5 Ways Valiant Women of the Bible Encourage Us Today
The Bible is full of exciting stories, many of them including strong, passionate, and wise women. While many devotionals and books focus on Proverbs 31 to teach about godly womanhood, let’s also remember the many narratives that portray women of valor in the Scriptures. Here are five God-glorifying traits we find in these valiant women of the Bible who encourage and inspire us today.
1. Discerning: A Wise Woman Saves Her Household
Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3 is described as being a discerning woman. When her husband acted rudely and grievously mistreated David, Abigail loaded up gift baskets to make peace with David. Her husband didn’t even realize the danger in which he had placed his family. If Abigail had not acted, her whole family would have been destroyed by David because of her husband’s insolence. Abigail recognized that David was chosen to rule Israel and approached him in such a way as to remind him that God is the one who will establish David’s kingdom, and David will not be vindicated by his own efforts (1 Sam. 25:30-31). Abigail did the right thing, even though her husband acted foolishly. Because she acted wisely, Abigail saved her whole household and encouraged the future king of Israel to act wisely and trust God (1 Sam. 25:30-35).
2. Choosing God’s Side: Clever, Believing, and Brave
Rahab believed God’s people would conquer her city, and she wanted to be on God’s side. She realized that her city of Jericho would be destroyed, so she cleverly hid two Israelite spies and helped them escape from Jericho soldiers. Rahab was even brought before the king and questioned. But she didn’t give up the Israelite men whom she was protecting. This is both a great spy story and faith story! Rahab not only uses her wits to protect God’s people, but she also joins herself to God’s people. As Joshua learned from the Angel of the Lord that he must obey God’s marching orders and be loyal to him (Josh. 5:14), Rahab also knew that she must be on God’s side to live. Rahab believed God’s people would be victorious and bravely used her mind, words, and actions to protect God’s people—and her own family in the process (Josh. 2:1-6:25).
3. Renewing the Mind: Acquiring Knowledge
Mary, the sister of Martha, was a learner. When Jesus was present, she sat at his feet soaking in all he said. Jesus commended Mary for taking the time to learn about him (Luke 10:39-42). In a time when women would not have publicly sat at the feet of a rabbi to learn, she made listening to Jesus’ teaching a priority. Jesus didn’t send Mary away to learn about him from her brother Lazarus in private, but welcomed her to learn from him firsthand. While it is easy to get caught up in daily chores and responsibilities, Jesus doesn’t allow that as an excuse to neglect learning and listening to him. Whether reading books that teach theology, taking classes in a seminary, learning at a Bible study, privately reading the Bible, or most importantly, worshiping with the saints on Sunday in church, learning of Christ is a priority in God’s eyes for women. Their spiritual well-being and knowledge of Christ is explicitly blessed (Luke 10:42).
4. Bolding Speaking for Justice: The Five Daughters of Zelophehad
The five daughters of Zelophehad—Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah—were bold. They came before Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders of Israel and petitioned for a portion of land to be given to them so that their family name would not be forgotten in Israel. Their father had died in the wilderness, and there was no son to continue the family line and inherit the land. It was a sign of blessing to be included in the promised land with God’s people—and a sign of curse to be left out of the land. These women realized there was no reason for their family to be left out of the promised land simply because their father had died in the wilderness. They saw a just cause and addressed it. God honored their request, and they were given land in Israel. Their boldness was also used by God to address how a family’s inheritance would be secured if a man had no sons (Num. 27:1-11). Not only did these single women address their own needs, but their courage affected future generations who would face similar problems. These women wanted to live in God’s land of promise and to ensure that promise for future generations.
5. Hospitable and Hard Working: Serving Jesus along the Way
Martha (of Bethany) and several other women who followed Jesus were hospitable—welcoming the Lord and his disciples into their homes and caring for them. These women served others with their hands and energy (Luke 8:1-3). Yet, they were not immune to pain and suffering. Martha, her sister Mary, and her brother Lazarus were close friends of Jesus. Yet even though Jesus was an intimate friend of the family—a friend she could send for in a crisis—this did not mean Martha lived a carefree life. She knew the pain and grief of her brother’s death. Even so, she clung to Jesus Christ and trusted him (John 11:5, 27).
There are many narratives of valiant women in the Scriptures. These women had their own stories, struggles, and lives. They lived real lives of hardship and pain, but each clung to God in those struggles. They weren’t perfect women, but they were faithful women who used the gifts God had given them to accomplish his purposes. Their lives are not idealized but are full of the imperfections and pain of living in a broken world. As such, they offer encouragement and hope to Christians today as we cling to God’s promises through the hardships of life.