Success Stories of Women in the Bible: Priscilla, Phoebe, Deborah, Jael remind me of Jesus.

Hiya RumBloggers,

During the golden days of August, I have been preaching to HPBC about women in the Bible who are “success stories” of faith.  I have previously posted thoughts on Lydia.  I will speak about Ruth on August 21 and then conclude the series with Esther on August 28.  The past week weeks, I have spoken on Priscilla, Phoebe, Deborah and Jael.  These women all remind me of Jesus in different ways and inspire me to follow Jesus more closely!  I hope they impact you in the same fashion.  Here are my reflections and key Bible verses from the English Standard Version (online edition) on these heroines:

Priscilla was a married woman whom God used in the early churches fragile, early development.  God used this couple’s political persecution to lead them to a new place where Paul could use their trade skills in the evangelistic expansion of the church through Europe.  God also used this couples’ hospitality to encourage the early church.  Their discipleship training of a young, passionate and immature preacher to maturity of knowledge.  Priscilla may have been the primary teacher in their home group.  Their legacy of international influence is reflected in the intra-church correspondence of Paul.  Jesus wants to us our experiences in evangelism, our hospitality and discipleship to build young believers, and our international correspondence to leave a legacy of encouraging the saints.  Follow Jesus and you may become like Priscilla in your own way!  God uses couples and single people in such ways.

  • Acts 18:2And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them,

  • Acts 18:18After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.

  • Acts 18:26,  He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

  • Romans 16:3,  Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,

  • 1 Corinthians 16:19The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.
  • 2 Timothy 4:19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

Phoebe was a commendable servant of the Church, entitled deaconess, at a time when that was an office held most entirely by men.  This reminds me of Jesus’ redemptive and progressive empowerment of women in gospel ministry. I believe the difference in men and women are complementary.  The ESV has a footnote on the word “servant” saying: or “deaconess”.

  • Romans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae,… 
Deborah was a true, bright, spiritual leader and advisor of God’s people during a spiritually dark and disobedient time.  She stands out from her contemporaries as a Judge or Deliverer.  She was a woman that God used at a time when we would have expected a man to step up!  This is ironic according to gender roles of the day.  God’s point is to humble us by the people he used.  He used the best available person of faith in his word and work at that time – Deborah.  We should have expected that God would be using a male judge and general, but they were disobedient resulting in absence or cowardess.  God used Deborah to remind the cowardly military leader, Barak, that God had promised political victory.  She also accompanied him to the victorious battle.  Deborah was a good leader because she reminded people of God’s promises.  In her efforts to motivate, she started where they were at, (in their doubt, fear, sin, etc), and encouraged them to move forward in action to embrace God’s promises for them!  She used rhetorical questions, recalled promises and was present with them in the battle.  She was also a song writer! 🙂  Deborah remind me of the greater Deborah – Jesus – who was the unlikely spiritual leader who God used to lead his people (the new covenant church) into the spiritual promised land of spiritual freedom and prosperity.  God may want to use you to speak to and accompany courageous faith action this fall.
  • Judges 4:4  Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

  • Judges 4:5  She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.

  • Judges 4:9  And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

  • Judges 4:10  And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

  • Judges 4:14  And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.

  • Judges 5:1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

 Jael was a simple woman who God used to complete the promised military victory in very graphic fashion.  She hammered a tent peg into the enemy general’s temple.  Jesus was the ultimate Jael, who executed our enemy – Satan – when nails won the victory of the cross!
  • Judges 4:18  And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug.

  • Judges 4:21  But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died.

  • Judges 4:22  And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

    Jesus can and will use us as we follow God’s will, like these people did.
    Remember that God, in Christ, is the hero of our story.
    Are you following Jesus now?

One thought on “Success Stories of Women in the Bible: Priscilla, Phoebe, Deborah, Jael remind me of Jesus.

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