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Women of the Bible52 Stories for Prayer and Reflection
By Ann Spangler
ZondervanCopyright © 2002 Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda
All right reserved.
Her Name Means "Life-giving" or "Mother of All Who Have Life"
Her Character: She came into the world perfectly at peace with her God and with her husband, the only other person on the planet. She lived in Paradise, possessing every pleasure imaginable. She never knew the meaning of embarrassment, misunderstanding, hurt, estrangement, envy, bitterness, grief, or guilt until she listened to her enemy and began to doubt God.
Her Sorrow: That she and her husband were banished from Paradise and the presence of God, and that her first son was a murderer and her second son his victim.
Her Joy: That she had once tasted Paradise, and that God had promised her offspring would eventually destroy her enemy.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-31; Genesis 2-4
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The woman stirred and stretched, her skin soft and supple as a newborn's. One finger, then another moved in gentle exploration of the ground that gently cradled her. She felt warm and full, surrounded by a thousand joys at once. Then a sound she could not name tickled her throat and escaped her lips. Her body was shaking with a laughter she could not contain. And then a touch calmed herwithout diminishing her joy.
Her eyes opened to a Brightness, her ears to a Voice. And then a smaller voice, echoing an elated response: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." Adam took hold of her, and their laughter met like streams converging.
The man and the woman walked together naked and unashamed in Paradise, at ease with themselves and God. No shadows filled Eden, no disorder, discord, or fear.
One day a serpent spoke to the woman. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'? You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The woman listened. She remembered the Brightness, the Voice of God that had filled her with joy. Could she really be like God? Doubt and desire pursued her until she not only plucked and ate the fruit but also shared it with her husband. Suddenly, darkness rushed on Eden. It came, not from the outside but from inside, filling their souls with shadows and cravings. Order gave way to disorder, harmony to discord, trust to fear.
Soon Adam and Eve heard the sound of their Creator walking in the garden, and they hid. "Where are you, Adam?" God called.
"I heard you in the garden," Adam replied, "and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."
Sin had driven its wedge into their hearts, and God banished them from Eden, pronouncing judgment first on the wily serpent who had tempted the woman and then on her and her husband. To the serpent's curse he added this promise: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." To the woman, God said: "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
Then God warned Adam: after a lifetime of hard labor, his strength would decrease until his body would finally be wrapped in the dust from which God had formed him. The curse of death fell suddenly upon the new world.
So Adam and his wife fled Paradise, and Adam named her Eve, because she would be the mother of all the living. But her firstborn, Cain, became a murderer, and her second son, Abel, his victim.
Sorrow upon sorrow entered the heart of the first woman, and the last we see of her we imagine her not as a creature springing fresh from God's hand, but as a woman in anguish. Her skin, damaged by sun and age, now stretches like worn canvas across her limbs. Her hands are restless spiders, clawing the hard ground beneath her, grasping for something to ease her pain. She can feel the child inside, filling her, his body pressing for a way of escape. The cries of mother and child meet like streams converging. And Seth is born.
With her child cradled against her breast, relief begins to spread across Eve's face. As she rests, a smile forms, and then, finally, laughter rushes from her lips. Try as she might, she can't stifle her joy. For she remembers the Brightness and the Voice and the promise God gave: sooner or later, despite many griefs, her seed would crush the serpent. The woman would win.
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Her Legacy of Prayer
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27
Reflect On: Genesis 2:15-25; 3.
Praise God: Because he created you in his own image, making you a woman capable of reflecting his love, truth, strength, goodness, wisdom, and beauty.
Offer Thanks: That embedded in God's judgment of Adam and Eve is the promise of a Redeemer who will crush the head of our enemy, the devil.
Confess: Your own tendency to mar God's image in you by preferring your will to his.
Ask God: To help you surrender your life, so that he can fulfill his purpose for creating you.
Lift Your Heart
Find a peaceful setting, surrounded by the beauty of creation, to meditate on what life must have been like in the Garden of Eden. Think about what your life would be like if you experienced peace in all your relationships, if you never suffered physical or emotional pain, if you were never confused or ashamed or guilty, if you always experienced God's love and friendship. Let your imagination run riot as it fills in the details of God's original intention for your life and for those you love. Then consider this: You were made for paradise. The joys you taste now are infinitesimal compared to those that await you in heaven, for "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
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Father, give me a greater understanding of your original plan for our world. Help me to envision its beauty so I might live with a constant awareness that you intend to restore paradise to all who belong to you. May I surrender every sin and every sorrow to you, trusting that you will fulfill your purpose for my life.
Excerpted from Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler Copyright © 2002 by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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