for Him. We must be willing to “forsake all” to follow Him (v. 33). We are to present our bodies as a “living sacrifice” to God, which by the way, is our reasonable service unto Him (Rom. 12:1).

  3. She was a diligent worker. Ruth wasted no time once she and Naomi arrived back in Bethlehem. It was the time of the barley harvest (1:22), so she immediately went out to work in the fields in order to provide for Naomi and herself (2:2-3, 7, 17-18). Thus she did, day in and day out, “until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest” (2:23). She didn’t have the attitude of “woe is me.” She didn’t go around looking for a handout. Rather, she labored with her hands what is good to meet the necessities of life (Eph. 4:28). Ruth’s character and work ethic reminds me of Paul’s words, “nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you” (2 Thess. 3:8). May we also be diligent workers in providing for our own households (1 Tim. 5:8), as well as in the kingdom (Heb. 6:10-12).

  4. She had a good reputation. Scratch that. Ruth had a great reputation! And that’s especially saying something when you consider that she was a foreigner from the enemy nation of Moab (2:10). 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” (2:11). All the people in town knew that Ruth was “a virtuous woman” (3:11). And the women spoke to Naomi saying: “for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons…” (4:15). It’s extremely important that God’s people possess a good reputation. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1; cf. Acts 6:3; 10:22). All Christians ought to “have a good testimony among those who are outside” (1 Tim. 3:7; cf. Col. 4:5). And if we possess the kind of godly characteristics that Ruth did, we too will have a good reputation in the eyes of others.

  5. She sought for herself a godly man. Boaz, of course, was also a very key character in this story. It was in his field that Ruth labored. He was a man of God (2:4) that greatly admired the kind of woman that Ruth was (2:11; 3:10-11). He was insistent to watch over her welfare and was generous in providing extra food for Ruth and Naomi (2:8-9, 14-16; 3:17). Ruth came to him late one night expressing her desire for Boaz to “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative” (3:9). He was more than happy to take her as his wife as long as a closer relative did not “perform the duty” (3:10-13). When the closer relative lost interest after learning Ruth was a Moabite woman, she and Boaz became husband and wife (4:1-13). Aside from the decision to obey the gospel, there is no greater decision than the man or woman we decide to marry. Like Ruth and Boaz, let us seek out a godly spouse, as well as guiding our children to those of such character (3:1-6).

In conclusion, consider the amazing family tree of Ruth. She was the great-grandmother of David (4:17-122), and ultimately she is mentioned by name in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5). “Ruth looks forward to salvation in Christ, which would not be limited to one nation, as it relates God’s care for a Gentile convert from Moab and her inclusion in the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption…” (Overview of the Bible, Part 1, David Dann, p. 54). Ruth is one of the most impressive, godly women in all the pages of Scripture!

by Jennie Lind Flowers

I don’t believe I ever saw
More love for one’s mother-in-law,
Than Ruth the Moabitess did show,
When with Naomi she determined to go.
Leaving her family and gods behind,
A new life in Bethlehem she’d find.
In the fields she gleaned barley and wheat
To provide food for Naomi to eat.

The rich owner of the field could see
A virtuous young lady she proved to be.
“God bless you, and repay you,” he said;
And soon thereafter, the two were wed.
At that time, Ruth could not see
In the lineage of Christ, someday she’d be;
All because of her sincere love
For Naomi and the true God above.


Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 7 1/2 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.

Godly Women of the Bible: Priscilla

Study along with us in the second article by guest author Jesse Flowers on “Godly Women of the Bible.”

Aquila and Priscilla, what an absolutely fascinating and inspiring Christian couple! They are mentioned a total of six times in the Holy Scriptures: three times by Luke (Acts 18:2, 18, 26) and three times by the apostle Paul (Rom. 16:3; I Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19). Interestingly enough, Aquila is mentioned first half the time, and Priscilla is mentioned first half of the time. Together, they were an incredible spiritual team serving faithfully in the kingdom of Christ!

Our present series is focused on godly women of the Bible, but please understand as we make specific points about Priscilla that the very same points apply to her husband Aquila.

So what specific things make Priscilla a godly woman of the Bible?

1. She experienced persecution. We read in Acts 18:2, “a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome).” This expulsion “was likely after a disturbance between Jews over the question of whether Jesus was the Messiah” (Acts, Reese, p. 640). There is no question as to which side she and Aquila stood. It should come as no surprise to us then to later read how they “risked their own necks” for Paul’s life (Rom. 16:4). We too must be willing to confess Christ before an unbelieving world regardless of the consequences (Matt. 10:32-33). If we live godly lives, we also will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). This one point alone speaks volumes about the character and faith that Priscilla possessed.

2. She practiced hospitality. After leaving Athens, the apostle Paul came to the city of Corinth where he soon met Aquila and Priscilla. We read in the text that Paul “stayed with them” (Acts 18:3). How long did he stay in their home? Luke tells us that Paul “continued there a year and six months” (v. 11). That’s a very long time to have a guest stay in one’s home, even if it is a fellow Christian. But consider all the wonderful blessings they received by having this apostle of Jesus Christ in their home: the many meals shared together, mutual encouragement through good and bad times, joy in their common salvation, the countless spiritual studies and discussions, the very close friendship that was formed, etc. We too will gain much good whenever we are “given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13; cf. Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:9).

3. She was industrious. Priscilla was a hard worker in and out of the home. Not only did these three share the “one faith” in common, but they also shared the same occupation in common. “So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers” (Acts 18:3). The usual connotation of the word “tentmaker” meant that an individual worked with the cloth from which the huge tents and sails were made (Reese, p. 641). It is said of the worthy woman of Proverbs 31 that “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands” (v. 13). Godly women today will also be diligent workers inside and outside the home as they serve the Lord, their family, and others.

4. She was counted as Paul’s fellow worker. Of course, she and Aquila worked alongside Paul for 18 months in Corinth. But even when Paul departed from Corinth to head to Syria and later to Ephesus, they traveled with him (Acts 18:18-19). In his letter to the saints in Rome, the apostle describes them as being his “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3). What an honor and privilege to be counted as Paul’s equal in the kingdom. Note that it was not just Aquila being described as a fellow worker, but his wife Priscilla as well. Whether male or female, we too ought to be “fellow workers” (Phil. 4:3) in service to the King of kings and Lord of lords (I Tim. 6:15). We too must be workers. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).

5. She assisted in teaching. Although the Scriptures clearly state that a woman is not “to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (I Tim. 2:12), this does not mean that a woman cannot teach God’s Word at all (Titus 2:3-5). There is no Bible authority for women preachers (I Cor. 14:34-35). There is no Bible authority for a woman to teach “over a man” (I Tim. 2:12). But there is authority for women to be involved in teaching, when the above principles are not violated. It is quite undeniable that Priscilla assisted Aquila in teaching Apollos the truth more fully (Acts 18:24-26). This godly woman possessed a knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17) that she undoubtedly used to help many throughout her lifetime. We need more Christian women today like Priscilla to be “teachers of good things” (Titus 2:3).

6. She offered her home as the meeting place of the church. It is difficult to think of a greater service that one could render to the cause of Christ than to provide one’s home as the regular place for the saints to assemble to worship God (John 4:24; Heb. 10:25). But that’s exactly what Priscilla did (1 Cor. 16:9). The apostle Paul wrote: “Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5). How many of us would enjoy a regular interruption to our family’s life, schedule, and routine with people continually flowing in and out of our home? Yet for some reason I just don’t envision this being viewed as an inconvenience or burden in the eyes of Priscilla. I’m sure she and Aquila considered it both a joy and honor to use their home in such a way to glorify God. How wonderful that their home was selflessly used by the church “in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). How wonderful that their home was so often filled with songs of praise, prayers of thanksgiving, cheerful giving, proclaiming the Lord’s death, and spiritual instruction. Consider how many great ways our homes can be used to glorify God.

Priscilla, another amazing woman of God! Is she not worthy of our admiration and imitation? Indeed she is! She being dead still speaks to us in some very needed and powerful ways!


Flowers Family at Alamo

Jesse Flowers has been preaching for the church of Christ at Pruett and Lobit Street in Baytown, Texas for the past 7 1/2 years. He is married to his beautiful wife, April (Melton), and they have four sweet children, Jesse, Josiah, Anna and Clara. If interested, you can read more of his articles or listen to his sermons at www.biblework.com.