Some say experience is the best teacher. I like to say that other people’s experience is the best teacher! Whether we’re watching someone’s life play out on the news or on a television show, we have ample opportunity to learn what to do and what not to do. But as Christ followers, we know the best tool for learning is always God’s Word. So, which women in the Bible should we copy? And which should we, well, learn from?
If you know who Jezebel is, you know she’s not someone to emulate (you can read about her in the Bible in the book of 1 Kings). But there are other women in the Bible such as Ruth, Jesus’ mother Mary, and Deborah the judge, who show us women with deep character and even a bit of gumption. I’d like to share a little about four other lesser-known women in the Bible. Two tell us what to do, and two tell us what not to do.
Two women in the Bible to copy.
- Jochebed: Her name may be unfamiliar to you, but you won’t forget what she did. When all of the Hebrew sons in Egypt were condemned to die, her motherly love compelled her to hide her newborn and eventually place him in a basket in the Nile river. She had her daughter keep a close eye on him. She allowed her son, who became known as Moses, to be adopted by an Egyptian princess who saw him floating by in the river. Because of her instinct to preserve her son’s life even if it meant giving him up, she gave him a full life. And her son led the entire Hebrew nation out of slavery and into the Promised Land! What choices are we making that will leave a legacy? Are we content knowing that we may only play a small part in God’s greater plan? (Exodus 2:1-9)
- Dorcas: Dorcas was also known as Tabitha. But whatever you call her, she was a wonderful role model. The Bible says she was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. In fact, she lived such a generous life, that when she died, the people of her town begged the apostle Peter to come and pray over her. So, Peter did. And Tabitha was raised to life! What do people say you always do? Are you living a life that’s making a difference in your family and your community? (Acts 9:36-43)
Two women in the Bible to learn from.
- Potiphar’s Wife: There are many names I could use to refer to her, but let me just say she was a self-absorbed, manipulative liar. She wanted someone who was not hers and was not within her reach, so she played the victim. And because of that, Joseph, God’s chosen man to save the Hebrews from famine, was thrown into prison. When life doesn’t pan out the way we think it should, do we resort to manipulation to get our way? Are we asking God to reveal the ugly parts of our character so that we can improve? (Genesis 39:6-20)
- Lot’s Wife: The city of Sodom was corrupt, but it was the place this woman of the Bible called home. Angels came to warn Lot and his family of Sodom’s impending destruction, so they were told to flee from the city. The directive was that they were not to look back. Period. It can be tempting to turn back to people, places, habits, or things God’s asked us to run from. But it’s not good for us. In the case of Lot’s wife, it was fatal. She couldn’t resist looking back, and she immediately was turned into a pillar of salt. What part of our lives are we looking back on wishing they were still our current reality? Are we pressing into today and asking God to use us in the here and now? (Genesis 19:15-26)
I’d like to tell you that the insights I’ve shared from these women’s lives will prevent you from making future mistakes. Sadly, that is just not true. You and I are human. We’ll make mistakes and choices that are far from God’s best. At the same time, I believe that being aware will prevent us from falling as often. Regardless of your choices, what you do is not who you are. Your mistakes and pitfalls don’t define you. Your God does. And He calls you His daughter.