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Damaris – A Brave Believer

Areopagus Hill
By O.Mustafin

Damaris was a woman from Athens who became a believer in Jesus after she heard Paul’s sermon at Mars’ Hill, the highest court in Athens – Acts 17:19 “And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” She was an idol worshiper who heard, and accepted by faith, Paul’s message, while the disbelieving crowds belittled him and called him a “babbler.” (Acts 17:18)

We have to wonder who this womanly spectator was who listened so intently to Paul’s preaching at the Areopagus. Scripture mentions her in the same verse with the Athenian judge, Dionysius. This suggests that she was quite a woman of distinction and prominence. She could have been one of the hetairoi (a group of intellectual women who associated with philosophers and politicians), and as free women, they may have been part of such a gathering as this one at Mars’ Hill.

On the other hand, Luke, the author of Acts, refers to Damaris merely as “a woman,” which, though unlikely in this setting and context, could have implied that she was a “public woman,” perhaps one of low moral character, or even a prostitute. Refined, respectable women of that day would not usually attend a public gathering such as the one Paul addressed – Acts 17:22 – “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.”

Whether Damaris was a prominent woman or a public woman, she listened carefully to the Gospel message of Salvation. Then, with rare courage and God-given wisdom, she chose to oppose the mocking debaters and to express her commitment to the resurrected Christ! (And God is no respecter of persons. He will use whom He will, whomever is willing to share His Gospel.) Like other believing women, Damaris became more than just a spectator of Paul’s ministry. She became a teammate, a woman in the early church who helped to further the Cause of Christ. The power of God’s Holy Spirit moves in each of His children, when we are willing and obedient, to give courage and strength and a burning desire to share the Good News without fear!

Throughout God’s Word there are accounts of how He chose to use women for His glory: Abigail, Esther, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and many others. What an honor!

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2019 in Godly Women

 

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Deborah – Distinguished Judge

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Deborah means bee in Hebrew. She appears to have been a homemaker at the time she was selected for service to her country. She had no noble or blue-blooded ancestors, and is identified simply as “the wife of Lapidoth.” Yet Deborah was the only woman in Scripture who was elevated to a position of high political power simply by the common consent of her peers. Though her homemaking responsibilities may well have taken a back seat during her service to her country, she described herself as “a mother in Israel” before whe became a judge. – Judges 5:7 “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” Whether this was a reference to her own offspring or an expression of her spiritual motherhood toward every son and daughter of Israel is of no importance.

Israel’s spirituality was dried up at the time, and characterized by rejection of God and by a determination among the people for each to do things his/her own way – Judges 17:6; 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes…In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Deborah was first a counselor, as she displayed her leadership under a large palm tree near her home by discussing and suggesting solutions to people with problems. The civil court system at the time was incompetent; the military was too weak to defend national borders; the priesthood of what had been a theocracy was corrupt and ineffective. Normal life was no longer possible, and so Deborah became a judge and finally a deliverer of her people in a time of war.

At the time, the despised King Jabin was harassing the Israelites, so Deborah called in Barak, from the tribe of Naphtali on the northern border, and ordered him to recruit an army of 10,000 men from his own tribe and the neighboring tribe of Zebulun. I mean, that is what most women might do; call the men to stand and fight. But the cowardly Barak wavered, insisting that Deborah accompany him for the task – Judges 4:8 “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.” She not only joined the drive to raise an army, but she also gave them a strategy. God had spoken in the past through His leaders, Moses and Joshua, and now He was speaking through Deborh. Yahweh came and helped Deborah with a violent thunderstorm – Judges 5:4 “LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.” Then there was a mini replay of the crossing of the Red Sea, and the horse-drawn chariots of the enemy floundered.

The destruction of Canaanite power was immortalized in one of the finest specimens of Hebrew poetry by Deborah and Barak. They picture in praise the events which led to victory for the people. Long before Deborah exercised her uncommon leadership and decision-making skills to save her nation in a time of trouble, she was a homemaker–a wife and mother in Israel. Her compassion was awakened by the atrocities her people suffered. She arose to make herself available, and she was victorious as she herself trusted God, then she inspired others within her sphere of influence with the same trust.

Judges 5

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.
5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways.
7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.
10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.
11 They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.
13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.
18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.
20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.
22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.
23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,
30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Godly Women, Uncategorized

 

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Rahab – A Woman of Great Discernment

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I love reading the old stories of how God used so many vessels we would look at as unworthy to accomplish His will. And I love the stories of the women in Jesus’ lineage. Rahab was one of those women! She was clearly an intelligent woman who showed a remarkable knowledge of the recent history of Israel, and of what God was doing for the Israelites when they drew near to her country. In fact, she seemed more aware of God’s intervention for Israel than Israel was. Compare – Joshua 2:9-11 “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” to Joshua 1:2, 11, 13 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel…Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it…Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” She also had wisdom enough to obtain an agreement for protection from the spies, hid them, and out-smarted her own people when they came looking for them.

It took a lot of guts for Rahab to help the spies and arrange the deliverance of her entire family. Her siding with the Israelites was treason, punishable by death, not only for herself, but also for her whole family. Once she made her decision, there was no turning back.

Finally, Rahab was a woman who showed great spiritual insight. She recognized the difference between Israel’s God and the gods she and her people served. God was supreme–He did not share His rule in the heavens and the earth the way their gods did – Joshua 2:11 “And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

We can see Rahab’s first confession of faith in her use of Yahweh’s name. Without any support or input from her world or Israel’s, she claimed the covenant name God gave to Moses when the Israelites first left Egypt – Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Then again, without any encouragement from others, she acted on her commitment by hiding the spies. This kind of faith was not often seen in God’s own people in the Old Testament, let alone from a Gentile harlot! It makes me think that Rahab had come to know the God of the Israelites and had a relationship with Him, even if it began out of fear for herself and her family. This is another great testimony to how valuable EACH and EVERY soul on earth is to our Lord God Jehovah! He would that NONE should perish!

This woman is a wonderful role model for making the right decisions and standing firm, even when it means going against our own peers. No wonder God wanted to honor her faith and courage by placing her in the line of our Messiah. Boaz, one of the most gentle and Godly men in the Old Testament, was her offspring. We are reminded of this in Matthew 1:5 “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;” As well as in the Book of Ruth. God honored Rahab’s faith and courage by placing her in the lineage, not only of Israel’s great King David – Matthew 1:6 “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;” But ALSO of Jesus, the King of Kings – Matthew 1:1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Godly Women

 

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