February 22

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

“I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” vs. 16

Judaism was for the most part a patriarchal system. Men ruled their families and called the shots–faithful men would pray each day, “Thank God that I was not born a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.” When Jesus began his ministry he intentionally ruptured that system–he proclaimed liberty for the oppressed and brought healing to Gentiles, slaves, and women. The Apostle Paul makes it clear: in Christ there is no distinction between Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, men or women. But still as the Church developed those old patriarchal habits found their way in the traditions and the regulations–women were expected to stay in their place (wherever that was) while men ran things. It took centuries for that pattern to be broken–seldom was it recognized that in the beginning God’s promises were for both men and women. Sarah received exactly the same blessing as did Abraham–the wording is identical–our faith has its foundation in both a patriarch and a matriarch. We’re beginning to reap the benefits of that blessing now as both men and women are being set free to use all of their gifts for the glory of God and for the proclamation of the gospel. Thank God for those faithful women who refused to be bound by traditions, and were bold enough to overcome the barriers to ministry that men had placed in their ways.

Thought for the Day: How have women shaped my faith?

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