Behind every man…
Pastor Joshin John Houston
“Behind every great man is a great woman” is an idiomatic expression observing the reality that no man gets to be who they are in a vacuum, but some woman had a role to play in that man’s life. It need not always be the mother or the wife who may have influenced a man. In the Word of God, we see instances wherein women given to prayer and holy living making an indelible impact in time and history. Deborah the prophetess in the Old Testament and Anna the prophetess in the New Testament played significant roles in making an influence in their times.
Deborah received from God what she delivered to Barak, instructing him to fight the prevailing forces who robbed the people of what they possessed (Judges 4:3; 5:6). When Barak chose to play the second fiddle to Deborah, the nailing down of the enemy came through the hands of another woman Jael, according to God’s design. For Barak to lead the army, he had the support of a prophetess who instructed according to God’s direction (Judges 4:14; 5:2, 9). When Barak went up trusting in the word spoken to him, then Sisera also gathered his forces (Judges 4:10-13). When Barak took the next step to attack the oppressive powers, then God routed the enemies (Judges 4:14-15). When we follow God’s directions with the first act of obedience, then God will cause the next step to be revealed; and our unrelenting obedience is the way to continued victory. Interestingly, when Barak took the lead, then Deborah accompanied him (and not lead) to the Mount from where the battle was launched (Judges 4:10). Women have a significant role to play in pushing and prodding the men in their lives to move forward boldly according to God’s directions even in the midst of oppositions. Their words of encouragement or the lapse thereof, can make or break the cause of a nation itself!
Anna spent a good portion of her life in fasting and prayers (Luke 2:37). The close communion she had with the Lord God of her life made her cognizant of the time – when to come into the temple courts to identify the express image of God whom she has been serving for years (Hebrews 1:3). Hundreds of pious as well as the thieving minds throng the courts of the Temple. At such an occasion, to come in and intercept and identify someone, whom she has never met prior requires a consciousness beyond human comprehension. It had to do with an awareness received from God. The years spent in prayerful commitment to God have attuned her to recognize who is Jesus, just as a mother can recognize the face and the voice of her son from far-off. Identifying the Savior then gave way to Glorifying God, which in turn was followed by Declaring Him to others. Why did she give thanks? Thankfulness, amongst other definitions, is a natural expression because of receiving something towards which one waited earnestly. Anna was praying for something, or rather Someone – a Redeemer! Even before God the Father declared Jesus as His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17); and even before the great introduction given by John the Baptist concerning Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29); there came the introduction of The Redeemer, given by a praying woman, to those who were looking towards redemption. Her declaration deposited the initial seeds of the Gospel, much long before the first Gospel message in the New Testament was preached. Anna, in all possibility, might not have lived another 33 years to witness the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But she recognized and received Jesus as the Redeemer. A praying woman not only received what she prayed for, but also paved the path for the Redeemer into the hearts of her listeners.
Let us encourage the holy women in our lives – to follow Godly direction, to prompt others to live in godliness, to give themselves to prayer, to be submissive to their husbands, and to declare Jesus to others.