We read about many heroes of faith in the Bible. This sermon examines the lives of four respected women who feared God.
[Peter Eddington] Over the centuries, there’s been a segment of society, 50% of humanity, in fact, which has been neglected and prejudiced against. In particular, some religions feel this portion of society is less worthy of respect, honor, and acceptance than the other half. And so restrictions are put upon it. However, as Scripture proves, God has provided a religious system that provides equality, justice, and respect far above any other religion in the world. The Old Testament law, the New Testament church, provide equality and protection for this 50% of society like no other religion in existence. The Judeo-Christian biblical values support women and girls like no other religion. And as you know, some religions actually have put a lot of restrictions on women. Despite the historical limitations put upon women, God is pro-female.
Let’s turn to Luke 8. Look at the first three verses. Luke 8. Let’s look ahead. Jesus Himself approached the women of His society. Luke 8:1 Luke 8:1And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
American King James Version×. “It came to pass, that Jesus went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” So this is the beginning of His ministry. “And the twelve were with Him.” The 12 disciples that He had chosen to work with Him in this. Plus, verse 2, “certain women.” It wasn’t just the 12, “Plus certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities— Mary called Magdalene, out of who had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.”
Jesus had many women that were part of His life, helped Him to establish the early church and preach the Kingdom of God. These women were part of the beginning of the New Testament church, and much of Jesus’ support came from these women. The Church is typified in the Bible as a woman. We’re collectively called the Bride of Christ as a church. Christ is the groom coming to marry His Bride. God is pro-women. And today, we’re going to look at four women worthy of respect, four women from the Scriptures worthy of respect, four women who feared God. And you may be familiar with two of them, but the other two, you maybe not so much.
So, I’ve titled this sermon “Four Women to Respect,” four women to respect. Let’s go back to Proverbs 31 for a moment, and notice what he said in the conclusion. Proverbs 31:30 Proverbs 31:30Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
American King James Version×. Proverbs 31:30 Proverbs 31:30Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
American King James Version×, we read… Of course, this is, you know, the virtuous woman chapter. But at the very end, 31 verse 30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” So, the most important thing in a woman’s life is to fear God, to be righteous, to be upright before God. So, we’re going to study four such women, four women who feared God, four women to respect. And number one is one that you are familiar with, and it’s Ruth, the wife of Boaz.
We’re going to go back to Ruth 1 in the Old Testament there. Let’s go back to the book of Ruth. This is in the days of the judges, so it’s before the kings in the days of the judges. Look at Ruth 1:16 Ruth 1:16And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God:
American King James Version×. Of course, you knew that this would be one of the four, right? Ruth, of course, is very famous. And one reason she became so famous is her wonderful attitude of wanting to be linked with the people of Israel, she wasn’t an Israelite, with the people of the covenant, wanting to accept upon herself this yoke of the Kingdom of heaven. And remember what Ruth said while talking to her mother-in-law, Naomi. In this famous passage, Ruth 1:16 Ruth 1:16And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God:
American King James Version×, Ruth said to Naomi, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge; I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” And in verse 17, “Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, for nothing but death parts you and me.”
Ruth, a Moabite woman whose Israelite husband had died, decided to accept the ways of Israel rather than follow the pagan religions of Moab. And so she returned to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. And upon returning to Bethlehem, which was in Judah, Ruth was about to meet an older man named Boaz. And Boaz was actually a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband. Naomi’s husband’s name was Elimelech, and Elimelech and Boaz were related. So Ruth was quite a bit younger than Boaz. He would have been old enough to be her dad, even though Ruth was now a widow herself. And she understood her obligations in the family and her opportunity to become the wife of this righteous man Boaz. And that part of the story opens up in Ruth 2 where she meets Boaz.
But now look at Ruth 3, if you would. Let’s turn to Ruth 3 and look at verse 11. This is where we read about the true character of Ruth. She reveals to Boaz that she’s willing to marry him and preserve the family name of her deceased husband of whom, as I said, Boaz was a close relative. So, here’s what Boaz says to her in Ruth 3:11 Ruth 3:11And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to you all that you require: for all the city of my people does know that you are a virtuous woman.
American King James Version×, “And now, my daughter,” so he sees her as obviously younger than him, “do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” Another term for being virtuous is “a woman of valor.” He said, “I know you’re a woman of valor. You’re a woman of God, a virtuous woman.” So Boaz understood who she was. He respected her. He respected her character. And she, too, understood who he was. It’s a story of two righteous people coming together for a righteous cause.
And when we come to the conclusion of the book at the end of Ruth, we see this. Notice Ruth 4:21-22 Ruth 4:21-22 21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
American King James Version×. I’m going to turn to Ruth 4, look at verses 21 and 22, because this here is where we see the lineage now that came as a result of Ruth and Boaz being together. Ruth 4:21 Ruth 4:21And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
American King James Version×, “And Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” So Ruth, this virtuous woman, this respectable woman, is the great-grandmother of king David. And most importantly from that, David is the ancestor of the Messiah. Jesus Christ was divine and also human, as we know. Ruth was part of that background, part of that incredible ancestry that led to the human birth of Jesus.
I’m going to come back to this thought of Jesus’ ancestry here in a moment. But let’s go now to woman to respect number two, a woman whom king David came to know. And he came to respect her in a remarkable way. This woman should really be more famous than she is, I think, and that’s Abigail, the wife of Nabal. Abigail, the wife of Nabal, N-A-B-A-L. Abigail is a wonderful example of a woman to be respected. Her husband, on the other hand, however, unfortunately, was a very wicked man. He had the name Nabal. There are some other meanings for the name Nabal, but it actually means “fool.” So, wouldn’t you like it if your mom saw you come out and said, “I’m going to call you Nabal.” But anyway, that’s what it turns out to be with him, too. It’s unfortunately who he really was.
So, that’s 1 Samuel 25 is where we want to go here to look at Abigail. 1 Samuel 25, beginning in verse 2. 1 Samuel 25, beginning in verse 2, “There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats.” That’s a pretty big-sized ranch. “And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife, Abigail. She was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings.” So, we read right up front that she was a good woman, he was a bad guy. As background to the story now, king Saul was plotting evil against David. So, David was hiding in the wilderness. He was hiding in remote towns trying to avoid king Saul. And David needed help from Nabal and the local people. David’s warriors needed refuge, as you see, actually, in the following verses.
I might mention that I read, this week, that archeologists have found a town outside of Jerusalem that they believe was one of the towns where David sought refuge, one of the towns of refuge that are in this story. Now, they believe they found one of those towns where David was hiding from king Saul. It’s in the news right now. In any case, but Nabal treated David’s men very badly, so David decided to take revenge against Nabal and against Nabal’s whole household. So, David arms 400 men with swords, that’s in verse 31 here, and marches to attack Nabal. So, Nabal’s household is done for because of the lack of respect that they showed David when he and his men asked for help and refuge.
David knew that what he was about to do was rather wicked, not good. But in this case, we see that David’s judgment was very lacking. He overreacted, and he was about to do something that really would have been a wicked response to what was done against him. Abigail was loyal to Nabal, despite him being obviously not to her. He was far less than an ideal husband, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, she was loyal to him, and she didn’t want to see David corrupt his character either. And so she gathered together help for David’s people and went to him to intervene before he would avenge himself against Nabal.
Let’s go to 1 Samuel 25:18 1 Samuel 25:18Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
American King James Version×. And what we’re about to see is Abigail did not tell her husband what she was doing. She was actually going to save his life, in spite of himself. It’s a beautiful story here, a beautiful account. You can read the whole thing, of course, throughout 1 Samuel 25, but let’s jump to verse 18, where “Abigail made haste, took two hundred loaves of bread,” because David’s got a pretty good little army with him if he armed 400 men with swords, to begin with, “two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, two hundred cakes of figs and loaded them on donkeys.”
“She said to her servants, ‘Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.’ But she did not tell her husband Nabal.” Because Nabal had refused to give David any help whatsoever, right? Verse 20, “So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under the cover of the hill; and there was David and his men, coming down toward her.” He was on the warpath, on the march. “And she met them.” Verse 21, then David said… David had said… here’s what David said, “Surely in vain I’ve protected all that this fellow, Nabal, has in the wilderness so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good.” So, David said, “I didn’t destroy his property. I was careful, and he’s just repaid me evil.” Verse 22, “May God do so and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belonged to him by morning light.” He said, “They’re all going to die. Not one will be left. I’m going to destroy the whole male population of Nabal’s household.”
Verse 23, “Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground.” So, she wasn’t too proud to act very humbly before David and plead for the life of her husband, not a nice guy, and also, though, to prevent David from doing something he would come to regret, for sure. Verse 24, “So she fell at his feet and said: ‘On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!’” You know, “Everything Nabal did, blame me.”
“And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant.” She really risked her life here. David was angry. He was on the warpath. How did she know that he wouldn’t harm her? “Hey, get out of my way, woman.” She even took the blame for the situation, and she’s trying to make restitution for herself. Verse 25, “Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him!” She says, “I know my husband is not a nice guy.”
“But I, your maidservant, I didn’t see the young men of my lord whom you sent.” She said, “I wasn’t even there when they came to ask for help.” And so she certainly knew what kind of a man she was married to, but she was still going to protect him. And as we read these verses here, as we go forward, note in your scriptures that lord and lord and lord are mentioned over and over here. There’s a capital “L” for God, and there’s a lowercase “l” when Abigail is referring to David. Otherwise, you can kind of get a little confused here about all the different lords. Because she calls David “lord,” right? Her lord, like a king or something. But then you’ll see capital “L” for when she’s referring to God. So, verse 26, “Now therefore, my lord, as the Eternal Lord lives,” you know, “as God lives, and as your soul lives…” maybe I’ll just say “Eternal” for “Lord” here, “since the Eternal has held you back from coming to bloodshed…” So, she’s saying, “It’s God, actually, that’s holding you back.”
“…and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.” So, Nabal was obviously a wretch of a person. Everybody knew it. So, she says, “Let your enemies be characterized as fools also.” Let your enemies be characterized that way, as well. Then verse 27, “And now this present, this gift, which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.” See how careful she was? She wasn’t worried about her pride or her status. Abigail was concerned about the life of her husband and also the character of David, as we see here in verse 28. “Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant.” You know, “for interrupting your journey here.”
“For the Eternal will certainly make for my lord an enduring house,” she says, “God has big plans for you, David because my lord fights a battle for the Eternal, and evil is not found in you throughout your days.” Verse 29, “Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Eternal, your God; and the lives of your enemies He…” God, “shall sling out as from the pocket of a sling.” She understood with whom she was dealing. Just as she knew that her husband was a wretch, she knew that David was fighting the battles of God, “battles of the Lord,” she says. And she looked to David for mercy, now, in this situation. And the man who arose to take David’s life, here in verse 29, was, of course, king Saul. She was referring to king Saul. I guess everybody knew that David was on the run from king Saul.
She’s talking to David using the metaphoric language he was famous for, his use of the sling. She knew how to talk to him in his language. You remember David and Goliath, right? With the sling. And that’s what she’s referring to here. She knew who he was. In verse 30, “And it shall come to pass, when the Eternal has done for my lord according to all the good that is spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel,” so it seems Abigail knew David would one day become king. It’s almost prophetic. Verse 31, “that this will be no grief to you.” You know, “Don’t do something here that you’re going to regret.”
“Nor offense of heart to my lord, either you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself.” David, you’re taking vengeance upon yourself. “But when the Eternal has dealt well with you, David, my lord, then remember me. Remember your maidservant.” So Abigail is almost a prophetess here in this part of the message. She says, “The Eternal will avenge for you, David. Do not harm my husband or our household. And after you become king, remember the righteousness of Nabal’s wife. Remember me.”
She says, “At least be positive towards Nabal because of his wife. Please don’t kill him.” Then verse 32, “And David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed is the Eternal God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!’” He could have had a very different reaction. He could have said, “Off with her head,” or something. In verse 33, “And blessed is your advice and blessed are you because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.” Verse 34, “’For indeed, as the Eternal God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!’ So David received her hand… received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, ‘Go up in peace to your house. See I have heeded your voice and respected your person.’” He said, “You’re a woman to respect. Thank you.”
And David understood the divine inspiration behind her interaction. He said, “Actually, it’s God that has stopped me.” And it’s interesting that Nabal, soon afterwards, died. And David saw that God had avenged for him. It wasn’t for David to take vengeance or do anything himself. Let God handle it, which, of course, is something we can learn a lot from today, right? We’re in a tough situation, let God handle it. Put it in His hands.
Verse 36, “Now Abigail went to Nabal,” she went home, “and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore, she told him nothing, little or much, until the morning. And so it was in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife told him these things,” she said, “I just went out there and saved your life, buddy.”
“But his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. And it happened about ten days later, that the Eternal struck Nabal, and he died.” God took care of it. Verse 39, “So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be the Eternal, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept me, His servant, from evil! For the Eternal has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.’ And David sent a proposal to Abigail to take her as his wife. When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, ‘David sent us to you to ask you to become his wife.’” So David saw what a wonderful woman she was. Look how faithful she was to her husband, even though Nabal was not at all a good person, and actually a fool. And she was quite a woman. Her actions would be to respected. She feared the Lord her God. She risked herself to come before a very angry David, and probably a very angry mob of his followers. She risked her life to save her husband and kept David from sin.
Then verse 41, “Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, ‘Here is your maidservant,’” she says, “ ‘a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord.’ So Abigail arose…” verse 42, “rose in haste, rode on a donkey attended by five of her maidens; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife.” So it’s such a wonderful feminine example. We have Ruth, first of all, who was an ancestor of David, and we have Abigail, who wound up marrying David. And it’s interesting to know that Abigail was willing to become a servant and wash the feet of David’s servants. As low as low can go, if necessary. Very humble, and actually an example of what we are about to see next, in number three.
There’s a third woman to respect, for us to study, this time in the New Testament, in Luke 7. So, Jesus Christ was a descendant of David, also the Word of God incarnate. He’s the Messiah and the Savior. Let’s look at a woman in Luke 7, very interesting account. Her name is not given. I’ve called her “The repentant woman.” The repentant woman is number three. And in this story, Jesus is the guest of a prominent religious leader, a rabbinical figure named Simon. So, you know, he was a head honcho in the religious system there in Jerusalem. Luke 7:36 Luke 7:36And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
American King James Version×. Luke 7:36 Luke 7:36And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
American King James Version×, “Then one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.” Now, evidently, even though the Pharisee sat down to eat with Jesus, he really was just kind of checking Jesus out. It wasn’t really an honest invitation. He’s thinking, “Who is this Man that everyone is following? Who is this Guy performing miracles? Are they really true? Let’s have Him over for dinner. Let’s grill Him a little bit here.”
And so the Pharisee, this top religious leader, didn’t really give Jesus the kind of respect you would show to somebody considered a great person. He invited him to eat at his house, but he wasn’t overly hospitable, as we’ll see. Notice verse 37. “And behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil.” So here she is, a known sinful woman in the house of this very zealous, Orthodox Jewish leader. She comes in there in front of this great Rabbi, Jesus. She figured he was a Teacher, a Rabbi. She brought this oil, and now look what she does. Evidently, she had repented of her sins and she’s now trying to turn her life around.
Verse 38, “and she stood at Jesus’ feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head; she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” So this was all a very emotional situation. She’s crying. She’s really heartbroken about her past and really wanted to change her ways. She wanted to get right with God, and she knew that this was the way to do it, to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. For all of us, too, that’s the way we do it, right? We have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It’s very much like Abigail at the feet of David, humbling herself and not concerned with her status, even offering to wash the feet of servants. The repentant woman is seeing herself as a sinner who needs help. So she came very humbly before this Man of God, this Prophet, she assumes, probably not fully understanding who Jesus really was, but understanding enough.
Look at verse 39. “Then when the Pharisee who had invited Him in… when the Pharisee who had invited Jesus in saw this, he spoke to himself,” mumbled to himself, “saying, ‘This Man, if He really was a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’” So even the Pharisee knew the background of this lady. Maybe she was fairly notorious in the area for her behavior. But nevertheless, you see how broken up she was. And you would think the Pharisee would see that concept and would get the point, but he doesn’t. Verse 40, “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’” So Simon said, “Okay, go ahead. Say it. I’m ready. I can take it.”
Verse 41, and here’s what Jesus says, “ ‘There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, the creditor freely forgave them both. So tell Me, Simon, which of them will love him more?’ So Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave the most.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’” In verse 44, “Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.’” So, if the Pharisee really had a lot of respect for Jesus Christ, very likely, he would have seen to it that Jesus’ feet were washed before dinner. That would have been proper. He didn’t go above and beyond. He really wasn’t very hospitable. But this woman was. And it would be very respectful in the culture, in the Middle East, to greet a rabbi, a teacher, with a kiss and to wash his feet.
Look at verse 45. “You, Simon, gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.” Jesus says, “Obviously, you don’t think much of Me as your guest. You didn’t even give Me any water to wash my feet when I came in.” So, He contrasted this Pharisee who was not giving Him proper respect with this woman who everyone said was a big sinner. She was humbling herself and showing respect to this Prophet. At least we know she understood that much about Jesus, this Rabbi.
Verse 47, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.” The NIV says, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, as her great love has shown. But to whom little is given, the same loves little.” In verse 48, “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Which, of course, really would have blown the mind of a Pharisee for someone to say that, because look at verse 49. “And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’” Jesus sees her as repentant and fearing God. The Pharisee did not have the same love for God as this woman. And he was supposed to be an example to the community. You see the irony here.
Because of her humility, because of her dramatic action, she exposed a problem that the Pharisee had. Everyone knew her problems, and she just exposed a problem that the Pharisee had, that he should have then recognized and didn’t. And she also enabled Jesus Christ to reveal Himself as not only the greatest of rabbis, of all teachers, of all prophets, but actually as the Word of God in the flesh, one who could forgive sin. That’s who the Pharisee was dining with, God in the flesh. So Jesus takes this opportunity to show her and to show everyone around who He actually was, prompted by the respectable actions of this woman. And it will be amazing to see her in God’s Kingdom.
For our fourth and final woman to be respected, let’s go back to the 5th century BC. And you no doubt will have respected this one. Number four is Hadassah, the wife of king Ahasuerus. Hadassah, H-A-D-A-S-S-A-H. Hadassah’s uncle, uncle Mordecai, had raised her. And her parents had both died when she was quite young. So, turn to Esther 2:5 Esther 2:5Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
American King James Version×. Don’t know if you noticed, but the Magee, they named their little daughter last week Hadassah after Esther Magee, after her mother. So, it’s Hadassah. So, Esther 2:5 Esther 2:5Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
American King James Version×, Hadassah, and the wife of king Ahasuerus. So, Esther 2:5 Esther 2:5Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
American King James Version×, “In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite.” So he’s of the tribe of Benjamin, Mordecai was. “And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah,” that is Esther, “his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother.” I guess her parents had died when she was young.
“So the young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” So, Hadassah is Esther. Jews tend to have two names, the name on the street and the Hebrew name. We have Saul, later called Paul. We have Simon, who was called Peter. Also, John called Mark. Right? Often had two names. And you all know what happened after this, here in chapter 2. Esther was taken and given the opportunity, which she really couldn’t refuse, the opportunity to possibly be the next queen of the Medo-Persian Empire. So she hid her Jewish identity, as Mordecai advised her to. She hid her identity until the proper time. And as the story unfolds, the Jews, her people, faced extermination, holocaust, genocide. And at that moment, Mordecai told Esther she had to act.
So, let’s go over to Esther 4:14 Esther 4:14For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
American King James Version×. Esther 4:14 Esther 4:14For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
American King James Version×, Mordecai says to his stepdaughter, his niece, I guess, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place.” You know, “God will save us. But you and your father’s house will perish. Yet, who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” So, Mordecai tells Esther, “Don’t think you’re going to escape. In fact, if God will deliver us without you, then He may deal with you later. If you don’t step forward,” it says, “you and your father’s house will perish.” And indeed God, as we see, had placed her there in the king’s palace to save the Jews, to save her people. And she then took that responsibility and risked her life. Esther put her life on the line.
Look at verse 11, chapter 4, verse 11. Esther said, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who is not being called, he has but one law: put all to death except the one whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live.” And she says, “Yet I myself have not been called to go into the king these thirty days.” She was waiting to have an audience with the king. And for 30 days, he hadn’t called upon her. You don’t just go in there by yourself, because you’ll be put to death. Verse 15, “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai,” verse 16, “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And I will go to the king, which is against the law; if I perish, I perish!” So, all of the Israelites fasted and prayed that when she went before the king to plead for the life of the Jews, that he wouldn’t chop her head off. She came about as close as you can to death.
The Jews took her to guard with fasting. She risked her life. But as we read the story, you know that she was spared by the king. As the story goes, he allowed her to speak, and even said, “I’ll do whatever you want.” And her great courage placed her before the king, risking her very life. Which takes us down to… we’ll skip down to Esther 9. We know the story after this. God did intervene. The evil decree of Haman was thwarted, and the Jews were spared. Esther now became even more elevated in the Medo-Persian Empire. Her uncle Mordecai became elevated in stature as well, in status as well. So, we come to the end of the account. We find a festival to be observed. And Esther has quite a bit to do with it… actually, with all of it.
Esther 9:30 Esther 9:30And he sent the letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
American King James Version×, Esther 9:30 Esther 9:30And he sent the letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
American King James Version×, “Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the now hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of king Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.” Of course, this festival is observed by the Jews to this very day. So because of this valiant woman, a woman greatly respected, we have a Jewish festival observed to this day. Much of the focus of the festival is on Esther and what she did. She risked her life to save her people. Thankfully, she was spared and elevated, and her people elevated and spared of genocide, saved as a result of her courageous acts. Chapter 10 then goes on to show how Mordecai was advanced throughout the empire as well.
So, as we wrap this up here today, we have four women to be respected and admired. Four women of God. Two of them are labeled as virtuous women, women of valor. We have Ruth, the wife of Boaz. We have Abigail, the wife of Nabal and later, wife of David. We have the repentant woman who served Jesus Christ. And we have Queen Esther, the wife of King Ahasuerus. And as you know, there are many more examples of godly women in the scriptures. And there are many examples of godly women amongst us today, too. The women here that are striving to obey God, to be righteous, to pray and study, to be ready to be part of the Bride of Christ. And we’re very thankful for the godly women amongst us here today, as well.
Look at 2 Corinthians 6, as I conclude. The Judeo-Christian biblical values support women and girls like no other religion. The laws and statutes in the Old Testament protect women. The laws of marriage and family protect the women from abuse. Jesus Christ and His Church is pro-female. 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×. 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×, “ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
“You shall be My sons and daughters.” Here we see God’s ultimate purpose, in creating human beings and creating us male and female. God created men and women to become His sons and daughters. And today, we have just studied a very, very few of some of those women who will become, also, eternal daughters of God. Four respectable women who feared the Lord.