Monday, July 20, 2015

Women—As God Would Have Us (part 2)

~ Veronica Brown

 In this follow up article let’s continue our focus on three remaining groups of women from the book of Genesis.  Following the daughters-in-law of Noah and their example of being willing to be counted among the few we turn our minds to Sarah. Sarah is recorded by the Hebrews writer as one who judged God faithful in regard to His promises (Heb. 11:11). She trusted that God would fulfill what He had spoken to her with regard to a homeland and a heritage. Did she obey perfectly what God expected of her? No. She became impatient. She laughed. She faced doubt, discouragement, and difficulties. Yet she trusted. She waited. She complied. So, in like manner, God judged her faithful and He counted her among those great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. What hope, encouragement, and strength we can gain from her very real example of faith in God and His promises.

Next, let’s look at Hagar the bondwoman. On the surface we tend to read about Hagar in light of Sarah’s attempt to facilitate God’s plan and the undesired results that followed. While we learn that any attempt to commandeer God’s will is futile, God reveals the true spiritual meaning of the bondwoman vs. the free woman. In Galatians 4 we learn that these two women and their two sons are symbolic (v. 24). They represent the two covenants (v. 25). The Old is represented by Hagar and Ishmael. The New is represented by Sarah and Isaac. Under the Old there is bondage—the bondwoman’s son was born according to the flesh and was therefore subject to the same bondage as his mother. But under the New there is freedom because the freewoman’s son was born according to promise (v. 23). “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). True freedom from the bondage of sin can only be found in the New Covenant system and in the promised Son. Therefore, Paul exhorts us to “stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” (Gal. 5:1). To return or adhere to Old Testament tenants is to return to bondage.  May we ever be mindful of the price that was paid for our true spiritual freedom.

 Finally, let’s notice the women in Lot’s life—his wife and their two daughters. While a casual read of their accounts in Genesis may raise more questions than answers it remains that what we can glean from their record is clear—sin always reaps adverse consequences. Living in such sinful cities as Sodom and Gomorrah undoubtedly left its fateful impression on Lot’s family. It clouded their minds and their eyes. Lot’s wife apparently couldn’t completely turn her back to such wickedness and she paid the ultimate price. Their daughters, likewise, followed suit with misguided judgment and sacrificed their purity. May we ever remember that sin always reaps gross by-products and is never an island unto itself.

From the dawn of creation to this present hour womankind has been and continues to be a most vital component to either the good or ill of humanity. Of course, God desires us to use our influence for good. Just as He expected from Eve, He expects the same from us. May we aspire to use our efforts and energies for good—to love our husbands, care for our children, and do good to all, especially those of the household of faith.  May God help us to be women, as HE would have us, and in so doing, not grow weary (Gal. 6:9)!

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