Editor’s Note: AMI Quiet Times from May 1-10 are written by Dr. Ryun Chang, Teaching Pastor of AMI.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Jn. 8:32 (NIV): “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
2 Sam. 11:4-5 (NIV): “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.  The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’”
Is Bathsheba getting a free ride here? Isn’t this the reversal of situation in John 8 in which the Pharisees condemned only the woman caught in the act of adultery? Yes, Bathsheba certainly participated in the adulterous affair; however, women in those days didn’t possess the power to stand up to men, much less a king.
For feminists, Queen Vashti, not Esther, would be their hero. When her husband Xerxes, King of Persia, called upon Vashti to stand before the nobles to “display her beauty” (Est. 1:11), she “refused to come.” For that, Vashti was banished for life. Not much had changed five hundred years later in the Roman Empire where women remained a disposable property of men. The Jews weren’t all that better: the House of Hillel, a leading school of Jewish thought, even allowed divorce over burnt meal.
Some who don’t care for the Christian faith see the Bible as endorsing anti-woman culture of the past and present. A pamphlet by Atheist United reads, “As long as women regard the Bible as the charter of their rights, they will be the slaves of man.” But, Rodney Stark, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University, in his 1996 book entitled, The Rise of Christianity, declared, “They are all wrong.” Noting that most Christians in the Roman Empire were women, he commented that it had a lot to do church “promot[ing] liberating social relations between the sexes and within the family, giving women more status than they enjoyed in Roman society.”
But in the antiquity, women weren’t treated with the kind of respect that God would later tell the husbands to bestow on their wives (1 Pet. 3:7). So, on that fateful night, King David, blatantly disregarding Bathsheba’s marital vow, was the aggressor and “guilty of a greater sin” (Jn. 19:11; Lk. 12:47-8).
Many things in Western society have changed for the better, including the treatment of women, thanks in large part to the liberating influences that were set in motion by the Gospel in the 1st century. Now women, mindful of their intrinsic value before their Creator and under protective laws, can tell a powerful individual like David to stop and fully expect his compliance.
Of course, our world is far from being perfect and many terrible things still happen to women; nonetheless, they don’t always have to fight for opportunity; they just need to seize it. This is especially true in God’s work because women are needed now than ever before to serve on the mission field, teach Scripture and even pastor churches (welcome to Latin America)! Look no further than Miriam, Esther, Deborah, Aquila (Acts 18:26), Huldah (2 Chron. 34:22) and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9) for inspiration. Reflect on how you can be useful for God’s purpose—consider encouraging a wearied soul today with timely words from God’s word.
Prayer (of Miriam in Ex. 15): “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.”
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 3