Nameless FaithRead Now
There are so many amazing women named in the Bible. Eve, Sara, Rachel, Esther, Ruth, Mary. However, there is one important figure that we have to do some research on to find out what her name was. Like Eve, she was a mother of the human race. This woman is simply known as Noah’s wife. If you do just a little research outside the Bible, you will see that her name is most likely Naamah (pronounced Na-ah-mah). It just makes me feel better having a name for this woman. We don’t get a lot of insight into her life outside of the general story of the ark, but can you imagine?!
Noah’s wife is mentioned each time the Bible lists the people that were involved in the story. She is never mentioned by name, however. Neither are Noah’s son’s wives. But they, too, are mentioned each time. Take a moment and think back to the story of Noah and the ark. It is one of my daughter’s favorite stories. When she was afraid in a thunderstorm, she would crawl on my lap and I would tell her this story. And usually by the time I was done, she was comforted and the storm was ending.
Head on over to Genesis 6:9 and read the account of Noah and his family. You will miss so much if you don’t read it.
Right away in the story, we hear about how Noah was righteous among the men of the earth. We then read about how God was essentially disgusted with his creation, there is just this one family that is set apart. The human race was violent and wicked and corrupt. He decided that he was going to choose Noah and his family among all of the inhabitants of the entire world to save and start over with. What an honor! What a huge responsibility! And what do we hear about Noah and his family?
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22
The assumption I am making when I read this is that his family was in on this too. Knowing that God was about to destroy everything he created except this ONE family makes me think that they were led well by Noah, and they too were on the list of people worth saving. So what does all of this tell us about Noah’s wife? She was incredibly faithful.
She was faithful to Noah.
She stood by him and probably helped him in organizing, gathering, and building. It is widely thought that up to this point there had been no major rain - much less any flooding. For Noah to have been told from God that he was going to undertake building a large boat and that it was going to be made to float by a flood he would have had to have a family that stood beside him through all the work. Have you ever packed for a long road trip? My family loves doing stuff like this. One summer we went for six weeks camping around the USA. We loaded down our car, filled up the tank, and took off. Now, what most people don’t know is the amount of planning that had to go into that little trip. We planned financially and saved money so we could enjoy ourselves. We planned for lodging and campsites along the way. We planned for the stops we wanted to make along the way and all the sites to see. We planned for the different clothes we needed, the snacks we wanted in the car, and so many other minor things. This was three people in modern times that can stop by a Walmart and pick up whatever they forgot and it took months of planning. Imagine it being eight people and a ton of animals working toward what was going to be the end of the world as they knew it! I envision Noah’s wife calculating what everyone is going to eat and what supplies they needed for all the animals while the men were doing most of the physical labor. Oh, and Noah was 600 years old which means there is a good chance his wife was close to the same age!
She was faithful to God.
I don’t believe that Noah’s wife would have been chosen to be on the ark if she had not been a faithful believer. God was starting over and wanted the most faithful and pure start he could have. This would have been backward if Naamah had worshiped other gods or not truly believed what Noah was telling her came from the one true God. God knew that she was going to be one of four women responsible for starting the human race over again. She needed to be on His side with things.
The amount of faith it would have taken to listen to what Noah was saying, help him in preparation, and actually step onto the ark knowing that things were never going to be the same. Wow. My mind can’t comprehend it. I actually have a physical response to this thought. When I think about being in her shoes it makes my heart race! What an amazing example of faith.
This story focuses on a lot of physical details, but I wanted to share that insight with you. Just thinking about the faith of Noah’s wife - both to him and to God - makes me want to step up my game.
I know that my husband is happiest when we are on the same page. When we work as a team we can overcome so much. I would say we are healthier physically and emotionally when this happens. How can you come alongside your spouse or loved ones and show them that you believe they are living the life that God laid out for them?
I struggle with really giving myself time to align with God as well. Studying the Bible, taking time to really be in His presence, and truly talking to Him and worshiping Him are sometimes pushed to the side for normal everyday stuff. Since when is God less important? One of the things that I have been challenged to do is pray bold prayers. Our church is actually going through a time of challenging us to do that right now and journal our bold prayers and study bold prayers. How can you be more faithful to what God is telling you to do? Pray more? Serve more? Give more? Worship more?
The blessings that Noah’s wife - Naamah or otherwise named - was able to pass on to her family and future generations are directly related to her amazingly faithful life. I am so glad that when God looked down upon the world he saw at least one faithful family. He did amazing things with them and I know he can do the same with us if we are willing!
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE REESE
Hagar: The God Who SeesRead Now
Sometimes I wonder if I could count the times that I have given control of situations, circumstances, family, and friends over to God only to, later, take it right back. Then I think twice about it and say, "Better I don’t know." I don’t know about you but it seems like too often that’s exactly what I do. I declare and decree, I submit and agree to, only in a year, month or sometimes even the very same hour, take back my false sense of control and micromanage God. Or, rather, I try to.
In Genesis 15 we read about a conversation that Abram and God have. God tells Abram that even though he and his wife have had no children in all their years, He, God, told Abram that he will have as many descendants as the stars. “And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6
In that moment Abram gave control over to God. He sacrificed and he trusted.
But our story is not about Abram.
In chapter 16 it starts out with Abram and his wife Sarai trying to take back that very same control they just trusted over to the LORD in chapter 15 and they hatch a plan. Sarai tells Abram the Lord has kept her from having children, to go sleep with her Egyptian slave (Hagar); perhaps she can build a family through Hagar.
So he did. And the plan seemed to be working to because Hagar did, in fact, get pregnant. The Bible tells us that, once Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai and, because of this, Sarai mistreats Hagar. Hagar is mistreated so much that she decides to flee from her mistress Sarai.
I can only imagine the pain and chaos that had to be surrounding Hagar, as she was pregnant and alone. Hagar was a slave. She did as she was told. She had little to no control in the matter. I imagine her being hurt, maybe a little angry. I imagine her having sorrow and worry surrounding her. I imagine her not knowing where to go or what to do from there.
I have never been in Hagar’s shoes. I have never been a pregnant slave running from my master. And, still, there have been times in my life that I have been left feeling broken and in pain. There have been times of extreme chaos, sorrow, confusion and heartbreak, not knowing what way is up or if there would ever be way out of it. And it was in those times, like Hagar, God met me.
In verse 7 the Bible says The Angel of the Lord found Hagar and asked her where she’d come from and where she was going. Hagar tells Him that she is running away from her mistress, and The Angel speaks with her. He tells her to go back, submit to her mistress and gives her a promise. A promise that her descendants will be too numerous to count. After The Angel speaks to her…
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalms 139:16.
Sis, God is not surprised by our circumstances, whether they were of our own making or not. He knew exactly what we would go through long before we were ever even born. God sees our every struggle and He sees our every triumph. He is the God who sees you. Right where you are. And He is the God who chose you. Let Him love you right where you are today. Let Him be the “God who sees you” today. Meet with Him.
Receive His Love,
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash
Ruth's ChoiceRead Now
“Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
These words may sound vaguely familiar to you. This quote from the book of Ruth has been repeated during wedding ceremonies around the world. Perhaps the words are taken out of context when spoken between bride and groom. Why? Because this was the pledge Ruth made to her mother-in-law. Why? Well, let’s revisit the story to see why.
To read her story go turn to the book of Ruth in the bible. It’s just four short chapters tucked between Judges and 1 Samuel.
Ruth’s story was set right in the midst of the time when the judges ruled in Israel. And let me tell you, the time of the judges was no picnic. It was a time when Israel had no king and was in dire need of prophets. They wandered so far from God. At times, coming back to God in repentance, only to turn around and fall back into the same pit of destructive, sinful behavior. The people of Israel, God’s chosen people, were suffering defeat because of their spiritual weakness. They even went so far as to worship images of Baal, and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia. They no longer served the LORD at all (Judges 10: 6-7). The last sentence in the book of Judges tells us that, “In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25 NLT).
During this time of anarchy in the nation of Israel we are told the story of Ruth. On many levels it is a love story. A story of redemption.
And so Ruth begins.
“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.” (1:1).
This man was Elimelech and his wife was Naomi, their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. Because their names are pointed out to us in scripture, we should take a look at their meaning as it foreshadows their part in the story.
Naomi means “pleasant” or “my delight” and it seems, at least in the beginning, that this is a good description of her character and perhaps her countenance.
Elimelech means “ my God is King”. Which tells us that Elimelech was a believer in the One True God. And even though his name refers to the everlasting God, he dies suddenly (1:3).
After their father’s death, the two sons married Moabite women. Orpah and Ruth.
Mahlon means “sickly” and Kilion means “frailty”. So it’s no surprise that after they had lived in Moab about 10 years they both died.
And so we find three heartbroken women left clinging to one another in their grief. When Naomi hears that the famine is over in Judah she decides to go back home. And so the three women set out on the road leading to Judah.
Along the way Naomi urges her daughter-in-laws to return to their own families. Orpah, whose name by some accounts means “double-minded” decides to return to her own family in Moab. But Ruth pledges her love and loyalty to Naomi. She is willing to leave all that she has ever known to live with her grieving mother-in-law and worship the true God of Israel.
Ruth means “lovely” or “a site worth seeing”, and it also is the word for “friendship”. How fitting as she was truly a lovely young woman capable of rare friendship. She proves the sweetness of her character and loyalty by sticking by her mother-in-law, even as Naomi begins to slip further into the bitterness of her own grief and renames herself Mara, which means “bitter”.
A side note here: Naomi, whose name means “delight” tried to change her own name to more fully express the bitterness of her life as she saw it at the moment. When was the last time you tried to rename yourself according to your own unfortunate circumstances, or even your own poor choices? Let’s not play the name game. The enemy of your heart is the accuser…and he’s a liar. Don’t fall for his name twisting shame game. Walk into the fullness of who God says you are!
As we continue in the story we find Ruth realizing that in order to live they needed food. Fortunately it was harvest time. Seeing that her aged mother-in-law was unable to work, she went out and joined the poor gleaners, gathering leftover grain in the fields. The field she finds herself working in belongs to a rich and godly landowner, Boaz. By Jewish law she could have gleaned in any harvest field. But by God’s providential hand she is in the field of Boaz, a relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.
Boaz grows to love and admire Ruth. According to the Jewish law, when a woman became a widow, the nearest male relative could be called on to act as “ kinsman redeemer”. He was responsible to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication. And so Boaz, as kinsman redeemer, bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon and married Ruth in order to carry on the family name.
By the way, Boaz means “in strength”. In God’s strength Boaz was able to bring redemption from tragedy in the lives of both Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth and Boaz give birth to a son, Obed which means “a servant who worships”. Perhaps his name paints a picture of his mother’s heart. Obed became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David. Ruth’s name is included in the geneology of Christ Jesus (Matthew 1:5).
Naomi is no longer bitter when the town’s women say to her, “May this child restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you loves you so much and who has been better to you than seven sons,” (4:15)! Better than seven sons! In scripture the number 7 symbolizes completion. Naomi had returned to her hometown feeling incomplete. Her life, interrupted by the death’s of her husband and sons. Now her life was complete. The bitterness, gone. In its place is the blessing and delight of having a grandchild and the promise of security in her old age.
I can’t begin to include all of the lessons to be found in this treasure we have been given in the book of Ruth. It is a clear picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
In the time of the judges, when people were doing whatever they thought was right in their own eyes, we encounter Ruth. A young Moabite widow willing to turn from her pagan heritage. A lovely and loyal friend, who chose to follow the true God of Israel. She chose relationship over the religion of her own family and town of Moab. She chose relationship with the LORD in a time of religious apostasy in the very nation of Israel. In Ruth’s story we see God’s sovereign grace and love. We see God’s providential provision. In her redemption we see the picture of Christ and His Bride the church. The story of the gospel with an unlikely sinner in need of a Savior.
We, too, seem to be living in a time when people are doing whatever seems right in their own eyes. We have a choice to make...
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Tabitha: The Upper ROomRead Now
Tabitha. Her story is an amazing one and I want to share something the Lord revealed to me while reading her story in Acts 9. Get your bible, we’ll read it together in a minute.
This story…there is so much in this short story and I want to share it all, but I feel the Lord saying, “Share this one thing.” I want to focus on one part of her life…the part of her life that led up to a radical miracle. The part of her life when she wasn’t alive at all. The part of her story when all hope was lost and it was all over. There was no coming back from what happened…
“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” Acts 9:36-39 (ESV)
She was dead. Tabitha’s widow friends and other people she served and loved washed her completely and readied her for burial, but didn’t bury her. I don’t know if they couldn’t bring themselves to do it, if they were waiting for some reason, or what, but they didn’t bury her yet. They put her in the upper room. I learned this recently about the upper room in homes during this era. The upper room was the place for intimate conversation. When you needed to talk about something really important or private or personal, you did that upstairs on the top floor. It was also the place for women of the house. It’s interesting to me that the place for intimate conversation is also the same place sort-of reserved for the women of the house to spend time. It was the place for private dinners, the place for communion. Tabitha laid dead, her body cleansed and prepared, in the place of communion.
The Upper Room.
“But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” Acts 9:40-41 (ESV)
Her friends and other disciples sent for Peter to come. The all wept and mourned and showed the handiwork of her love to him as he entered the house, but Peter sent them out. He postured himself into submission and prayed to God. What did that prayer sound like, I wonder? Did he ask God to raise her? Did he say, “God what do you want me to do?” Did he just praise God? That’s a question I’ll ask on the other side of Heaven someday. Whatever the prayer ended up being, Peter finished, then turned around and commanded her to come alive.
In this place of communion, the Spirit of God breathed life into a woman. In this place of communion, a woman submitted to God, cleansed before the Lord, was given new life. In this place of communion, hope was restored after all hope had been lost. In this place of communion, God made a way where there was no way. In this place of communion, a radical miracle was birthed.
Sister, I prayed about this, thought long and hard about this, then wrote and wrote only to erase most of what I had gleaned from this story in scripture. I feel the Lord is telling me to focus on this one part of her story…someone needs to hear this.
Tabitha was cleansed and prepared, laid to rest in the place of communion and then, through prayer, what happened? God did a radical miracle.
I feel the Lord is telling me, when you’ve done all you can do, come up to the quiet place of communion with Him. Cleanse your heart and prepare yourself for God to do what only He can do. Go to the Lord in prayer and then watch Him do a miracle.
Someone needs to do that today.
If you feel a tug in your heart, I’m writing this for you and the Lord is speaking.
It’s time to obey. It’s time to stop. You’ve done all you can do right now.
Go to the Upper Room. Cleanse your heart before the Lord. Prepare yourself for a miracle. Go to communion with the Lord in prayer. And then just watch and wait, sweet friend.
Sister, if we are women, submitted to God, cleansed before the Lord, communing with Him in the Upper Room of our spirits, God will birth radical miracles.
One of you needs a radical miracle today. It’s time to go to the Upper Room.
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
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