THINKING GIRLS OF THE BIBLE








When I was trying to come up with a title for the online Bible study that I wanted to do, I decided on Thinking Girls because I wanted to do studies that are a little deeper than just a devotional. I love studies that make me think. We are so busy and preoccupied in our lives now. I’ve noticed that everything seems to have been reduced to the lowest common denominator. The emphasis for excellence has been diminished, because a movement back when my kids were in school wanted to take personal achievement away and give every kid a trophy or a metal. The idea was to not make a child feel bad about himself because somebody got an award and he didn’t. We are seeing the effects of that now. Everything and everyone is described in superlatives, but everything is really just average. That coupled with the fast paced life and social media, it’s hard to find something that really is thought provoking.

One of the most important characteristics that we can have is to be mindful. I have just come to learn of the New Age practice of mindfulness.  Let me state unequivocally that I am NOT talking about the New Age practice of mindfulness.  I am talking about being present in the moment, being aware of what is going on around us, and actively thinking about our present situation, having presence of mind.

I will be using the Blue Letter Bible and Strong’s for definitions and the New King James Version Bible.

I looked up the word mindful in the Blue Letter Bible search. The first passage that uses the word mindful as a translation is Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.” (Emphasis mine.)

The word translated mindful here is zakar and means “to remember, recall, call to mind.”

Immediately upon seeing this translation I see that an important aspect of being mindful is to remember, to be deliberate not to forget. When we are in situations, we need to remember what happened before. We need to not forget what we should have done or not done, accordingly. It means making ourselves think about what we are doing, how we are living, what might happen if this or that occurs. I look back over the mistakes I’ve made and think if I had just given that more thought, maybe I would have done things differently. I like to learn from my mistakes the first time. I really don’t like to have to learn something over and over. I don’t think well on my feet. I’m the type that has to process things before I know what I would like to say or do. I need time to figure out what just happened and why. It’s only after I have processed that I know how I want to respond. Unfortunately we don’t always have the luxury of time to process. So I try to make mental notes for things that have happened or could happen so that I will know how better to respond the next time the opportunity presents itself.


Notice in the passage of Nehemiah that it says they, the Israelites, were not mindful of His wonders. They were disobedient and rebellious. They knew God’s ways and they had seen first hand mighty wonders done by Him, yet they weren’t mindful of them. Isaiah 17: 10-11 is another set of verses with this same word: “Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings; in the day you will make your plant to grow, and in the morning you will make your seed to flourish; but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow.” Seems obvious that our mindfulness first and foremost should be on our Elohim, our Rock. It’s possible or these verses wouldn’t be here.

Being mindful helps in fighting against the enemy. I find myself in spiritual battles constantly. I think about how the enemy works and try to be mindful not to let him catch me off guard. He loves to ambush us, but it is possible to learn his tactics and to be watchful. I’m not all that familiar with classic warfare, but I’m sure that part of the strategy to win wars is to anticipate certain situations and then to know what you are going to do when those situations occur. This is definitely true for spiritual warfare. I am learning how to recognize when it’s really the enemy and not my loved one who is attacking. I am learning how to not agree with the enemy about anything. But this takes being mindful. It takes watching and praying. It takes knowing the Word of God. Remember what the Lord told the disciples to do in the Garden of Gethsemane, to watch and pray. As we’ve seen in previous studies and will see in this one, it also takes listening. Listening to what is going on around you, but also listening to what the Lord is saying to you. How do you know for sure what He is saying? By being in the Word. Sometimes we can think we are hearing from the Lord because of a thought that comes into our head or something we feel in our heart. This could be something the enemy has suggested. But when we are in the Word and the Lord speaks to us, we can know it is Him.

A word of caution in our quest for being mindful. We need to always keep in the back of our minds that we are not out to control. We as women can be control freaks, especially with our husbands. The only ones we can control are ourselves. Things happen beyond our control. We just need to be watchful and prepared and not be taken off guard or unaware, if possible.

There are several women in the Bible who, in reading their stories, it becomes evident that they were mindful women. They were also courageous. One of those women that we have already studied is Jael. Another is Abigail. In fact, all the women we have studied so far have been mindful, watchful, courageous thinking girls. But there are many more. Some of them are the classic women of the Bible such as Rahab and Ruth. Others might only have a few verses written about them, but we can still learn a whole lot from looking at these women. These are thinking girls, mindful women who have changed the world because they were listening, watching, waiting and courageous, and most importantly, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.

THE HEBREW MIDWIVES
The first of these I want to look at are the Hebrew midwives who refused the orders of Pharaoh to kill the sons born to the Hebrew women. The story begins in Exodus 1 where we learn of a new king over Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. The people of Israel were growing in number and might, so this king set taskmasters over them and afflicted them. But the more they were afflicted, the more they grew. And there was a dread of the children of Israel. The Egyptians made their lives more and more miserable.

Exodus 1: 15-22: “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, ‘When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?’ And the midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.’ Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them. So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.’”

As a side note, notice that the more the Hebrews were afflicted the more they grew. This is true of the Church. It is true for Christians. The more we are afflicted, the more we grow.

Back to the midwives. Shiphrah means “fair” and the Blue Letter Bible Outline of Biblical Usage says, “one of the two Hebrew midwives who were ordered by Pharaoh to kill all the male children born to the Hebrews but who disobeyed. (Emphasis mine.)

The Bible makes is clear that we are to obey those in authority over us, unless what they ask us to do goes against God’s higher law.

The other midwife’s name was Puah which means “splendid.”

We are told in verse 17 that these midwives feared God. Verse 20 informs us that God dealt well with them. We don’t know if what they told Pharaoh was a lie or not. It could have very well have been the truth what they said. I’m sure that these women feared Pharaoh and what he might do to them, but they feared God more and were courageous enough to do the right thing no matter the cost. This was one of the earliest battle’s where Satan was wanting to thwart God’s plan of the Messiah coming from the Seed of the Woman, the one who would crush his head. He knew the Seed would come from the children of Israel. But Elohim prevailed and they way He did it was by using these two courageous, mindful women. It seems from verse 21 that God blessed these midwives by giving them their own families. Are we mindful in that we fear the Lord and know we will stand for Him if and when the time comes?


JOCHEBED
The story continues in Exodus 2: 1-10: “And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’ Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?’ And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Go.’ So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, ‘Because I drew him out of the water.’”


We aren’t given the names of Moses’ parents here, but we are in Exodus 6:20 “Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father’s sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven.”

Amram means “exalted people.”

Jochebed Yowkebed means “ Yahweh is glory.” It is from two root words: Yehovah, the existing One and kabad which we have studied before in the God’s Glory study, and means “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured.” It was a weighty thing to be the mother of the deliverer of Israel.

Moses’ parents are also mentioned in the Hebrews Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11: 23 “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.” They were watching and courageous.

The word hid in Exodus 2:2 is tsaphan and means “to hide, treasure, treasure or store up.”
We are told Moses’ mother made an ark of bulrushes for him. The word for ark is the same one used of Noah’s ark. And put suwm means “to put, place, set, appoint, make.” (Emphasis mine.) Are you getting the picture?

In verse 4 we are told his sister stood afar off, to see what would be done with him. Again,
watching, waiting and ready. Obviously they had placed Moses in the place where they knew Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. Sure enough, she saw Moses and had compassion on him. Moses’ sister made her move and asked if she wanted her to get a nurse. In God’s magnificent sovereignty, Moses’ own mother not only got to nurse him and have her child in her care and teaching for a good while longer, but got paid to do it. I tend to agree with some of the Bible teachers I’ve studied under that Moses’ mother was able to instill in him his calling early in life because of this.


RAHAB
The next mindful woman to look at is Rahab. Much has been written about Rahab, so this study is not to try to cover ground already covered. Our purpose in looking at Rahab is to see how she exhibits the characteristics we are studying. We are introduced to Rahab in Joshua 2:1 “Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying ‘Go,view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.”

Some like to debate that maybe Rahab was an innkeeper and not a harlot, but the word translated harlot is zanah and means “to commit fornication, act as a harlot, play the harlot.”

Rahab Rachab means “wide.” It’s from the same root that means “roomy, in any (or every) direction, literally or figuratively: — broad, large, at liberty, proud, wide.”

This brings to mind what Jesus said about the woman who was a sinner and broke the alabaster box of perfume and washed His feet with her hair. The Pharisee at the scene was appalled by what kind of woman this was, but Jesus corrected him to say that those she who had been forgiven much, loves much. I see Rahab the same way.

Joshua 2:2-13: “And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’ So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’ Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.’ (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them and gone out, they shut the gate. Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: ‘I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.’’’

The word hid in verse 4 is that same word tsaphan that we looked at earlier.

The men agreed that if none of them told what was going on that they would deal kindly with her. She let them down by a rope and told them where to hide. Verses 17 and 18 are very important: “So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.’”

This scarlet cord is the symbol throughout the Bible of the salvation purchased for us by the blood of Yeshua. The scarlet dye used came from the ‘coccus ilicis’ which is a worm that when the female is ready to have babies, she attaches herself permanently to a piece of wood, her body becomes a hard shell, never to leave the wood again, to protect her offspring. Then the worm dies to give life to the children and a crimson fluid comes from her body and covers the wood and stains the children. They are colored scarlet for the rest of their lives. What a beautiful picture of what our Savior did for us on the cross.

Rahab is also mentioned in the Hebrews Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. Rahab is also, as mentioned in the study of Bathsheba, part of the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. She is the mother of Boaz, who in turn was the kinsman redeemer of Naomi and husband of Ruth. Their son was Obed who had a son Jesse, who in turn had a son David. King David.

Salvation is offered freely to any and all who will believe in God according to Romans 10:13. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, even harlotry as Rahab had done. His blood can cleanse us from every sin.

The point of this study is that Rahab, again, was listening, watching and waiting. Rahab wanted to leave her old way of life and join God’s people. She would have perished with the rest of Jericho had she not trusted in the blood. She obviously had figured out ahead of time what she was going to do if the opportunity presented itself. And it did. And she courageously allowed herself to be used by the Lord to continue His plan of deliverance and salvation.



RUTH
Ruth is another mindful, thinking woman of the Bible. Or course a study of Ruth would need its own study. But in thinking about how Ruth fits in with this theme, what strikes me is that Ruth was a doer. But a doer within the structure of the Lord and His ways. Ruth decided that she wanted the God of Naomi to be her God, too. She learned about God and His ways from Naomi, but then she did something, she took action as she learned His ways. She didn’t just sit at home and pray about it, she worked within His structure and His provision. Ruth learned about the system that the Lord had in place for widows and worked hard within that system. And with a good attitude, I might add. As a result, she was noticed and rewarded for her hard work. The Lord had His sovereign plan for Ruth and Naomi, but He accomplished it through the hard work and diligence of Ruth.



THE DAUGHTERS OF ZELOPHEHAD
The last thinking girls I want to look at in this study are the daughters of Zelophehad. Numbers 26: 33 “Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.”

The way inheritance worked at this time in Israel is that when a man died, his inheritance was left to his first born son. We know from the passage that Zelophehad died in the wilderness and only had daughters, no sons. So the daughters went to Moses with the issue of inheritance.

Numbers 27: 3-8: ’”Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the LORD, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.’ So Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: “If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter.’”’

Normally in those days women received a dowry from the father as a wedding present that would provide things such as clothes, jewelry or money which in turn would help provide if she were to be left or widowed. Sons were the ones to receive the inheritance from the father. But in this case, there were no sons in the family, so what was to happen to Zelophehad’s possessions?

Moses did what we should always do when there is an issue. He brought it before the Lord. The Lord said, “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right. You shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them.”

The story continues in chapter 36 where more details had to be worked out. But what is significant about this is how the Lord would use this to bypass the blood curse placed on Jeconiah. As was mentioned in the study of Bathsheba about the two genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, in Matthew we see the legal line of inheritance through Joseph, but in Luke we see the inheritance passed through Mary through her father Heli, thus bypassing the blood curse. Every time the enemy thinks he has thwarted God’s plan, he hasn’t. Our Lord is masterful in His sovereignty, because He is the Master.

The daughters of Zelophehad were mindful, bold and courageous. They saw that a correction was needed in their situation and took it to the proper authority. I’m sure there is some significance to all of their names being listed in the Bible. If for no other reason, just to have your name in the Bible is no small thing. All these women were mindful, thinking women, ready to step in and do what was needed. They all did what they needed to do in respectful ways, going through the proper channels. They were brave, bold and courageous. They lived as examples for us. Let’s all be mindful, thinking girls like those who have gone before us, setting our own examples to those who will follow us. Let’s all be listening to what is going on around us, but more importantly listening to what the Lord is speaking to us in His Word. Let us be watching and prepared so that when the opportunity presents itself, and it will, we are ready.

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