Honoring women

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


Ruth, Rahab, Deborah, Jael, Esther, Abigail … We have a tendency to think of these women of the Bible as exceptions to the rule. They are not. Many of you might have a wife like mine who is actually a composite of all of them. She is loyal like Ruth, cunning like Rahab, wise like Deborah, opportunistic like Jael, influential like Esther, but I would say that she is mostly like Abigail. 

Abigail was a woman of God who was married to a foolish man, Nabal, whose name actually means “fool.” Nabal made the mistake of insulting David when he was traveling about with a band of warriors. As a small and efficient army, David and his men had watched over and protected Nabal’s servants who were out in the field shearing sheep — a major enterprise because Nabal had 4,000 sheep and goats. As a return for the favor, David had asked Nabal if, as was the custom, he and his men might share in the celebration feast that always followed the completion of the shearing season. When Nabal refused and threw insults back at David, David strapped on his sword and took 400 of his men with him bent on not leaving one male alive in Nabal’s household. “Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall” (1 Samuel 25:21-22 KJV).

Needless to say, David was upset. Now Abigail knew nothing of this until one of the servants came and told her that Nabal had insulted David, and that he and 400 men were on the way to her house, and it was not going to be pretty. So acting quickly and without Nabal’s knowledge, she loaded up donkeys with loaves of bread, wine, slaughtered sheep, raisins and fig cakes and went out to meet David with what he had requested. And when she did, she got off her donkey, bowed low, and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests” (24-25).

And then, at great risk, she proceeded to tell him three things, all of which took a good deal of courage. First, she told him not to waste his time taking vengeance on a fool. You are here to fight the Lord ’s battles and this is not one of them. Secondly, when you are the leader of Israel, you won’t want to have this needless bloodshed on your hands. And finally, though she didn’t say these actual words, it was the real intent behind everything she said: Remember who you are, David.

Fortunately, David did, and praised God for Abigail. “Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands.” (31) 

When Abigail returned home and told Nabal all that had happened and he realized how close he had come to losing everything, he had a stroke, and ten days later, he died.

Any man who has a woman who will remind him of who he is in Christ, and insist on taking the high road in all his dealings, is blessed, indeed. I am fortunate to be such a man.

Men of the Catch, I write this so that you might see the value of the women in your lives and give them proper honor.

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,

    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:30-31)

This entry was posted in Beauty, relationships, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Honoring women

  1. I have to admit, John…
    Over the last few years I began wondering if you were a little bit prejudiced against women or maybe slightly afraid of them.
    Apart from frequent mentions of Marti (and her work with abused women), and last weeks tribute to Roberta Stephens, and the occasional Catch about biblical heroes such as Rahab (and, today, Abigail), it didn’t seem as if you paid equitable attention to women as much as you have for your beloved Angels, sports idols, and other icons (living or dead).

    Thank you, though, for publicly acknowledging the necessity and blessings that women provide not only to men’s and children’s lives but also for their wisdom, peace, joy, and contentment they offer to the entire world.
    Now, if only us idiot guys would truly honor, love, listen to, and work with them!

    So, that being said, I’d like to include a little “In Memoriam” to a few women who, though never(?) mentioned in the Catch, have contributed to the betterment of our global and personal lives.
    They’ve all died within the past five years and some may not fit the current “Christian ideal” but we are all nonetheless enriched in some way by their talents, genius, gifts, and contributions.
    This is obviously not an exhaustive list:

    Barbara Bush; Aretha Franklin; Doris Day; Jessye Norman;
    Diahann Carroll; Dorothy C. Fontana; Ruth Bader Ginsburg;
    Helen Reddy; Cicely Tyson; Betty White; Madeline Albright;
    Nichelle Nichols; Judith Durham; Olivia Newton-John.

    I would encourage anyone so inclined to add names to the list so we may respectfully honor their memory.
    Then, let us look at all the women presently in our lives and recognize that God has placed them there for a wise and loving purpose. And may we, men and women alike, with all sincerity say, “God bless the women!”

    Shalom, Peace…

  2. Toni Petrella says:

    Thanks again for such a great message about women. What is mentioned above really says it all. Tomorrow in the morning I look forward to seeing you and hearing you read this message. I always like to read it first. This is very special and hope millions realize the importance of women in the Bible.

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    Try Again

  4. peter leenheer says:

    Thank you john and Bob for your thoughts about women. personally I find that despite not wanting to, I am still tainted by the competitive thoughts between men and women that fly around the media in our culture. Despite the taint, I ask why in the world do we need competition? God made us to work together not to compete or even worse. Our egos, male and female, keep us ‘banging heads’ so to speak. If both sides soberly look at them selves and choose life paths that are ours and not necessarily stereo typical we may even inspire one another rather than cutthroat competition about who is better.

    God made us in His image. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, yet play different roles. The difference is that they don’t have their noses out of joint about whether one role is better than another..

    In the seventies Jane and I married, during a time when men were called chauvinist pigs and marriages were breaking up as a result of rigid male/female roles. I decided to ask my spouse to be, what role she wanted to play in our marriage. Even that question was considered by others as coming from a superior male perspective. Sort of like ‘letting’ her make her choice. All turned out well but there were bumps along the way. The key for me was, I needed to love her, period. After 50 years of marriage, I am still a work in progress. In retirement we have had many soul searching/ loving discussions about many topics and are now more in love that ever. God is good!

    In the 80’s the church I attended talked about male headship. Many men used that as an excuse to lord it over their wives. I noticed in Scripture that men are to be like Jesus who is head of the church. He gave his life for that church.. I didn’t notice a lot of men giving up ‘their life’ for their spouse or their marriage, yet maintained that headship at all cost.

    Today I work in Children’s Ministry in my church. All the leaders from the top down are women. I am the lone male bible story teller. Women rule over me. We, that is my immediate female leader and I had to work out the kinks. It was not about who was superior but how can we work together to glorify our Lord. She is 30 years old and I am 77. She also was a former Sunday School student of mine. We have a great relationship. We draw from each other’s strengths and readily confess our flaws. God showed me how to be humble in this matter.

    Jesus was born of a woman. In his entourage as he traipsed around the country he had many women of wealth and stature giving him their support.

    My musings here chronicle how far I have come since being a make chauvinist pig, but still being a work in progress.

    Men and women were made for each other by God. Men were made to need respect and women to be loved. Two different roles that is how it works. Love only works if each person gets the love they need. Men feel loved if they get respect, women feel loved by intimacy. Both are needed to make a marriage work.

    i am not sure if this is helpful or insightful but it seems that this needs to be shared. My prayer is that all that John, Bob and Toni have said will spur men and women to seek peace rather than lord it over motivated competition.

  5. peter leenheer says:

    Good comments Bob near Seattle. it has taken this idiot guy a long time to learn to work together with women. I work in children’s ministry in my church. Since the sex abuse scandals of the 80’s and 90’s at the elementary level men have not come back to teach young children. Fear of reprisals has kept them away. For many years i was the only guy. Yes I was ruled and am still ruled by women. They are just like men, some are kind loving and supportive but not push overs, others are my way or the highway.

    Basically, although there is much more to this, men need to be respected to feel loved and women need intimacy from their man to feel loved. This main guiding principle once adopted in my marriage has made me love JAne more than ever before.

  6. peter leenheer says:

    The first comment appeared to have disappeared in cyber space so I gave a shorter version of my thoughts. Now they are all there. It feels awkward to me, hope it is helpful to others.

    I always thought women got the short end of the stick for no apparent reason other than men found ways to think of themselves as superior. God made the woman for and out of the man. Wow, from within me comes what I need most, someone to love.
    why would i not try to do what God wants.

  7. jwfisch says:

    Thank you, Peter for sharing your important thoughts with us and the progression towards your conclusions. Women need respect, too. Marti calls it “Bringing respect back to women.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.