Brave Single Women of the Bible (Single Girl Series #3)
I'm sure you saw the title of this post and thought, "Great, another blog post about how Ruth is the epitome of singleness in the Bible." I'm happy to report that that's not what this post is about. I love the book of Ruth. I think it can definitely be helpful to single women, but sometimes, and maybe this is just me, it reads to me of the story of a girl who lost her husband and throws herself at the first available man. Obviously, I'm taking things WAY out of context, and there's a lot more going on in the story than that. But sometimes, as a single woman, reading that book makes me think, "Well, yeah, if there was some totally perfect guy out there, I'd do the same thing," but a lot of times the problem is that we can't find that guy. So today, I'm digging into some different examples, ones that make more sense to me in terms of MY experience in singleness. I hope that you find them encouraging, too.
1. Shiphrah & Puah
During an emotionally fraught time of Israel's history, these midwives make a brave choice. They decide to obey God instead of Pharaoh. This is what I love about the Bible. We could have easily gotten a story that says that the midwives didn't listen to Pharaoh and then moved along. But God gives us their motivation — that they feared God. These women knew who they would ultimately answer to, and they chose to live in response to that. They saved the male children (the male children who were part of the chosen people of God), and then they lied to Pharaoh's face about it. That takes some serious bravery. We also see here that God "dealt well with [them]," and that "He gave them families." They were blessed for their faithfulness to God, but their faithfulness to God occurred during their singleness. God used these women, these seemingly insignificant single women, to change the course of history, to deliver and save His people.
Ever feel like you're too sinful to be useful? Rahab was a prostitute, and even she was used by the Lord to protect His people. She has heard of God, of the exodus and His faithfulness to His people. The text specifically says that when she heard these things, her heart melted. How beautiful is that? The same phrase we use when we talk about falling in love and when little kids do the cutest things. She felt that way about God. Again, she defied the orders of the King of Jericho. Instead of turning over the men, she lets them escape because she knows what God is capable of. And just like those midwives, she lies to the face of the King. She later marries and becomes the mother of Boaz. Remember him? He's the man that marries Ruth. She becomes part of the line of Jesus. Again, a woman, a PROSTITUTE, is used to save God's people, and she is rewarded and remembered. From a prostitute to an ancestor of the Savior. Only God could redeem that.
Esther is obedient to Mordecai, who is reverent to God. Mordecai refuses to worship anyone or anything other than God. Esther relays the information that he gives her, and that information ends up saving the King. This earns Mordecai favor. Though this seems like Esther is passive, it's really an example of a single woman being obedient in the exact place that God has her. In the same way, we should be obedient in whatever season God has placed us in.
The second scripture is where we see Esther make a choice. She fasts for three days, preparing her heart, praying to the Lord about what she is about to do. And on the third day, she walks into the King's court, though without being summoned, this could result in her death. Though I imagine she was scared, she does it anyway. This is what a life of courage looks like — doing the hard thing even when we're scared. Ultimately, God protects Esther, and through her, Mordecai, and the King, He saves His people from the threat of annihilation by Haman.
4. Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of the women present at the crucifixion of Jesus. She had been with Him during His ministry, and she stayed until the moment He died. Additionally, all four gospels count her as the one who discovered the empty tomb. In terms of historicity, scholars often say that if a fact appears in more than one gospel, it is more likely to be true. If this shows up in four gospels, we can pretty much assure ourselves that this woman was the first witness of Jesus' resurrection. She goes and tells others. This is what we're called to do: to tell others about the resurrection of Jesus. Additionally, in John's gospel, when Jesus appears, Mary recognizes Him when He says her name. Oh how sweet it would be if we could tune our ears to the sound of Jesus calling our names. Our time as single women can be a time where we learn to hear the voice of God so that when He shows Himself to us, we recognize Him.
5. The Sinful Woman from Luke 7
I like to think of myself as someone who would have fallen at the feet of Jesus. I like to think that had I seen this woman, I would have applauded her faithfulness rather than condemn her for her sin. But honestly, in my heart, I'm not so sure of that. This woman loves Jesus without abandon. She cries at this feet, though people are watching. She spills precious and expensive ointment at the feet of Jesus. In the eyes of everyone around, she looks crazy. Yet Jesus sees her, really sees her. He sees the love she has in her heart and how she is humbling herself before Him. He doesn't define her by her sin but rather by her love. He forgives her. This is open to us, too. If we bring ourselves to the feet of Jesus, we, too, are forgiven. Our faithfulness to God, the love we show Him in secret or in public, is not a waste. It is always noticed by God. We are always noticed by God. Even now, when we feel like the single season is stretching on into eternity. He sees us. He loves us. And He just wants us to come before Him with love.
Singleness is hard. The other day, my sister texted me and said, "When you're sad about being single, you should read your own blog posts." This reminded me of something I haven't directly said here yet, but that is important that you know. I'm not writing this series to be preachy. I'm writing this series because I need it, because I struggle with this season of singleness. I learn as I write, and I find encouragement in the arms of and the Word of God. I hope that these examples remind you of a few things: