And now for a "That's so cool!" moment from Intimacy With Jesus...
I have a little segment in my blog called "Love Notes." These are especially short posts in which an amazing thought about our "romance" with Jesus suddenly hits me and I just need to share it.
Well, sometimes a "that's so cool!" moment hits me when I'm listening to scripture. The revelation might not necessitate a particularly long post--it's just something really cool I think is worth sharing.
I mentioned before that no part of scripture is without meaning or significance. If a portion of scripture seems boring to us, it's only because our human minds haven't fully grasped the gems hidden within. Genealogies can seem like that sometimes.
Well, when I was listening to Nehemiah 3, there was this long list of Israelites involved in rebuilding the temple. It seemed a bit boring at first, then suddenly I heard this:
"And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters." - Nehemiah 3:12
Women helped rebuild the temple! What's particularly impressive about the daughters of Shallum is that their grandfather was apparently something of a dignitary. If anyone could've felt a sense of entitlement to not get involved in the grunt work, it would've been these women. 1. Because their grandfather was important, 2. Because they were women. But these women obviously didn't take that attitude.
I don't know why this struck me as so cool. Maybe because when I think of significant physical tasks described in the Bible, I automatically associate these tasks with men. I guess this passage also reminded me of the instances in the epistles in which the Holy Spirit--through Paul--goes out of His way to mention the women heavily involved in support of the ministry.
Years ago, when I was an undergraduate taking an online class, the subject of religion and sexism came up. The argument or implication was that Christianity was just another sexist, female-suppressing religion.
In my class discussion post, beginning with Eve, Sarah (God told Abraham to obey his wife in a male-dominated society!), Hagar, Miriam, Rahab, Jael, Deborah, Ruth, Huldah, Esther and ending with Mary, Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene (and Christ's other female followers), Priscilla (aka Prisca), Lois, Eunice and probably many others whose names escape me at the moment, I described how God powerfully used and accomplished His work through these women. These women were leaders (both spiritual and military), protectors, fighters, survivors, prophetesses, helpers, vessels. Indeed, these women played significant roles in God's story.
Arguably most significant, women were the first evangelists! The Lord Jesus appeared FIRST to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9). God chose a woman for this honor! Not Peter, not John--Mary! He then tasked Mary and the other women with telling the disciples of His resurrection (Luke 24:1-11).
When you read the story of creation in Genesis, what do you see? There seems to be a gradual progression: The creations become bigger or more complex, culminating in a creature being made in God's very image--first, Adam, then Eve. Eve was, arguably, the culmination of God's creation.
Anyone who accuses God or the Bible of sexism has obviously never really read the Bible. Just because the culture or society during which the Bible was written may have been sexist, doesn't mean God was or is. In fact, in all these biblical instances (and in others I've probably forgotten), God bucked society's sexism by using women to lead armies, to govern, to prophesy, to preach. God chose birth from a woman's body as the method through which He would come to Earth.
God loves women!
Adam didn't feel complete until God gave him Eve. I believe the last Adam didn't feel complete until God gave Him His bride!
This post started out as a cool recognition of Shallum's daughters (they likely also carried weapons and helped defend the temple along with the other builders (Nehemiah 4:17-18)), but it's turned into an awesome reminder of just how much God loves His daughters!