Women of Faith
This past month, I had the opportunity to lead the Adult Discovery Time at Hopewood Shores/Camp Luther. My focus for the week: Obscure Women of the Bible. I don’t know if I was the best person to lead the study but there are stories of women that have not often been told and I wanted to be sure people heard their stories. I’d like to share a few of those stories with you.
The Daughters of Zelophehad
“Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them.” -Numbers 27:5-7
I remember reading this story when I was in high school. I’ve been drawn to it ever since. After their father died, these sisters stood up for themselves to hold onto the land of their inheritance. Upon hearing their testimony, God directed Moses to do something unprecedented in Israel’s history. Women could own property and build their own wealth. Through their wisdom and courage, they created opportunities for other women, too.
The Young Israelite Girl
“Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his skin disease.” II Kings 5:2-3
This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible and it begins with a young girl who remains nameless. Yet her faithfulness leads the commander of Israel’s enemy to become a follower of Israel’s God. Despite being given only two verses in the Bible to tell her story, she has a dramatic impact with the words, “if only.” If only we had the faith to share with those around us what healing we ourselves have found in Christ.
“Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by
day or the wild animals by night.” -I Samuel 21:10
Rizpah was a name I was unfamiliar with until one of the pastors at the study shared her story with our group. It’s a name that I will not forget. After King Saul and his armies fell to the Gibionites, they did not let the
families recover their dead. It was Rizpah who protected her fallen sons, night and day from being desecrated until King David saw her compassion and had them buried with his ancestors, an unexpected honor.
These, of course, are only a few of the women whose extraordinary stories of faith, courage and compassion ought to be told. They may not share the same page as their matriarchs like Eve, Sarah, Ruth, Esther, and Mary, but they share the same faith in God.
This same faith has continued through many of the matriarchs in our own family trees. My mother has guided me in my faith as her mother did for her. I invite you to search scripture and find more women whose stories don’t make it into our regular discourse; they are well worth the read.