Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Huldah and the Quest for Validation

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy of: Bethany Laird

“Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.” So Hilkiah and those the king had appointed went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke to her to that effect. Then she answered them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel,” ~2 Chronicles 34:21-23a

For centuries the pagan myths and stereotypes of patriarchy have seeped into the church, blurring our understanding of biblical womanhood and misconstruing whole passages of Scripture. For years, women have been made to believe that for them to teach men theology is for them to intentionally be in direct contradiction to God, His design, and His Word.

But this is simply not true. Throughout the Bible, we see instances of women being used by God to spread His truth - to men and women alike (we are not debating today whether or not women can serve as pastors; we are instead answering the question of whether or not it is ok for a woman to teach a man).  One such example of this - a truly fascinating one at that! - is the story of Huldah the prophetess. 

You can read her story in its entirety in both 2 Kings 22 as well as 2 Chronicles 34. Suffice it to say here, however, that she was powerfully used of God to teach right theology to the men who came to her for guidance and wisdom.

We read in both of the chapters referenced above that Hilkiah the High Priest had found the long-since-lost Book of the Law (which scholars believe to have actually been the book of Deuteronomy). Shaphan, his scribe, proceeded to read it aloud before the King. The King, however, was having trouble interpreting it, so he asked his men (a group of five most noteworthy men including Hilkiah, the High Priest; Ahikam, the father of the future governor; Achbor, the son of a prophet; Shaphan, the secretary of state; and Asaiah, the king’s officer) to go "inquire of the Lord" for him and for all of Judah, so that they might better understand the words contained in the book, as well as ascertain God's future plans for Judah. Hilkiah and his men did so, intentionally choosing to see Huldah the prophetess (even though the well-known prophet Jeremiah was also prophesying at this same exact point in history). This woman, Huldah, not only clearly went on to faithfully teach the men what was contained in the Book of the Law, but she even went so far as to prophesy about the future and what God would do to the people of Judah. God used this woman and spoke through her to the men. Interesting, isn't it?

Many Christian women today are on the search for validation. They have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to the Bible’s supposed patriarchal nature and teachings, when in reality, God’s design is something far more freeing and more beautiful than many realize. Many women are searching for their place in the church, wondering how they can and should serve the Lord. They are being bombarded on a daily basis by differing voices of all kinds. 

Regardless of where one lands on the topic of whether or not women should, for example, be senior pastors of churches, the Bible is abundantly clear on this: women and men were both created to be partners in this life, to be Great Commission workers and ambassadors of Christ, to be image bearers of God, and to be faithful proclaimers of God’s truth wherever and whenever God leads them to just such an opportunity. 

The fact of the matter is that Peter’s admonition for us to be always ready “to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (see 1 Peter 3:15) is a command given to both men and women. And God uses both men and women every single day to free others through the truths of God’s Word and sound theology.

Any time you are tempted to search for, strive for, and maybe even fight for validation from anyone and everyone, stop. Let go. And instead pour over the truths of God’s Word. Search out the narratives, the amazing stories God presents to us in His Word that show us how He uses both His sons as well as His daughters to further His kingdom and set captives free in countless ways. 

That is all the validation you need, my friend. Just as God used Huldah, He is ready and willing to use you, as well. Be a student of His Word, be a Berean (see Acts 17:11), and be ready to help others learn to interpret His Word even as Huldah did King Josiah and the men in his court. You don’t need to search for, strive for, or work towards validation from others. You already have it from your God.

1 comment:

  1. Huldah is my go-to girl for brave truth telling and for a clear and faithful awareness that our words about God belong to him, and we represent him as we speak. Repeatedly, she draws a solid line to him, just to remind everyone that she was sharing HIS judgment and HIS grace.


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