Transformation Garden - September 10, 2011

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“And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.”
Judges 13: 2
King James Version

EXPLORATION

“She Had a Name – After All!”

A Forgotten Woman

“They say to me,
‘Who are you? What do you do?
Do you have a job?
Do you really work?’
Well, my Lord,
I’d like to know when you met a woman who wasn’t working?
A woman who didn’t matter?
Who wasn’t washing and feeding, cooking and cleaning, fetching and carrying.
We listen to the politicians on the radio, women as well as men, but it’s us who do the work at both home and in the country, don’t you think, my Lord, us forgotten women? Us faceless women? Us unnamed women?
Sometimes I get discouraged for I feel ignored, overlooked, forgotten.
Help me remember that You are my God, and after all is done and said, You are the “One” in whom I find my purpose – and my life.  And that You never forget me.”

Anonymous
(Adapted)

Have I ever felt like a nameless, faceless person?

How do I think God feels about me?

“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore?  But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never.  Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.”

Isaiah 49: 15, 16
The Message

INSPIRATION

“Omissions are not accidents.”
Marianne Moore

There are some texts in the Bible I find difficult to explain.  There are some texts that cause me pain.  But our text today irritates me. At least this is how I felt the first time I read Judges 13: 2, especially as a woman.

Don’t think I’m off on some “female” platform howling about my rights.  Although the Bible clearly lifts women to a heavenly elevation not ever attained through earthly means.  No, what annoys me about Judges 13: 2, is that while Samson’s father, Manoah, is named, his mother (Mrs. Manoah) is left unnamed. We are told where Manoah lived. We are told the tribe his family belonged to.  But when it comes to the wife and mother in this story, she is identified only at first by the man she was attached to and the fact that she was unable to bear children.  That’s it!

As a daughter of the King of the Universe, my heavenly Father has promised I am engraved upon the palms of His hands. That He knows my name.  That He knows where I live – “the walls where I dwell.”  And that He even knows how many hairs are on my head.

So as I read this text which introduces us to Samson’s mother, I asked, “Why would God not include her name, too?”

As we will note, this Godly mother in Israel, although living among the Philistines, remained true to her God.  She wasn’t one of the many who embroiled herself in the waywardness common among other followers of God during this time in history.

Instead, as we continue reading the book of Judges 13, we find this dedicated woman remained steadfast and God-fearing in the face of rebellion.  In fact, all her life, from what we are told in the Bible, there’s really one word that describes her and it is “faithful.”  When God sent a messenger to earth to announce a deliverer was coming, He didn’t go to the Israelite leadership.  He didn’t even start with Manoah.  Instead, He chose to bring this good news to a “faithful” mother – a woman whom God knew He could trust.

As I said to you, when I first read Judges 13: 2, I was frustrated that as we find so often exhibited in the “patriarchal” society of the Old Testament, the man is named and defined while the woman remains faceless and unnamed.

But several days ago, as I prayed over this text, it dawned on me that God’s Word doesn’t contain accidents.  This wasn’t an oversight or omission. Not naming this mother had to have a heavenly reason behind it.  A lesson which would encourage and inspire God’s daughters down through the ages.

As I read this text yesterday, I was struck with the fact that all around this world, there are daughters of the King of Heaven who may be doing their work quietly each day, unnoticed and unappreciated.  Mothers who work three jobs to keep food on the table for their precious children.  Women who walk miles in the desert, living under unspeakable conditions, trying to get a bag of grain from a refugee camp.

Everyday, around the globe, unnamed women are like Manoah’s wife – feeling you are alone and unobserved.  Yet, like this wife and mother, you too are faithful.  No matter what tidal wave hits you – you rise up again!  No matter how difficult your circumstances – you trust God!  Even when you’ve lost your job and house – you say, “My God will provide!”

Then one day, when you least expect it, God sends an “angel.”  It may be a neighbor, a friend, or someone you don’t even know.  But you’ll recognize them when they arrive.  You’ll know where they came from and “Who” sent them to you.  Why?  Because you aren’t forgotten and you aren’t unnamed.  In fact, your name is the same as Manoah’s wife – your name is “faithful!”          

“Creative Father, You made me able to do, think and understand.  I want to say, “I can,” but often I fear failure.  Help me to accept my gifts and dedicate them to You.”

Veronica Zundel    

AFFIRMATION

A PSALM IN PRAISE OF ANONYMOUS WOMEN          

“For all those women unnamed and unknown in the course of human history,
anonymous women,
invisible women, unidentified and
unrecorded women,
we remember you now, and we praise you.

Daughters and wives and mothers,
whose names are conspicuously missing
from the book of the generations:
Rejoice now as we praise you!

Daughters of Eve:
Daughters and wife of Seth:
Daughters and wife of Enosh:
Daughters and wife of Kenan:
Daughters and wife of Mahal’alel:
Daughters and wife of Jared:
Daughters and wife of Enoch:
Daughters and wife of Methuselah:
Daughters and wife of Lamech:
Daughters and wife of Noah:
Rejoice now as we praise you!

All who were labeled “the daughters of men,”
who scripture says were taken to wife
by those who were labeled “the sons of God” –
may you and all your anonymous daughters:
Rejoice now as we praise you!

All anonymous women of the Hebrew scriptures:
rejoice now as we praise you!
Daughters and wives and mothers
whose names are unrecorded
in the Gospels and writings
of the early Church tradition:

Rejoice now as we praise you!
The mother of Mary the mother of Jesus:
The sister of Mary the mother of Jesus:
The sisters of their brother Jesus:
Peter’s mother-in-law:
Woman accused of adultery:
Widow from the village of Nain:
Woman with the flow of blood:
Jairus’s little daughter:
Woman who anointed the head of Jesus:
Woman who anointed the feet of Jesus:
Crippled woman bent over double:
Poor widow who generously gave away all:
Canaanite woman and her daughter:
Anonymous woman in the crowd:
Samaritan woman at the well:
Wife of Pontius Pilate:
Maid in the house of Caiaphas, the high priest:
Galilean women who accompanied Jesus:
Weeping daughters of Jerusalem:
Women in the Upper Room at Pentecost:
Women persecuted by Saul:
Women who were members of the apostolic church:
Female slave in Philippi:
Four female prophets, daughters of Philip the evangelist:
Paul’s sister who lived in Rome:
Mother of Rufus who lived in Rome:
Sister of Nereus who lived in Rome:
Rejoice now as we praise you!
All anonymous women in the early church
and throughout Christian history,
up to and including today:
Rejoice now as we praise you!

Anonymous women everywhere,
of every culture and every class,
every religion and every race,
from the beginning of time
to this time and place,
especially those who are in our midst:
Rejoice now as we praise you!

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Now available wherever books are sold and at
www.amazon.com and
www.ChristianBook.com or
1-800-Christian
Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P.S.  My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You can also go to www.whenawomanmeets jesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.

If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit: www.direct2church.com or email direct2church@Bakerpublishinggroup.com

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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