Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BFS #128 -- Does She or Doesn’t She (Clairol Shampoo)

Memory Verse: Genesis 2: 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bonesand flesh of my flesh;she shall be called Woman,because she was taken out of Man.”

Introduction: Does She or Doesn’t She (Clairol Shampoo) The world sees Christianity as a male dominant religion. It’s seen as a religion dominated by men, for men. But we know that God loves women - God created woman, and has used women to bring about His plan for the world.

Assignment: Tell the world about your favourite woman in the Bible. Who is she? How did the world judge her? How does God see her? How did God use her? How has this woman affected your life? How does she inspire you to walk out your relationship with God?

Hmmmm. My favorite woman in the Bible...that's a tough one. I have many favorites -- Hannah encourages me to keep a gentle spirit and to pray more fervently. Ruth reminds me that God has plans for my future, even when my "Plan A" doesn't work out the way I thought it would. I really like Jael (she's the one who killed Sisera with a tent peg) and Deborah -- tough chicks, for sure.

But my favorite (at least today) would have to be Abigail. You can read her story in 1 Samuel chapter 25, but let me give you a little background. Keep in mind that this is purely hypothetical, because we know nothing about her prior to her marriage to Nabal. The Bible says that she was "a woman of a beautiful countenance and good understanding". We can assume that she was from a good family, since she married into the family of Caleb (high society). Girls in those days married young and generally had no say in whom they married. So let's picture Abigail as a beautiful young lady of about 16 whose father arranged a marriage with a prominent (and rich) older man named Nabal. Whether or not she was happy about the match, she had no choice and found herself the mistress of a large household, and the wife of a fool.

Abigail to me is the picture of a woman who made lemonade out of the lemons of life. Rather than bemoaning her fate, she rolled up her sleeves and set her mind to the task at hand. Although scripture doesn't say this, I don't believe that she was in the habit of belittling her husband. She saw him as he was and made no excuse for him; she called him a "worthless fellow", but then the Bible clearly says that he was "churlish and evil in his doings".

Read Chapter 25 -- it's a great story!

Abigail was faithful to the committment she had made -- the vow she had made before God and the obligation she had to her parents -- and God honored her faithfulness.

So why is Abigail one of my favorites? Well, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. Hers is a bit of a Cinderella story -- rescued from a life of drudgery by a handsome prince (even if the whole "happily ever after" thing didn't really happen). More than that, though, is the hope I see for women whose husbands are stinkers...and there are a few of those where we live. Seeing how God dealt with Nabal reminds me that God sees all things and as His word says, "Vengeance is mine says the Lord. I will repay!"

Does God still allow us to go through hard times and suffer through difficult people? Obviously so! In James we read that, "The testing of our faith works patience."(James 1:3) It's just refreshing to be reminded that we don't need to stress over people who wrong us. God sees, and God knows, and we can have faith that He will take care of everything in due time.

Romans 8:38 And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

Have a blessed week!!!


livingwaterhomeschool said...

That's SO funny! I did Abigail also and we are the only two who have done the assignment so far! I love your perspective on it. Her making lemonade out of lemons is EXACTLY why I find her to be such an inspiration. Nowadays, people are prone to just give up when things get tough. She knew her husband was a fool, she accepted it and still was loyal to him, plus she used her wise thinking to save his life! I love the ending also, she was faithful, the Lord was faithful, it really is Cinderella- like!

sombra said...

ANd here's an objection.. and it goes exactly with my introduction to this assignment.

It is a MIS-interpretation to say that young girls had NO SAY in whom they married. This is what I mean about how the WORLD views scripture and how the World sees women as oppressed.

What loving father would MAKE his daughter marry a man she didn't love? Think about it. Yes, I know there were marriages of alliances, like Ahab and Jezebel - but for the most part, a young man would come courting, he would ask the father permission to court the daughter, and the father then goes to the daughter and discusses it with her. SHE has the last say.. SHE gets to say yes or no. She uses her father as a buffer.. to give her counsel on the situation - what's his father like? what kind of a life would I live if I married him? Is he Torah observant/a Godly man? .. and then she would examine him for herself.. could she love him? That's when she would consent to enter into courtship and betrothal with the young man.. and if at any point she felt she couldn't live up to the expectations of the marriage (it's called a Ketubah - or marriage agreement) then she backs out.. and if she feels he's not living up to his ketubah, she also is free to back out - BEFORE the marriage, before the consummation.. before it's final.

Joseph and Mary were in this Betrothal period when Mary became pregnant with Yeshua. Joseph was going to quietly divorce her as he assumed she has been unfaithful.. and so has broken the Ketubah..

Women did have a choice - women in the Jewish community are not belongings, not valued less than men - this is exactly what I want scripture to teach us - God doesn't value them less.. and in scripture, the men do not value them less. It is our culture that has little value for women, and that's why this misinterpretation of women in scripture is so prevalent.

I have to re-write mine. I did mine last night, and was just writing the last sentence when I asked my husband something.. and we started discussing it, called the boys out of bed to get into it.. and one of the boys came to the computer and closed my post.. losing it all..

Sombra - and now I have to go back to read the rest of your post

Doug and Rebecca said...

Good point, Sombra.

It's a mis-representation to assume that the marriage was arranged and therefore the girl had no choice. Although I'm sure that it did (and sometimes still does) happen, we don't know for sure.

My assumption, and one of the reasons that I like Abigail so much, is that she knew exactly what kind of man she was marrying, but because it was an advantageous match, for her family's sake, she married him anyway. I know that I'm reading a lot into the story that's not there, but I like to think that she went into the relationship with her eyes wide open. Part of that "good understanding" thing the scripture says about her.

I look forward to meeting Abigail in heaven and hearing the whole story. And I want to talk to Jael, too!!! ;^)

Niknoo said...

Great post and a great ending verse too! Blessings!~ Nikki

Nancy said...

I like your post and 'happy ending' ending to it...I agree with Sombra too though. Thank you for sharing with us. There's a special announcement going up on BFS this week...spread the word and come see!


Jennifer Sikora said...

Wow! Abigail! I read someone else did Abigail as well. She was definitely a strong woman! I told the other lady, you can take her Cinderella step even further. Later in the Bible when Nabal died, David took her as his wife. Can you believe that??

Great post by the way. I loved it!!

Libby said...

ooo! Good thoughts!
I've just been thinking some on women of the Bible and what their culture must have been like. Anyone ever read any of Angela Elwell Hunt's books? I am in the middle of one called "The Shadow Women"...a possible account about the women in Moses' life. Once again lately it's hitting me that what "I" might think of as the way it was for any one of these women, well, I am thinking from my culture and experience. What if the norm was arranged marriages? What if the norm was ____? That makes me think.
It was great to read what you and Missy wrote about Abigail. Thanks for sharing. Now I need to do my assignment. :)