This week in the Biblical Portrait of Women class, we looked at three women created to be image bearers of God. None of them were perfect, but each, through their determination to put their trust in God, taught us something about the nature of our Creator.
After the fall of mankind in the garden, God presented Eve with the consequences of her sin along with a promise. She will be the bearer of life, but it will come at the cost of much pain. Ultimately, the life she brings forth will give birth to a descendant who will crush evil and set the world right again. Possibly in her eagerness to undo the mess she’d made, she initially puts her faith in her own ability to fix things and sets all her hope on her first-born son. When that plan falls to pieces, she turns her faith to God in the birth of Seth. The Bible tells us that through his line, man begins to worship God.
Further down the family line in the march toward the promised seed we find Rahab. A foreigner and a prostitute, it seems very unlikely God would include her in the bloodline of the Savior. Even more unlikely, she is an image bearer of God Almighty. Rahab demonstrates great courage in her choice to follow the one true God. Her actions reflect the image of her Creator as a Protector and Promise Keeper when she risks her own life to save the spies and all the members of her family.
A few generations after Rahab comes Ruth. Also a foreigner, Ruth places her faith in the God of Israel as well. She displays God’s hesed in the way she cares for her mother-in-law, putting Naomi’s needs above her own. The Hebrew term hesed is a term for unwavering commitment, often appearing as “lovingkindness,” “steadfast love,” or “mercy” throughout the Old Testament. We see it in the description God gives himself in Deuteronomy 7: 9: “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.”
God used these three very different and imperfect women to portray his image to their communities and families. We are privileged to do the same.