You already know this, but I’ll state it for the record: I’m all about women. (This group of travelers shouting “Ta-da!” by the Sea of Galilee? Adorable.) My role models are women, my ministry is for women, and I’ve been teaching, speaking, and writing about our sisters in Scripture for three decades. Why? Because God loves women, calls and equips women, and honors women in His Word.
When the time of His Passion drew near, Mary of Bethany anointed the feet of Jesus (John 12:3), Mary of Nazareth stood at the cross of Jesus (John 19:25), and Mary Magdalene spoke with the risen Jesus and told His disciples, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18).
Makes me wanna jump up and shout, “I’ve seen Him too, Mary!” Because I have seen Him, and so have you. He is alive and He is on the move in women’s hearts, filling us with His power, so we can tell a hurting, angry world about a loving, life-changing God. Yes, even in the middle of a pandemic. Maybe especially in the middle of a pandemic.
This verse says it all: “The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng” (Psalm 68:11). Indeed we are. With photos of Israel and a Nazareth guide named Hannah, let’s explore this beautiful truth.
“The Lord…” Psalm 68:11
This is where everything begins: acknowledging that God alone is our source of strength. That’s what the heroines of the Bible did, and what we must do as well.
Leah rose above the pain of her loveless marriage and declared at the birth of her fourth son, “This time I will praise the Lord” (Genesis 29:35). Miriam, with her brothers Moses and Aaron, led the Israelites through the Red Sea, and then she led them in worship: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted” (Exodus 15:21). And Hagar, an Egyptian slave, presented God with a new name: “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13).
These ancient sisters paved the way, so we can follow in their footsteps, praising God in every circumstance.
“…announces the word,…” Psalm 68:11
When the Lord “gives the message” (NIrV), it’s time to listen. When He “gives the command” (AMP), it’s time to act. Don’t say, “Oh, but Lord, I’m a woman.” He is well aware of who we are and what we can accomplish in His Name.
If He is calling you, pay close attention. If He is sending you, beloved, go.
Look at our fearless foremothers. The queen of Sheba traveled hundreds of miles in search of wisdom, then discovered its Source and told King Solomon, “Praise be to the Lord your God” (1 Kings 10:9). Ruth, a Moabitess, left her people, her country, and her false gods when she vowed to her mother-in-law, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). And Queen Esther approached King Xerxes on behalf of God’s people, having bravely declared, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Bold and courageous, these women were a force to be reckoned with, unafraid to rise up and speak up.
“…and the women who proclaim it…” Psalm 68:11
These were the sisters who “carried the news” (GNT), the ones God entrusted to “publish the tidings” (ASV) of Israel’s victories over their enemies in Canaan.
Consider Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, who sheltered two spies on her roof, and then made a daring confession of faith: “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). And Deborah, a prophetess serving as judge over Israel, who commanded Barak to lead the charge: “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands” (Judges 4:6).
These “lady evangelists” (OJB) got the word out. These “female proclaimers” (YLT) spread the good news. And there were tons of them.
“…are a mighty throng.” Psalm 68:11
We’re talking “many, many women” (NET). Yes, a whole “company” (EXB). After all, it takes a “great host” (ESV) to tell a big world about a big God.
Our sisters today who proclaim the gospel are definitely a mighty throng. Think of all the gifted Bible teachers we’ve heard over the years at Women of Faith, Women of Joy, She Speaks, Extraordinary Women, IF:Gathering, and dozens more. Not to mention the women you’ve seen leading Bible studies in churches and homes and coffee shops in your town — women who are passionate about God, His Word, and His redemptive mission.
But you don’t need a microphone or a platform to share the good news. Just go. And tell. Be the Deborah of your workplace, the Mary Magdalene of your neighborhood. Listen for His voice. Stand to your feet. Follow where He leads. Tell all who will listen: “This is the God who sees us. This is the God who loves us. This is the God who sends us.”
Wow, do I love our biblical sisters. From Bad Girls to Really Bad Girls, from Ruth and Naomi to a Shebalicious queen, from The Women of Christmas to The Women of Easter — I could write about women in the Word until the moment I step into heaven. (Come to think of it, that’s kinda the plan.)
And because our God is a God of surprises, this spring I stepped into a new role at my home church in Louisville, as Director of the Women’s Ministry Team. I know. Surprise! Am I excited? Is this a prayer come true? Most definitely. Will I still be writing? speaking? teaching Tuesdays@Twelve on Facebook LIVE? Count on it.
Now for a giveaway that was just right for Mother’s Day: The Power of a Woman’s Words by Sharon Jaynes. I chose three winners on May 10 — Megan, Theresa, and Melanie — but you are more than welcome to share your thoughts at the bottom of this page, describing a woman who has served as a role model for you — whether ancient or modern, whether she’s someone you’ve admired from afar or known for a lifetime.
Can’t wait to meet your role models. And, when it’s safe to gather again, I can’t wait to meet you in person!
Your grateful sister, Liz
P.S. If any of the above sounds vaguely familiar, that’s not your imagination. I updated this post from several winters ago, hoping you’d find it a good fit for this special weekend.