Black Women in the Bible
By Stephen L. Williams,
Author Black Heritage Bible Lessons
1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
A famine is an ugly thing. And when it come. It disrupts lives, destroys land and carry on devastation beyond anything we can ever imagine.
When famine comes, it leaves the earth parched as if with fire. No clouds appear in the heavens by day to hide the burning sun, when famine comes. No dew or rain refreshes the thirsty earth, as it becomes dry. When famine comes. Vegetation withers and streams fail as brooks dry up, when famine come.
The air becomes dry and suffocating, when famine comes. Dust storms blind the eyes and seems to stop the breath. As bleating flocks and thirsty herds wander from place to place in distress seeking to find some place to quench their thirst, when famine comes. Prosperous cities and villages become places of mourning. As Hunger and thirst begins to tell upon man and beast with fearful mortality, when famine comes. Flourishing fields become like burning desert sands as the gardens and vineyards grow leafless and the forest trees, become like skeletons
But worst of all, when famine leaves Fathers and mothers powerless to relieve the sufferings of their children and forces us to watch them die. Such was the condition of Israel in the day of the Judges, that forced a man named Elimelech to leave the land of Israel, and travel to the distant land of Moab there to provide for the needs of his family Famine is a terrible thing and in all our lives, famine comes.
But so many times, when famine come, Fathers are tempted to desert their families in a bid to survive. It would be well, if Fathers in America today, would learn the lesson of Elimelech, who would not desert his family under any conditions.
Children needs fathers., They need men who are reliable and dependable. They need Fathers who are trustworthy and attentive. They need Fathers who would stand over them like a shelter. Fathers who would stand by them like a fortress. Fathers who will go before them like an armor.
Fathers who would stand behind them like a motivating power, saying , go on my child, for success is waiting to attend you. And there is few greater things that the parents of Calvary can do for their children, than to ensure them the security and stability of a home, where a dependable, God fearing father dwells.
While there in Moab, the sons of Elimelech take to themselves wives, and while the seek to build a happy live, something terrible happens because fathers and sons die, and three women are left widowed.
3 And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons
Between these lines may be read the story of all the widowhood of the world. See these women then and now, silent in long array, standing in the gap. Some of them are conspicuous: Rizpah, who stood alone, fighting off the raven from eating the body of an only child. She of Nain, who silently in here pain took the body of her only boy to the grave as anguish ate away at her very soul. Mary, who stood by the cross, and watched the death of the child whom God had promised would be Emanuel. Most of them stand nameless; but all of them stand are desolate. Some of them are our mothers, our grandmothers, our aunts our sisters. We have seen their pain and have wondered if something is not wrong with a world that brings them the sorrow and sighing so prolonged, the sorrow and sighing so uncomforted, so unexplained.
Our deepest nature tremble at the thought that such notes should have been struck on a woman’s heart - that instrument so capable of bearing pain. Yet we must realize that elsewhere in the universe of God and audible to His ear, these cries does not go unheard, For one day we will realize that these cries are met by other notes in harmony with which they unite to form some justifying and eternal melody.
In connections with all this grief and tear-shed of time, God seems to charge himself and His eternity with responsibility, when He thus remembers Naomi, and perpetuates her pain, weaves her complaint into His own everlasting Word.
The relating of these details of a life’s sorrow in the case of Naomi shows how intimately God knows all, and pities all, and that he has a place for all in His great perfect plan.
What befell these widows of Moab and Judah long ago, God is still permitting to befall human life in all lands every day. This page of Scripture is a Divinely sanctioned transcript from universal human history. Sooner of later God deals in such a way with all of us that we are made to feel that this world is not our home and we come to confess ourselves strangers and pilgrims.
God makes some old before their time; God blights hopes that have but budded. God stirs up the nest and leaves them desolate. God sends the weariest on pilgrimages. He spread famine and hunger around homes and sends hunger into hearts. God takes from Judah and give to Moab, and again from Moab and give to Judah, because he is God, and he know best. God sometimes strips so bare and leaves so bereft that we are compelled to cry.
Thou the spring of all my comfort
More than life to me,
Who have I on earth, besides thee,
Who in heaven but thee.
And when all this is done, God never repents or regrets;
For it is done deliberately and of set purpose, according to some wise and tender motive beyond our present knowing.
This is the lesson of what is here told us in these verses of a lost husband and two sons.
The object of this tale of an old time sorrow is not merely to work compassion in our heart, but rather to show us that there is a God in heaven who cares, a God in heaven who knows, I want to remind you this morning, widows of Calvary, Jesus know all about your sorrow, he’ll be there when the day is done, for there’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one.
When earth shatters your home and changes you form wife and mother to solitude and pain, God knows. When divorce separation or desertion sets in, and there is no one there to dry your tears, and the pain is more than you can explain to anyone. God knows. When you cry yourself to sleep at nights, because the void in your heart is so big it strives to suck you in, God knows, and he has a plan for it all. When you marriage is ugly, and your spouse is cold and insensitive, yet you must keep your secret and hide you pain. God knows
So there might be a famine in your life today, Not necessarily a famine of bread and a thirst for water; But there might be a famine in your heart. A famine of love, A famine of trust, A famine of sympathy, You might be longing for help and cant find it, You might be hoping and praying for sympathy and care, and you cant find any answer.
I want to recommend you to the God who is the controller of famines.
Look at what happens because of the famine.
Naomi decides to go home, and she sends her daughters in law back to there homes and Orpha kisses here and return home, but Ruth decides to stay, and Naomi, is troubled about the famine. She believes God has dealt hard with her, and she is not sure how to explain this God to her daughter in law, and she want to make shore the daughter in law is willing to trust this God she does not even understand and so she says.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
The Famine Led Ruth to Trust Yahweh:
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
The trial and tribulation did not cause Ruth to give up on God. Her faith had grown through her difficulties and her trials. Her faith was like pure God. She was the means that God would use to care for this old woman Naomi. She would not allow peer pressure. Or family pressure. Or discouraging words, to cause her to neglect her relationship with God.
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Now look here, Ruth had everything against her. She had been cradled in a heathen home and trained in the worship of immoral gods. How cheerless seemed the prospect of living an exile, and never setting eyes on home again. If she spoke Hebrew, it was no doubt stumblingly and with an accent; and in all the peculiarities of Hebrew life and usage which parted Bethlehem from Moab she would blunder often and have to make appeal for patience. Most of all in religion and its practices she was barely at the threshold, only she had a mind that took her past the threshold and prepared her for anything that might be involved in being Hebrew now and not Moabite. And that steady casting of her vote on the noble side secured her entrance, and in God mercy it secures and entrance still.
To those who are halting at the door, well inclined to Christ way and yet undecided, and to those within the door whose task it is to welcome and encourage, there is admonitions even in the minor detail of the story. It is fine to see how promptly Ruth was taken at here word, and not held in some middle stage of probation. In Israel the name Moabite was a grave burden of disadvantage, and odious tales were told of the origin of the tribes which spring from Lot. But nothing of this suspicion and dislike appears in the talk of the village gossips.
All the town knoweth that thou art a virtuous woman, was the report of her and to Naomi they said, Thy daughter in law, which loveth thee is better to thee than seven sons.
It is very pretty. In that jealously exclusive people she was not kept at arm’s length; and in their traditions she sits enthroned, though she was born an outcast beyond recovery. She is mother in Israel, Mother of David, mother of Jesus the Christ, so gloriously has she entered within the pale, because with heart and will she sought for it.
She meets Boaz.
Boaz was known throughout the whole district as a man of honor. Here was this African man, the son of an Egyptian woman. Here was this African man, son of Rahab. Strong as he was considerate, fit to rule others because he was able to control himself, No liquor or drugs found themselves in his body. A man to whom a defenseless woman might entrust herself without the slightest fear of his taking undue advantage of her.
Women were respected by Boaz. The boys and youth of Bethlehem looked up to Boaz as their model. His pure simple and beautiful life was the daily admiration and incentive of his fellow townsmen. Then according to God's divine plan, African man, meets African woman. She had come to the village with Naomi, and Boaz had heard the story.
You can image how it goes. Say Boaz, someone said, have you seen that dark skin, chocolate brown sister who came with Naomi from Moab, brother this is one woman you want to meet. Man her eyes are as bright as the sunshine. Her skin is as cool as the evening breeze. When she speaks there is music in her voice. Melody in her laughter. And brother, she carries herself like a lady. You got to meet this African sister. The anticipation in Boaz is building.
He is the choice pick of all the Israelite women. But non has caught his fancy yet. He loves his single status, but he was about to meet a woman, who would change all that.
When he see her, he calls her by her name. He had never met her before, but this magnificent beauty, seems like the person he has heard so much about. She answers to his call, and made touching obeisance and syllable out in broken Hebrew her gratitude;
Then it all hit him like an unexpected dream. It slapped him like an awakening to the reality of a dream coming true. He had his own mental picture of a woman far traveled. Despite what he has been told, any woman who had traveled in the hot son must look wear and tattered, but this woman was more than he had imagined. And to top it all off, she was full of loving-kindness and came and went on gracious errands;
She was agile, She was bright, And she swayed with grace when she moved.
As she stands before him, He thinks about all he has been told, repeating it to himself and he looks her over, as only a man awestruck by beauty can. Finally after his heart skips a beat or two, he musters enough energy to speak, It hath been full showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law, since the death of thy husband: and how thou hast left thy father and mother and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not before.
Gazing as he spoke and quietly investing her one by one with those virtues which he names out of his memory, he was allowing her to become before his eyes the living impersonations of a dream. His heart is held captive by this African beauty as she stands innocent and helpless before him, yet wielding the power, as only a beautiful woman can wield.
Boaz had long been thrifty of his love, but it looks as if all that is now over. Here was standing before him, was the ideal woman, and if he was not captivated, he would not have been a man.
As the reapers gather for their meal, he bids Ruth sit with them; and when the meal is over, he bids her instead of following the reapers afar off, gleam among the sheaves. Then he whispers to the reapers pull out a few ears from those they gather in their arms and let them fall where she will find them. Above all, he charges them: Don’t mess with her. Don’t jest or romp in their rude country fashion so as to cause her to blush.
And the following verses tells the story.
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
And David became the second King of Israel.
And God said David is a man after my own heart.
And it all began with a famine.
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
But I am here to tell you this morning, that God is the God of the famine.
So if the famine Is in your life, I give you Jesus.
Black women in the bible.