Living in a predominantly patriarchal world, at times women seem to be an addendum to men. Recently, we celebrated Mother’s Day, and most of us would have tried our best to make the day really special for our mums. But how often do we reflect upon the role of women in society and how we treat them?
Often, as men, we subordinate women to supporting roles. Recently, during this year’s Mother’s Day, Dr Steve Ogan shared in Grace Convention Center about the role of women and mothers in spiritual battles.
The Role of Women in God’s Battles
Dr Steve opened his message by sharing a passage from the Book of Joshua. In Joshua Chapter 7 we learn of the failure of the Israelites in the Battle of Ai. A total of 36 Israelites were killed in the first battle against Ai. The people of Ai chased them from the city to the stone quarries located some distance from the city gates and struck them down there.
Yet, just a chapter before, we also read about the Israelites’ tremendous victory against the city of Jericho. What was so different this time round? Dr Steve imparted that this passage illustrates a central fact that we often forget. There cannot be men without women and mothers. In the same way the participation of women are crucial to the battles fought by God’s people. ‘The roles of women in battles are extremely important. In Jericho, the women were involved in the battle.’ The men of Israel fought against Ai alone and they lost badly.
One woman that stood out at Jericho was Rahab. Rahab was a courtesan but what made her remarkable was her courage and faithfulness. She risked her life to provide Joshua and his companions a safe passage into Jericho. When the soldiers interrogated her about Joshua, she kept her faith by keeping her promise of silence. Instead she hid them.
Rahab’s role made it possible for Joshua to gather information about the city’s military strength which was vital to its defeat. God employed her as a gateway to the city. And during the day of the battle, the women participated in the march around the city and the shout that brought its walls down (Joshua 6:16-20).
‘Do mothers/women have a role in God’s battles? Mothers like Rahab are not just gates in God’s battles, they’re gateways to life itself,’ Dr Steve shared. Yet, in many cultures and throughout history, women have been subjected to biased treatment. Even many of our Church fathers and reformers like Philo, Origen and Martin Luther were guilty of this. In many cultures, women are considered weak and worrisome but in God women have a voice. Dr Steve conveyed that we need to look at women the way God designed them.
How God Designed Women
There are 3 things about women, and above all, mothers, which make them unique and important in God’s overall design. The first of these is the womb and the role of women as gateways to life. Notice how Adam called Eve in Genesis 2:23; “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”. Of all the creations of God, Adam recognized that only Eve was equal to him for she had the ability to bring forth life for mankind.
Everyone who has ever existed, including each one of God’s warriors, came from a woman’s womb. No one on this Earth can claim that we came here through spontaneous birth. Each of us had to be germinated in a woman’s womb, and our first nurturers are often our mothers. God designed women to be carriers of altars of life.
One of the greatest attacks of our spiritual enemy against God and His people are the prevalence of abortion today, Dr Steve communicated. God designed wombs to be altars of life. What abortion does is it turns altars of life into altars of death. There are serious consequences to the legalization of abortion. In some parts of the world today, fetuses have even become ingredients for cosmetics and delicacies.
God wants to sanctify our altars of life, he imparted. The womb is the place of formation and growth. It is also the place where pain turns into joy, and women have been given the roles by God to be its carriers. We must respect our women and the sanctity of these altars of life.
The second of these are the tears of a crying woman for their families and nations. Women have also been specially designed by God to possess a heart of empathy and compassion. Dr Steve shared that so often he has learned from his wife and from the examples of women, of being touched by the things that touches the heart of God and being broken by the things that breaks God’s heart.
‘As men, we must learn from their examples,’ he conveyed. ‘Crying may be for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). God is raising up a generation of criers for nations just as He did in the days of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 9:17-21). Learn to cry tears of intercession for our families and our nations and for the problems of the world,’ he exhorted.
Thirdly, do not look down upon the ministry of the kitchen. Food is important to the soul. It nourishes and strengthens both the physical and spiritual body. It keeps the mind fresh and alert. Food is one of the most important aspects of life and it is what keeps people going. What brought the Prodigal Son into his senses was his stomach; he knew he was in desperate straits due to his starvation.
‘Women, turn your kitchens into an altar for the Lord,’ Dr Steve encouraged. ‘Pray for your families as you prepare the food for them. Remember the nations and the poor each time you cut your vegetables and your meat. Pray for them.’ The kitchen can also be turned into an altar for spiritual warfare. Jael defeated the enemy general Sisera by first giving him a dish of milk.
Women are unique in that they have the ability to turn weakness into strength and places of hurt into places of healing. Another example in the Bible that illustrates this is that of Deborah. In Hebrew, her name translates as bee. ‘Bees have stings but they also produce sweetness,’ Dr Steve conveyed. Deborah was capable of being a general and a warrior and leading from the front when she needed to, but as a wife and mother, she also knew the strength of humility and respect for her husband
Deborah knew of her significance in God’s design for her and she had the confidence to honour God in it. Dr Steve also shared the testimonies of remarkable women who were mothers such as Rosa Parks, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Chung Syn Yang. ‘Women, you can be anything that God wants you to be. God is raising a generation of mothers who will be at the forefront of the spiritual battles for nations,’ he communicated.
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– Jason Law