[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
As South Africa once again celebrate Women’s Month in August, this year’s anniversary is particularly special as it marks 60 years since the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Building where 20 000 women marched against proposed pass laws that threatened to restrict the movement of black people.
I thought about their bravery and the decision that they took to stand united as women to make sure that their voices were heard. They were women who decided to do what they could to tackle a burning issue of the day. As I thought about their resilience and courage I began to look at the bible for role models who also lived lives of courage. They were women who also stood in the face of fear and protected not only their families but their nation.
In this article I focus on four women whose heroic acts we can learn from. They chose to trust in God. They chose to obey God’s instructions. They chose to be there for their husbands and families. Because of their heroic acts their families survived potential destruction. Their families were protected and were spared.
Esther was a Jewish orphan who was chosen by the Persian King Ahasuerus to be his wife. His first wife Queen Vashti had disappointed him when she refused to go to him when he called for her and the king was advised to replace her. After many young maidens came to the attention of the king he chose Esther. Her cousin, Mordecai, told her not divulge that she was a Jew.
Haman who was the king’s right hand man wanted to kill the Jews. Mordecai who found out about his plan told Esther to plead to the king on behalf of the Jews. There was a law that forbade anyone to come before the king without the king’s approval. This law included his wife.
The punishment for anyone who broke this law was death. When Mordecai asked Esther to go before the king she knew that she might die but she put her life on the line to save her people. After three days of fasting she had courage to face the king.
Through a process of events the nation of Israel was saved through the heroic acts of Queen Esther. Would you do it? You are a queen and you live a life of comfort. Would you put your life on the line to save others?
The virgin, Mary, young as she was, chose to obey God and to submit to His will. Because of her, Christ was born. She was an unmarried virgin and she fell pregnant. In those days to fall pregnant out of wedlock was a shame. As a result Joseph, her fiancé, did not want to marry her.
How many people would choose the path of shame? Would we willingly sacrifice our marriages? She could have lost Joseph, suffered society’s insults and have her family insulted. She knew all that, but she still said Behold, I am the handmaid of THE LORD JEHOVAH; let it be done to me according to your word — Luke 1:38. Let us do some stocktaking of our relationship with the Lord as His girls, His handmaidens, to be there for Him even if we do not understand His ways.
When Zipporah, a daughter of Jethro and wife of Moses, found out that God was going to smite Moses for not circumcising their son she circumcised the boy herself, threw the foreskin at the feet of Moses, thereby saving his life. Because of her actions Moses lived to free the Israelites from their life of slavery in Egypt.
Are we that connected to God that we would know when He was not happy about our decisions? Are our spiritual ears tuned in to God to discern the times? We need to be women of prayer. We need to be connected to the Lord.
Rahab was a prostitute but God used her to save not only her family but God’s people. How many times would we put our lives on the line like Rahab did, because of our trust in the God of Israel? In Joshua 2 from verse 8 the Bible tells her story and that of the spies who had come to spy out the land.
I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.
If the king of Jericho had found out that Rahab was hiding the enemy she would probably have been killed. She chose God and His people and in that, saved herself and her family.
Do we choose God as women?
We live in a time where increasingly we are called to make a choice — a choice whether to stand up for our faith or to go with the crowd and choose the world. Recently I watched a movie called God’s Not Dead 2. In it the lead character is a teacher and she innocently answers a question that gets her in trouble with the authorities. She faces losing her job and suffering public scrutiny and shame if she does not apologise for what she said. She chooses to stand for God. She is not alone. Many are rising across the world. They are rising up to stand for God in the midst of what society says is not acceptable.
Would you stand up for God even if you stand alone? Would you, like Esther and Rahab, put your life on the line to save others? Would you like Mary choose to obey God even if it means that you will be ridiculed? Would you like Zipporah choose the ways of God to save your family?
How far would we go for our husbands — for our families? Are we connected well enough to God to know His will, not only for ourselves but for our families and marriages as well? We might stop the evil from knocking on our door. I pray this August that we will spend time with the Lord. We will spend time really hearing His will and His heart for our lives and be obedient to His will.
We are called for such a time as this!!!