I am writing a book on women of the Bible, and as I research their lives, I’m discovering that despite their being chattel with few rights, these women made a difference. Many showed strength of character, courage, and conviction. Their actions, while not always good, changed the world around them, and affected future generations. Some of their life choices are still affecting us today!
I think we can all agree that at least one of Eve’s choices had future consequences. Paradise was Eve’s home; she even talked with God! Yet she still asked the question many women ask today. Can I have it all? So what did she want that wasn’t already available to her in Paradise? She and Adam were forbidden to eat from one tree in the garden, but Eve just had to have that fruit.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6a NKJV).
Thus began the quest to have it all. After eating the fruit, she proceeded to lead Adam into sin and hid from God. This was not the behavior of a woman who just improved her life. Unfortunately, she also changed the future of the world.
Eve’s “wanting more” is the reason we live in a fallen world.
Let’s move forward about 2,500 years. The Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt and the Pharaoh feared the Hebrew people were multiplying too fast and getting too strong. He ordered the death of all newborn baby boys.
It was into this traumatic situation that Moses was born. His mother put him in a well- crafted basket and placed him in the reeds by the Nile because she knew Pharaoh’s daughter frequented this place.
Moses’ sister, Miriam, was given the job to keep a look out for Pharaoh’s daughter and, when she saw the princess, to approach her with a plan. When the Pharaoh’s daughter sees the baby she was smitten. Miriam approached this royal woman and told her that if she adopted the boy Miriam could provide a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby until he was of age to be weaned.
Miriam’s confidence and quick thinking was part of the plan that allowed Moses to rescue the Israelites years later from Egyptian bondage.
Forty years after the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians; God was ready to give them the land promised many years ago. As the land was being divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, an unlikely group of women asserted their rights and shook things up a bit.
Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah are the five daughters of Zelophehad, and they belonged to the tribe of Manasseh. When the land was being distributed to the men of this tribe, Zelophehad’s family was overlooked because he was deceased and had no son to inherit.
Zelophehad’s daughters petitioned Moses and stood before the priests and tribal leaders demanding their share of the land. “Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons? Give us property along with the rest of our relatives” (Numbers 27: 4 NLT). Typical of Moses he sought God’s advice on the matter.
The Lord told Moses: “And give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If a man dies and has no son, then give his inheritance to his daughters” (Numbers 27:8).
These five determined women changed the law, not only for themselves but for future generations of women.
Then there was Esther. Through some unusual circumstances, this Jewish girl found herself Queen of Persia. When the king ordered all Jews to be killed (he didn’t know Esther was a Jew) she bravely intervened. Because of her actions, new laws were enacted that saved the Jews.
So Esther saved the Jewish people from annihilation. Today, the Jewish people celebrate Purim acknowledging her courage and heroism.
Old Testament women were not the only ones that impacted future generations. Jesus’ mother, Mary, gave birth to him under less than ideal circumstances. When Mary was near the time to deliver Jesus, she wasn’t married, and she was making a difficult trip. To make matters worse, she gave birth in a stable and later was forced to escape to Egypt to save the baby’s life.
Being the mother of the Messiah was a tremendous honor, but it was accompanied by earthly trials. Mary accepted scorn from her people and endured suffering throughout her life as the mother of Jesus.
I doubt we need any other explanation of how her life affected future generations.
Now let us look at one of my favorite women of the Bible, Dorcas. There are only seven verses dedicated to this woman, but she still made quite an impact. She used her talents as a seamstress to clothe the poor, especially widows. She was known for her good deeds, kind heart, and charitable acts. So how did she affect future generations?
Her ministry is still alive in the twenty-first century. There are Dorcas’ Societies still active today ministering to the poor.
None of these women were born into powerful families. Like most of us, they probably lived their lives never giving a thought to their place in history. I know Esther was a queen, but before her royal gig, she was a poor Jewish orphan girl.
We don’t have to be a powerful political figure, born into royalty, or an international business mogul to affect future generations. Don’t kid yourself, we may live ordinary lives, we might even say boring, but our decisions might make a difference in the life of someone not born yet. The choice might even affect the lives of people thousands of years from now.
So the next time, you feel insignificant, think of these women of the Bible, and remember our lives and choices matter. They matter to God, those we love, and to future generations.
Please share any thoughts below. Also, before leaving the site check out the devotions. Our Word of the Week is “Wisdom.” The children’s devotion overviews the exciting book of Joshua and the child and toddler’s devotion focuses on always remembering how important God is in our daily lives.
See you next week.