Welcome to the month of August 2017. Its the 8th month of the year and the number 8 signifies a new begining. The God who has begun a good work in you will surely complete it in Jesus name.
Today I want us to look at 3 distinct women of faith in the bible and how their act of faith brought healing, deliverance, and restoration to them and to their larger community.
“Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life”- Hebrews 11:33-35 (NET).
The word faith is a verb, it is an action word. Simply put it is what we do based on what we know. I know that Jesus is the son of God, and i know if I pray in Jesus name and I will receive from him- no one comes to the father except through him (Christ)- John 14:6. The bible in the book of Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1 describes faith as ‘being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see’. It is knowing that no matter how long you have to wait for something, you are confident it will come to pass. Most times because we know who has made that promise. For most of us and as christians we know that God cannot fail, if he has promised us then we know for certain he will bring it to pass.
There were 3 women of faith in the bible and I would like to share how they demonstrated the act of faith and its relevenace to us as women of faith today.
Three women of faith
Ruth: I admire Ruth dearly. Her story is one I am sure most of us are familiar with. Ruth’s demonstration of faith can be found in this verse ‘And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: -Ruth 1:16. In the face of tragedy and affliction that had befallen Ruth and her mother in law (Naomi), she still thought good of Naomi and her God, she declare ‘your God will be my God’. I wonder if most of us would be able to follow a woman who seemed to have lost everything and her life seemed full of tragedy. I am sure most of us would have called Naomi bad names, I mean this woman lost her husband, and her two sons who left no grand children. However, Ruth saw beyond all that and pursued not just Naomi but her God and her people. She was confident that Naomi’s God is a good God and even though she could not see the future, she was convinced that the God of Naomi was the way, truth and life. Perhaps she must have heard a lot of great and mighty things about Naomi’s God and she believed he would come to their rescue as they returned to Bethlehem. If you read the story to the end, you can see how God blessed her in the land of Bethlehem. She got married to a rich man and became a lineage of Jesus Christ.
Esther: Esther’s demonstration of faith is a peculiar one. Esther was a Jewish queen who was married to a Persian king Ahasuerus. At the time Esther became queen, the Jews were considered powerless and low class in the Persian Empire, so even Esther had to keep her jewish identity a secret.
Esther’s cousin named Mordecia who was noted to have raised and cared for Esther was then involved in a power struggle with a Persian senior officer to the king named Haman who due to history has a great deal of hatred for the Jewish people. Mordecia had stepped on Haman’s toes by refusing to bow to him and he decided he would not only kill Mordecia but that he would kill all the jews in the land. ( Esther Chapter 3)
When Mordecia learnt of his plot which was also signed by the king, he found a way to inform Esther. Initially Esther was reluctant but with strongly worded persistence from Mordecia she moved into action. She called for a 3 days and 3 night fast to the God of Isreal and she declared “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish”.-Esther 4:16.
What Esther did here was move into action, she declared the fast and concluded she would appear before the king unsunmoned which attracted a death penalty but she also said if I perish, I perish, however, my people must be saved. The action she took here was fast to the God who could save them for 3 days and 3 nights and then go before the king. After this the enemy of Israel Haman was disgraced and he himself was killed.
Rahab: Rahab the Harlot saved the two spies who were sent by Moses to spy on the land God had promised to give to the Israelites. Her faith is a peculiar one, she moved by what she had read not one she had witnessed herself. It embodies the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1. In fact when Rahab described God to the two spies you would not know she was not a Jew herself.
Rahab hid the two spies after the occupant of the land realized they were spies who were to take over their country of inheritance. She saved them from been killed, however, in an act of faith because she already knew the Isrealites would take over the land as God had decreed, she made a deal with them to show her and her family kindness for the kindness she had extended to them. Read Joshua Chapter 2
Her story was a remarkable one it is one of mercy, grace and complete restoration. Her family was saved as a result of her faith and foresight and she was transformed from an harlot to one who was named in the linage of our Lord Jesus christ- ‘Salmon the father of Boaz (by Rahab), Boaz the father of Obed (by Ruth), Obed the father of Jesse’ (Matthew 1:5)
These stories and the bible further tells me that faith is a critical aspect for every Christian- But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. -Hebrews 11:6
This bible verse is clear, God is a rewarder of those who deligently seek him. I know God is gracious and full of mercy and a lot of times he moves by compassion but we cannot deny that most people of great significance in the bible from Abraham, Solomon, David, Deborah, Esther, Rahab, Mary were people who first obey God and moved when God said move. They were people who risked it all.
There are three powerful truths I learnt recently and why our faith in God must be stronger than ever because he is the only one who can save and they are that:
1. we have an enemy who is bent on destroying us- E.g Haman,
2. When a seemingly insignificant woman surrenders to God she is transformed from helpless victim to a courageous overcomer. This was the case with Ruth, Esther, and Rahab. The question therefore is what are we willing to give to God? There is always a death before resurrection. Live in obedience.
3. We have a savior who became earth-bound to deliver us! No matter how dastardly the enemies plan is God is always a plan ahead.
I pray that we would stir up our faith in God has we come to know him more and more through daily fellowship.
I pray that we will begin to experience the manifestation of his power as we do his will so that our faith will not be tested more than we can bear.
I pray that we will come to a level of faith that says that no matter what I will serve God.
I pray for grace for us to pray and study the word because the place of prayer can and should never be underestimated or watered down. Christians are to pray without ceasing.
I pray that we are filled with the spirit of God that build up our faith and cast out the spirit of fear, doubt, and frustration- For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7
Shalom sisters and have a blessed month in Jesus powerful name. Our expectations shall not be cut short in Jesus name. Amen
By: Busola Olamuyiwa