While the Bible is full of stories of men that God used to do extraordinary things, there are also stories of women who God also chose to use. I love studying the stories of women in the Bible because they are relatable in a way that the stories of men can’t be simply because I’m a woman.
It is encouraging to see how God has used ordinary women to change history. This is why I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Lineage of Grace * by Francine Rivers. The book is comprised of 5 novellas that tell the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. None of these women were particularly special, but God saw them fit to serve his purposes and they played key roles in the lineage of Jesus.
Before proceeding, I want to clarify that A Lineage of Grace is a work of historical fiction. In her forward Francine explains, “The outline of the story is provided by the Bible, and I have started with the facts provided for us there. Building on that foundation, I have created action, dialogue, internal motivations, and in some cases, additional characters that I feel are consistent with the biblical record. I have attempted to remain true to the scriptural message in all points, adding only what is necessary to aid in our understanding of that message.”
Reading the stories of these ordinary women whom God used in extraordinary ways has been eye opening and allowed me to have a better understanding of the context in which these stories took place, but the Bible is the ultimate authority and I encourage you to turn to scripture first and foremost to read these stories.
Tamar: A story of hope (Genesis 38)
“Betrayed by the men who controlled her future, she fought for her right to believe in a loving God.”
Tamar’s story was one of persistence and unwavering faith that justice would be served and God would be faithful. Tamar took extreme measures to obtain what was rightfully hers, a son, and while I wouldn’t recommend you repeating her actions, God blessed her dedication with not one, but two sons.
Rahab: A story of faith (Joshua 2)
“A woman with a past to whom God gave a future.”
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho who was a key component in God’s plan for the Israelites to defeat the city and take ownership of their promised land. Rahab, the prostitute, is also in the lineage of Jesus! Rahab is an unlikely character in God’s story, but it is a reminder that God knows our hearts and his redemption knows now bounds.
Ruth: A story of love (Ruth 1-4)
“She gave up everything, expecting nothing, and God honored her.”
Ruth was a foreigner who did not have to stay by her mother-in-law’s side and move back to Israel, but she did out of love and selflessness. Not only did she stay committed to Naomi, but she worked hard to take care of her as well when many others would have left her to die alone. This story is one of pure, unadulterated love from Ruth to Naomi, Boaz and their God. It’s a reminder that God sees our heart and motivations, and he will love, provide and protect us.
Bathsheba: A story of unlimited grace (2 Samuel 11-12 & 1 Kings 1-2)
“Her beauty stirred the passion of a king. Her pain moved the heart of God.”
The story of Bathsheba and King David is a tragic love story turned lesson of grace. David slept with Bathsheba while her husband, his faithful soldier and friend, was at war, and then David had Uriah killed in an attempt to hide their sin. What followed was God’s punishment, their repentance, and God’s grace. For more on this topic, read fishymom’s blog on Psalm 51.
“All eternity had been waiting for this moment. She responded in simple obedience to God’s call.”
I think we often forget how young Mary was when she became pregnant with Jesus. She was just a young teenager living in a culture that would stone her to death if they found out she was pregnant before she was married. Yet, despite the risks, young Mary said yes, and the rest is history. This poor Jewish girl became the mother of our Savior and her name will never be forgotten.
God has used women throughout history to do his work, and he is using you as well. No matter your past or your shortcomings, you can’t scare God off. He sees you and he loves you. If you need some encouragement from a band of misfit women, check out A Lineage of Grace * by Francine Rivers.
Guest Post by Tiffany Davis