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Women For God

There are two women in the Old Testament with the same name and very helpful lessons can be gleaned from their lives. In Genesis 35.8 we read of Deborah the nurse, and in Judges 4.4 we are told of Deborah the prophetess. The name Deborah means "a bee", and both of these women were industrious like the busy bee. Much blessing comes to mankind through the activity of the bee as it gathers nectar from flower to flower, and at the same time carries on the valuable work of pollination. The bee not only provides for itself, but also for others. This was true of Deborah the nursemaid. We first read about her in the beautiful story of Isaac and Rebekah. Eleazar was sent by Abraham to Mesopotamia to find a bride for Isaac, and he came back with Rebekah and her nurse (Genesis 24.59). It was customary in those days for the nurse to care for babies in all the ways of motherhood. When Rebekah's children arrived Deborah, no doubt, would still carry on her nursing care, and later she became linked with the household of Jacob. She must have been a woman greatly beloved, for when she died it was a great grief to Jacob and his children. "And Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-Bacuth (the oak of weeping)" (Genesis 35.8).

It is a good thing to be missed for our faithful service. Tears were shed for Deborah, and they were also shed for a good woman of the New Testament, Dorcas. "This woman was full of almsdeeds which she did" (Acts 9.36). When she died the widows at Lydda wept, and showed the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. There is a great need in the churches of God today for practical, godly women like Dorcas, and spiritual Deborahs, who are able to care for young sisters; who can also feed them with the sincere milk of the word. There is always a place for wise women who are able to give good counsel from the Scriptures. The apostle Paul exhorts aged women to be "teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children..." (Titus 2.3,4). A woman's place of service is not that of the man's; it is not a public one: "Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection... ", was Paul's injunction (1 Corinthians 14.34). He further emphasized this aspect of God's will for the churches when writing the following to Timothy: "Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness" (I Timothy 2.11,12). Subjection is not inferiority, and every assembly needs women who are Holy Spirit-taught, so that in personal work they might be a help and a blessing to others. In the days of the early churches a wonderful work for the Lord was performed in homes by godly women. Priscilla is a good example of this, for she and her husband, Aquila, took into their home a certain Jew named Apollos, and expounded unto him the way of God more carefully. This man, who was eloquent, and mighty in the Scriptures, saw the truth of God's house and was linked with the church at Corinth (Acts 19.1). It seems clear, too, that the daughters of Philip the evangelist did their prophesying in the home (Acts 21.8,9), and not in the church.

The Apostle Paul wrote of women who "laboured with me in the gospel" (Philippians 4.3), we are also told of certain women which ministered unto the Lord of their substance (Luke 8.1-3). May God raise up some of like character in the churches of God today!