Women are powerful! But the kind of power and influence women have depends on what has happened inside their hearts.
I want to talk to you about three famous women from the Old Testament. They were women who had struggles just like we do today. But because they let God do a work in their hearts, they became great, positive influences.
The Woman With No Name
The first woman is Noah’s wife. Most people know about Noah — we know what Noah did and that he had a wife — but we are never told his wife’s name. So we’ll call her “the woman with no name.”
We know from Genesis 6:5-8 that Noah’s family lived at a time when the entire earth was corrupt. Mankind had become so evil that God decided to destroy mankind with a flood. When God looked at the entire planet, only Noah’s family was righteous. Imagine the pressure that had been on that family as they lived righteously in the middle of a corrupt world.
But Noah and his wife were in such unity that even though the entire world was against them, they were able to hold their family together. They taught their sons and their sons’ wives to walk with God, even though there was pressure against them. For years they obeyed God. They supported Noah. They built the Ark — against mocking laughter, against pressure — no doubt believing for the finances to get all the supplies they needed. The truth is, if Noah and his wife ever fought during that time, the Bible doesn’t tell us about it. That is amazing!
When you come to Genesis 7:7, the Bible says, “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”
Then Genesis 8:16 tells us that when the Flood was finished, God said, “Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” Just like they all went into the Ark, they all came out of the Ark.
Have you ever thought about what the world looked like when they came out of the Ark? When they went in, the earth was beautiful — there was vegetation, trees, and lots of wildlife. But when they came out, the world had been under water for nearly a year. It was probably not a beautiful sight. It would have been a moment for Noah’s wife to really complain, but there is not a single record that she ever did.
Then Noah, not by himself but with his wife at his side, began to rebuild the world. They became the progenitors of the earth’s current population.
Even though we don’t know the name of Noah’s wife, there is a lot to learn from the example of this nameless woman. Because she was supportive, she enabled her husband to fulfill his call. And all of us are affected because of it.
Thank God for that nameless woman and her powerful influence!
The Griper Who Turned Into a Princess
The second woman is Sarah. We’ll call her “the griper who turned into a princess,” and you’ll see why in the following statements.
We know a lot about Abraham and Sarah before they came to God. His name was Abram and her name was Sarai. We know that even before he met God, Abram was very rich. They lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. They had no children, and they lived a life of luxury.
Then one day, Abram encountered God, and it changed his heart. He came home a different man. Abram met God, but at home, he had a wife who did not meet God. We could say that although they were married, in one moment — instantly — they had become unequally yoked.
This often happens today as well. When one spouse comes to Christ and the other spouse does not, it changes the context of their relationship.
But Abram had heard from God. Genesis 12:1 tells us, “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”
So Abram says to Sarai, “We’re going to leave this place. Sweetheart, you’re leaving your ‘palace.’ You’re leaving your comfortable surroundings. And we’re going to start on a journey of faith.”
It is very important to know that at that time, the name “Sarai” meant complainer or griper. It describes a very, very unpleasant person. She was like a nightmare for any husband. That was her character before she met God and before she was changed. Though she was outwardly beautiful — and she was beautiful — inwardly, she was a very unpleasant person.
Genesis 12:5, it says, “Abraham took Sarai his wife….”
That’s very interesting — it doesn’t say she accompanied him. It says he “took her.” This means she may not have been very excited or even willing. But he said, “You’re coming with me. Come on, we’re going.”
The truth is, Abram was also a pretty difficult person. Maybe he was hard to follow, and maybe Sarai was being difficult because she had seen him do so many crazy things in his past. I can’t imagine what kind of mistakes he made before he came to God, because he still made mistakes after he came to God.
For example, he committed adultery. He slept with Hagar. He asked Sarai to sleep with the king of Egypt. What kind of man would ask his wife to sleep with somebody else? He went to Egypt instead of to the Land of Promise.
Actually, Abram’s mistakes went on and on and on and on and on — until, finally, in Genesis 17:1 God said to him, “…I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
It literally meant, “End of your mistakes. I want you to obey Me.”
So it may have been very difficult for Sarai to follow Abram. She had seen him make all those mistakes. But we also know, because of her name, that Sarai was hard to get along with. She was a fighter — difficult every step of the way.
But then she had an encounter with God. And when she had an encounter with God, He changed her name from Sarai to Sarah, which means princess. God took a difficult woman and said, “From this moment forward, you are a princess.” She had an encounter that changed her heart and changed her behavior.
And over the next years, the Bible tells us she learned to support Abraham (his name was also changed) and submit to him. In fact, the Bible even tells us in First Peter 3:6 that she learned to call Abraham, “Lord.”
I’m sure that submitting to Abraham was not easy, but that’s what God asked Sarah to do. And I’m sure that leading Sarah was not easy either. But together, these two people, who began as very difficult, became a prince and a princess. They became the mother and the father of faith. I think it gives hope to all of us.
This is a powerful story of a man who grew in God, of a wife who grew in God, and together they changed history. Sarah was truly transformed. She put aside bitterness. She put aside complaining. And she became Abraham’s princess. That is amazing to me.
The Mother of King Solomon
Let’s go to example number three of a woman whose life was transformed by God: Bathsheba — the adulteress who became the mother of King Solomon.
Because of the Old Testament, we know a lot about Bathsheba. She was married to a man named Uriah. He was a good man. In fact, he was such a good man, he was one of David’s 30 mighty men.
But during the time of war, her husband Uriah went to the front to fight. Then Second Samuel 11:2 tells us David saw Bathsheba in the afternoon bathing on her roof.
Now, people usually say, “David was so bad,” but many scholars agree she was trying to seduce David. Bathsheba took the bath at the very moment when she knew he would be watching.
So there is a hint in Scripture — even though she was married to a good, reputable man — Bathsheba was really not the best woman. She had issues as well.
You might say, “I don’t believe that.” Well, whether it’s true or not, David saw her, called for her, and she agreed to come. David did not commit this sin by himself. She was very much a participant. Bathsheba could have said, “No. How dare you insult my husband!” But she said, “Yes,” and went to David.
When Uriah was later killed, they thought their sin was covered up. They had covered it. They had hidden it. But then, the prophet Nathan came and confronted David about his sin — about his adultery and the murder of Uriah. And David responded. He repented.
In fact, that’s where we get Psalm 51, which is David’s prayer of repentance after being confronted by the prophet Nathan. Because David responded correctly to the dealings of God, he was forgiven. And listen to this — his sin was covered! No one would have ever known if David hadn’t told about it. And this is why David wrote in Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” He understood the power of God’s forgiveness. He stayed on the throne because his attitude of repentance was correct.
But Bathsheba was pregnant. They produced a child and the child died. The Bible tells us that when the child died, Bathsheba fell into a state of brokenness and depression.
Second Samuel 12:24 tells us, David comforted Bathsheba. Their baby had died, but not long after that, she became pregnant with another baby — a baby which came after repentance. And that baby was named Solomon. Isn’t that amazing?
Even if you make a mistake, if you will repent, God can do something great. Although they started in adultery and in murder, after they repented, David was restored, Bathsheba was restored, and Bathsheba became the mother of Solomon — the world’s most famous king! She became one of the greatest mother influencers in all of history.
It is Bathsheba who wrote Proverbs 31, where the Bible tells us about being a godly mother and a godly wife. Bathsheba became the model for all godly wives for all of history. That is amazing to me.
Bathsheba is the story of a woman who started wrong but ended right. My friend, the important thing is how you end. Women like Bathsheba who have committed adultery but allow God to touch their hearts and change them, can be forgiven, restored, and blessed just like she was.
So today, we’ve looked at the example of three women.
Maybe you’re like Noah’s wife — or you know someone like this — a woman with no name who changed history. Even if you feel nameless, you have great, great power in your sphere of influence, so keep your heart and your attitudes right. Maybe you’re like Sarah — you started out a little difficult to get along with, but God wants to make you into a princess. Or maybe you’re like Bathsheba — you started wrong, but with God’s grace, you can finish right.
We’ve looked at three famous women from the Old Testament. And guess what? The grace that touched them is the same grace that will touch you — and make you an influencer, make you a princess, and help you to finish right.
God’s power is present to do that in your life if you will yield to Him and allow that power to work in you.
— A Message from Rick Renner