8 Biblical Stories for the Women of God
Be encouraged with the background and life lessons you can get from these strong women in the Bible.
1. Women of God: Mary of Nazareth
Mary had a very important role in the Bible, which is to be the birthing mother of Jesus and servant of God. She is considered to be the “most blessed of women” as she gave birth to the Messiah, like what angel Gabriel said. But she also faced struggles along the way especially because she was pregnant, but not married. She was engaged to a local carpenter named Joseph. Imagine how distressing it must have been to tell your fiancé you are carrying a baby while proving your innocence of not being in an affair with another man.
Mary is aware of the law in Israel where a woman of God who is already engaged to a man but willingly has sexual relations with another man will be stoned to death. Yet, she continued to live a life filled with faith, courage, obedience and trust. Mary knew that God had prepared a plan for her, all she needed to do was to obey and she was right. As Joseph was considering to send her away, God intervened with a vision in Matthew 1:18-25.
Mary continued to demonstrate pure faith even if she had to give birth in a stable. Her life has not been easy, especially she has to witness her child’s crucifixion while her soul was pierced through. Imagine a mother’s pain to watch a son die but can’t do anything because Jesus needs to do what He was destined to do. Let us also possess a faith that doesn’t look towards the difficulties of the present, but towards the everlasting hope of heaven.
2. Women of God: Martha of Bethany: A Dedicated Servant
Martha and her sister Mary along with their brother Lazarus lived in Bethany when Jesus and His disciples decided to stop at their house. During Jesus’ visit Mary chose to stay and listened to Jesus speak. While Martha, on the other hand, was busy preparing and serving food for Jesus and the disciples. Frustrated and tired to do all the work, Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her with the preparations. Jesus responded to her saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.“
A couple of years later, in the Gospel of John, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus to let him know that their brother was sick. Jesus arrived too late, as Lazarus had already died four days earlier. Martha ran out to meet him, while Mary remained inside filled with sorrow as she hoped that if Jesus arrived early, their brother could still be alive. She and her sister Mary went with Jesus to their brother’s tomb. Martha had faith and watched as miraculously Jesus resurrected her brother Lazarus. These two women are examples of faith and believers who choose the words of eternal life.
3. Women of God: Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ most loyal followers and was the first to see the risen Lord and delivered the message to His disciples. Her name, “Magdalen”, came from Magdala which is the town where she was born.
The important clear truth from the Bible is that Mary of Magdalene was healed by Jesus and became a devoted follower. She traveled with Jesus and the disciples. She was there when Jesus was nailed to the cross and cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” She witnessed Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
4. Women of God: Rachel, a Beloved Wife
Rachel, whose story can be found in Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, is known to be one of the two wives of the patriarch Jacob. She was a woman possessing great beauty who was wronged by her father, who deceptively arranged for her older sister named Leah, to marry Rachel’s love, Jacob. While Jacob was forced to serve Rachel’s father for seven years, she persevered and patiently waited until Jacob was then allowed to make her his second wife after his years of service.
Unfortunately, Rachel had difficulty conceiving and competed with Leah for Jacob’s attention throughout her life. At first childless, Rachel eventually gave birth to Joseph and died giving birth to Benjamin. Her son Joseph grew up to be a great man and has done great missions for the Lord despite the hardships he had faced in the hands of his brothers and in Egypt.
5. Women of God: Elizabeth
Elizabeth was childless throughout her days and was well past child-bearing years. But nothing can beat how the grace of God can work on people’s lives as she amazingly conceived a son despite her old age. Her child grew up to be known as John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He baptized with water in order to reveal the Messiah (John 1:31). Jesus was among the recipients of his rite of baptism, and after Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended onto him like a dove (Matthew 3:16). Elizabeth is a beautiful example that waiting on the Lord often brings unexpected blessings.
6. Women of God: Hannah wife of Elkanah
Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah who lived in the hill of Ephraim. Elkanah’s other wife had sons and daughters who looked down on her as she remained childless over the years. She felt so sad as and continuously wept. She barely ate as well. When she couldn’t bear the sorrow anymore, she went to the temple to present her supplication to the Lord that says:
“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11)
She prayed from her heart, only her lips moved but her voice was not heard. This was observed by priest Eli and accused her of being a drunken woman. She explained that she has not taken any wine or strong drink but instead was deeply distressed. The Lord remembered her prayer and gave her a son which she named Samuel, that means “asked of God”. She didn’t forget her promise and presented Samuel to the Lord. Letting go of a child is one of the hardest decisions a mother can make but Hannah knew that her son is in good hands and trusted God’s plans for them.
7. Women of God: Esther
Esther was an exceptional woman of god who put her own life at risk to save her people. She has inspired a lot of people to serve others under incredibly difficult circumstances. Her bravery and courage is summed up in her declaration, “And if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).
8. Women of God: Ruth
Ruth was a widow who showed remarkable faith after his former husband Mahlon and his brother Chilion died. Leaving her behind with her mother-in-law named Naomi and Orpah, who was Chilion’s wife.
With no one left alive from her immediate family after the death of her husband and two sons, Naomi told her son’s wives that she decided to go back to Bethlehem and that they should return to their families. Orpah didn’t want to leave but decided to go back to her home village. Despite knowing that her life in Bethlehem would be difficult, Ruth refused to leave Naomi and said, “Don’t ask me to leave. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your friends will be my friends and your God will be my God.“
She traveled a difficult journey with her widowed mother-in-law to live in Bethlehem. It was a very long and difficult journey and she knew that Naomi could not have made it alone. Despite her tremendous loss, Ruth firmly believed that God would provide for her. She is a model of bravery and obedience, as long as living a loyal and faith-filled life.
As soon as they arrived, Ruth met a rich landowner named Boaz, and she worked in his fields to provide for Naomi. Her dedication and loyalty impressed Boaz and they married, and eventually had a son, Obed. Obed is the grandfather of David and is named as one of Jesus’ ancestors in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.