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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

God-called Women Prophets (2 Kings 22:14)

"Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asiah went to speak to the prophetess Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harnas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second district."

Nine prophetesses are listed in the Bible: Miriam, Deborah, Noadiah, Isaiah's wife, Huldah, Anna, and Philip's four daughters. As a new believer I often heard that God only uses women when men aren't available. Bible literacy cured me of that false belief.
  • Miriam served alongside her two brothers, Moses and Aaron. She led Israel's women (Exodus 15:20).
  • Deborah prophesied during the Judges period - so, yeah, maybe there was a male leadership vacuum (Judges 4:4).
  • Noadiah prophesied falsely during the Babyonian captivity (Nehemiah 6:14).
  • Isaiah referred to his wife as a prophetess (Isaiah 8:3).
  • Huldah prophesied during King Josiah's reign (2 Kings 22:14ff).
  • Anna prophesied in the Jerusalem temple during Israel's "silent years". She rejoiced to see Jesus' day and "spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:36-38).
  • Philip the Evangelist had four daughters who prophesied during the early church period (Acts 21:9).
Back to Huldah the prophetess. We know very little about her:
  • She was married to the keeper of the wardrobe which means she was probably married to a Levite (2 Kings 22:14).
  • She was respected by the high priest, Hilkiah and by the men of the city who sought her out to hear from the LORD God of Israel (2 Kings 22:14).
  • She knew the Book of the Law, "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants--all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read--" (2 Kings 22:16).
  • She spoke with authority, "Thus says the LORD" 3x (2 Kings 22:15-16, 18).
  • The priest and the King respected her and received the LORD's word through her (2 Kings 22:18, 20).
  • She did not fear man (priest or King) and delivered a message of judgment (2 Kings 22:18) and hope (verse 18-20).
The layout of the Chronological Bible makes it clear that Jeremiah was Huldah's younger contemporary in Jerusalem, proving again that God sometimes uses women just because He wants to. (Zephaniah and probably Nahum also prophesied during this period in Israel's history.) 

Through Huldah we see that God uses women who understand and practice Biblical submission, who know the Word of God, whose fear of God overcomes the fear of man and who deliver faithfully the Word of God. And, from Huldah we learn that women who know God and His Word influence kings, priests, and entire populations.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Jeremiah 16:1-17:27
  • What does the LORD use both feasting and funerals to teach?
  • What analogies does the LORD use to describe his coming judgment?
  • What does this tell you about Israel's sin?
  • In chapter 17, the LORD offers both a cursing and a blessing. He uses two analogies to describe the cursing and the blessing. What reason does the LORD give for the cursing and the blessing?
  • What does this tell you about what the LORD desires from His people?
  • Why does the LORD have Jeremiah prophesy against the gates of Jerusalem?
2 Kings 22:3-20; 2 Chronicles 34:8-33
  • What does Hilkiah find in the temple (hidden in plain sight)?
  • What does this tell you about the Book of the Law? the priesthood?
  • How does hearing the Book of the Law being read affect Hilkiah and King Josiah?
  • What is the origin of faith (Romans 10:17)?
  • Why is knowing the Word of God a vital part of being spiritually sensitive?
  • How would you describe Bible literacy in your church today?
  • George Barna says that less than one-half of one percent of adults between 18-23 years old have a Biblical worldview ( Could it be that the Book of the Law is hidden in plain sight in our day?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the LORD for calling and using women in places of spiritual leadership.