I sat in an old church last week that’s heard God read under its roof for more than a century and a wise woman, Trillia, opened her worn Word and she read in a low melodic lilt that stirred me wide awake because I don’t ever remember hearing these words ever.
“And I will bless her, [Sarai] and [moreover] give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Genesis 17:15–16).
God doesn’t only bless the man Abraham with a promise, God doesn’t only make a covenant with the man Abraham, God blesses the woman Sarai with a promise, He makes a covenant with the woman also, He makes a woman a mother of nations and says leaders will come from her.
And I stopped her and asked the woman where she was reading, and to read it again and she smiled a gap of knowledge wide and read it slow and clear so I wouldn’t miss what I’d missed countless times before:
There is a mother of nations, and she is ordained by God, and whole nations come from one woman too, and actual kings come from one actual woman too.
God’s story needed a mother of nations and there was no covenant without one woman named Sarah.
If Spurgeon said that “to believe God’s Word is the most reasonable thing we can do,” then only the most unreasonable would disregard how God’s Word highly regards women.
I open my Bible and I underline it right there in the Word of God: That nation of Israel did not descend from one man alone, from one sole patriarch, but the nation of Israel descended from a woman too, from a matriarch too, and the nation of Israel was born of two parents, Abraham and Sarah together, who raised more than a family, but they were leaders who together birthed a people, built a society, blessed the world with the Messiah.
There was a national mother and there was a covenant mother — and we direly need faith mothers and we direly need church mothers, and this is not about whether women should preach to men or have authority over men — this is ultimately about God clearly calling women to be co-labourers in the Kingdom, to preach the Gospel in everything they do, to be mothers of the faith — and if you send them home, how many will fail to ever find their way Home?
Whoever tells the church mothers to go home are homewreckers in our Father’s church.
As Spurgeon said, “It is no part of the business of Christ’s minsters to modify the truth which He has entrusted to them,” and open The Truth and Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail and Esther and Huldah are all noted in God’s Book as prophetesses. Sarah was the mother of nations, Deborah served the entire nation of Israel as a notably wise judge, (Jud. 4), and Esther prayed and fasted and risked her life to bravely come before the King of Persia to intercede to save the nation of Israel. (Est. 4-5).
If, like Spurgeon said, “The happiest of all Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but to take His Word simply as it stands,” then let all the church mothers stand happiest of all, taking their place in a long line of church mothers, taking God at His Word because His Word tells the story of women having spiritual giftings, given by God, to be part of God’s story in the world right now.
It is always a lie from the pit that tells you that your gifts aren’t good enough to be given.
What will keep too many from doing much good — is caring too much what others think.
When I track the footsteps of God through the Holy Land, I find myself looking at where the Temple stood — and seeing, right there, the tomb of Huldah.
Not the tomb of Jeremiah, not the tomb of Zephaniah, the only other two prophets to the nation of Israel living at the same time, but the tomb of the prophetess who even the King Himself sought out. No graves are even allowed in the Old City of Jerusalem — but the Tomb of Huldah, The Prophetess, right alongside the Tombs of the Kings of the Davidic Line, is so deeply revered, it’s never been disturbed.
A church mother may now rarely be mentioned even in passing, but God assured that even her passing is memorialized forever — at the holiest place on the planet.
Even when church mothers go home to their eternal rest, their story eternally strengthens the rest of the church.
Sure, there are some who wonder if King Josiah only sent his 5 top men to Huldah instead of Jeremiah, because they hoped that a female prophetess would give a softer, spineless, sanitized word from God.
But three times Huldah says, “Thus says the Lord,” because the woman doesn’t bandy about her own words — the woman speaks on behalf of God. Because she knows God’s Word.
The woman prophetess did not change the Word, or twist the Word, or minimize the Word, or water down the Word, but the woman of God served up the word of God fearlessly to the king of the nation of Israel, to guide the entire nation of Israel because the people God have always needed faith mothers.
And there are church mothers who stand with Martyn Lloyd-Jones imploring, “The church should always be under the Word — and should be always reforming herself according to it…” and who nod with the great theologian when Lloyd-Jones exhorts: “A particular verse must never be interpreted in such a way that it does not fit in to the whole body of truth.”
And God wanted the Word of Truth to record for all time the faithfulness of the women: Phoebe was a servant in the church, ministering right alongside Paul (Rom. 16:1-2), that Euodia and Syntyche were gospel co-laborers with Paul (Phil. 4:3), and Junia was an apostle, called out by Paul as outstanding among the apostles (Romans 16:7).
There are women who don’t have to go home, because they are already home in Christ, and know they are sent in countless ways so more will come Home.
There are women of faith who may be glossed over, but power-dulled minds can’t dim the brilliance of a woman’s Christ-infused life.
There’s no erasing a woman whose life tells a good story. There’s no erasing a woman whose life tells His story.
And? When I stood there in Old Jerusalem, before the Tomb of Huldah, The Prophetess, with more of His story burning in my bones, I thought of how two of the five gates you have to pass through on your way to the sacred Temple Mount itself are known as the Huldah Gates.
Gatekeepers may try to send women away, but God makes women a gateway for many on the way to finding the Way.
When I stood in that old church last week and heard from my friend, Trillia, from His Word how God made a woman a mother of nations, a partner of the covenant, a prophetess of His Word, it’s like you could feel hope birthing…
When a woman know she’s called, no one gets to call her anything that matters more than Him calling her His.