If you read the Book of Genesis you probably encountered some of the amazing women of the Bible. They are flawed, scarred and often forgotten. But I believe the church can learn much by studying these women.
When was the last time you heard a sermon about the women of the Bible? You probably heard preachers referring to a woman with an issue of blood, the Samaritan woman, and Ruth. But rarely do you hear anyone mentioning that these people were women who battled real problems. Instead, their experiences are often reduced to a footnote.
The woman with an issue of blood had a medical condition limited to women. Only women can relate to the shame and guilt of a never ending menstrual cycle. The Samaritan woman lived with the shame of having to share bed with five different men. Ruth was an immigrant woman who had to learn to believe in God.
These women in the Bible had unique experiences that revealed God’s goodness. That is, his justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23).
7 Amazing Women of the Bible in the Book of Genesis
The problem in the church today is we have reduced women of the Bible to characters discussed exclusively in a women’s ministry. In our patriarchal settings, men are not interested in learning from women. But they’re comfortable discussing their flaws.
When we ignore stories about women in the Bible we miss out on understanding the richness of Christ’s grace. Reading the Bible faithfully means we have to engage these women, know their stories and see how they saw God.
Here are some of the key lessons I learned from the women in Genesis.
1. Eve – beauty of His faithfulness
God told Adam and Eve that they should not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and will lest they die. But Eve added a second command to protect herself from sin, “Do not touch the tree.” Yet, God never said that.
Eve probably thought adding a second command would help her family keep God’s command. Instead, it undermined God’s word. God wants us to trust and obey him. Despite her disobedience, God remained faithful and promised to Eve salvation through the seed of a woman.
2. Sarah – beauty of His might
Sarah reminds me of those churches that deny God’s power. You probably met people who believe God no longer heals the sick or work miracles. When you mention miracles they will laugh at you and quickly dismiss you as a heretic primitive uneducated buffoon.
Sarah believed in science, that is human anatomy and physiology than the word of God. They are times I have believed in science more than Christ. After all, I am a scientist. God desires that you believe more in his will and power than the order of nature.
3. Hagar – beauty of His justice
Hagar had the favor of bearing a son for Abraham. And this happened because of Sarah’s lack of faith. Sadly, Hagar thought Ishmael was a sign that she was more blessed than Sarah. This is the message of the prosperity gospel bedeviling the church today.
We are all guilty of believing more in our dreams than on Christ. And we have made God’s blessing a mark of superiority. Because he cares, he will watch over us. Even when we suffer the consequences of our idolatry and pride.
4. Rebekah – beauty of His wisdom
I have always believed that Rebekah was a thoughtful wife. After all, she aligned herself with God by loving Jacob more. But Rebekah was a conniving, manipulative, and selfish woman. Like most of us.
God told her Jacob was going to be more blessed than Esau. How many times have you lied so that you can get what you want? Despite Rebekah’s manipulations, God blessed Jacob all the same. He even used Rebekah’s deceptive plans for the good of Jacob.
5. Leah – beauty of His majesty
You probably know some churches that are snobbish and elitist. They are the ones favored by God. Because they’re growing and they know the Bible better than anyone else. And their blogs and books try to make sure you all know it – they are the best.
This is Leah. She never struggled with infertility like Rachel. And she always made sure Rachel knew it. But Leah only wanted Jacob’s attention. God is faithful because from Leah came Judah, from whom the scepter shall not depart.
6. Rachel – beauty of His holiness
When Jacob fled from his father in law, Rachel stole his father’s gods. Rachel saw how Jacob’s God was superior to her father’s idols. She also thought children could give her meaning and satisfaction.
Tim Keller defined an idol as ‘whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I ‘ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”’ But God showed he loved Rachel by blessing her with a son who became a shadow of Christ saving Israel from famine.
7. Tamar – beauty of His righteousness
Here’s a woman who life dealt a bad hand. She lost her wicked husband and a wicked brother in law who denied her a chance to conceive. In the end, she resorted to deceiving her widowed father in law by presenting herself as a prostitute.
It’s easy for us to blame Tamar for what she did. Instead, Matthew included her as the first three women in Christ’s genealogy. Despite the mess in her life, God gave her two sons. Through Tamar, we can see how God’s grace transcends our mess.
I learned more about the church by looking at the women in Genesis. I rediscovered the problems faced by the church through the lives of often ignored women of the Bible. Above all, the Book of Genesis taught me how much Christ loves us despite our repulsive mess.