Women in the Image of God
By: Sarah Norman
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” (Gen 1:27 emphasis mine). God created male and female in his image. This verse is where we get the concept of imago dei, image of God. But what does it mean to be created in His image and why is it important? What impact does it have on my life or yours to understand who's image we were created in?
When God created this earth, he had a good and perfect design for it. There was peace and harmony among the animals, between animals and humans. There weren't natural disasters. Poverty and suffering did not exist. Life was so incredibly different that we really have no concept of what life would be like with no consequences of sin. God created man and woman who lived together in harmony. No one desired power, no one held onto to petty grudges, both valued each other and delighted in each other. Both delighted in the design God had on their lives, not confused about what they were to do or with who they were. God gave them both the commands to be fruitful and multiply, to rule and subdue the earth. They worked at this together. Then sin entered the picture. We stopped seeing each other as made in the image of God. We stopped seeing ourselves as made in the image of God. People began to turn inward, looking only at ourselves, caring only for ourselves rather than looking outward and up and seeing how God designed us to delight in him.
Psalm 139 is a familiar Psalm to most of us. David speaks of God's purpose on our lives before we were even thought of by our parents. He says that God knows every single part of us. We cannot hide anything from God. He knows our good, our bad, our sin and our shame. And He loves us. We cannot go anywhere to get away from Him, to hide from Him. He made us with purpose. He made us in His image, imago dei. It's so easy to let Satan speak lies into our hearts about who we are. We just celebrated Mother's Day so I will talk specifically to woman today. If you are an adult woman, it's so easy to look at your life and be disappointed about where you are. Maybe you are single and want to be married, or you don't want to be married but you feel pressure from everyone around you that you should be married. Maybe you had a dream to have a certain career and that dream just hasn't panned out. Maybe you're married and want children, but God hasn't given that to you, or maybe you're married and don't want children but feel pressure from everyone around you that you should. Maybe you are a weary mom, just trying to get through the days of diapers, dinners that no one eats, noise, dirt and disobedience. Maybe your a single mom just trying to make ends meet. Maybe you're divorced wondering what in the world God has planned for you and why things happened the way the did. Maybe your kids are grown and you're wondering what God wants you to do now. Maybe you wonder why God even made you a woman to begin with. Psalm 139 and Gen 1:27 speak specifically to you. No matter what your situation is, or what your season is, God made you for a specific, good purpose. He didn't make you as a woman as a last resort, as just someone to do Adam's bidding, as someone to constantly be stepped on, overlooked or thrown away. He made you with a good purpose. He made you to delight in Him and his good design for you.
We see this in the story of one of God's daughter's when we read about Rizpah in 2 Samuel 21. Here, David is trying to appease the Gibeonites, trying to right a wrong from when Saul was King. He gives seven sons of Saul for the Gibeonites to kill, 2 of those sons being Rizpah's. We're told in verse 10 “Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on the rock for herself, from the beginning of the harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day or the wild animals by night.” So often we think of women as weak, as docile creatures who need to be taken care of, who can't do for themselves. We hear this from all parts of society but especially from the church, that women have their place and they need to stay there. But this picture of Rizpah, this is not a picture of a weak woman. It says she fought off the birds and wild animals, protecting her sons dead bodies. This is not the typical picture we see of a woman; this is a warrior. Her love for her sons drove her to protect them, no matter the costs. God created Rizpah for a purpose. She was part of his plan to usher in the end of the 3 year famine Israel was under. David saw Rizpah's persistence, buried her sons, along with the bones of Saul and Jonathan in a royal burial then God sent rain on the land.
So often we get frustrated with the purpose God has for us. There is purpose in the woman's life who is single, she is not just in a holding pattern until she can get married and fulfill her “bigger” purpose. There is purpose in the married woman's life who does not have children, but a career. God can work through her to bring co-workers and people in her community to Christ. There is purpose in the married woman's life who does not yet have children but desire's them. This is also not a holding pattern for you, God does not see you as lesser because children are not yet in your story. You should not see yourself as lesser. There is purpose in the life of the mom who chooses to stay at home and take care of her kids. Your days may seem endless, but God is using you to speak life and love into your kids lives, even through the difficult times. There is purpose in the life of the mom who chooses to go to work. God is showing you that He can use you to do great things both at home with your children and in the workplace. There is purpose in the life of the woman who's children are grown and out of the home. You're work is not done now that you've raised your children, your work has only just begun for the kingdom of God. God does not limit women in what we can do for Him. I am sure some people saw what Rizpah was doing and believed she was insane, that her grief had caused her to go hysterical. But God had a greater purpose for what she was doing.
If you are having a hard time seeing your purpose today, look towards God. See that God made you in His image. See that God gave you good work to do, no matter what season of life you may be in, no matter whether or not it looks the way you had planned it to look. God has not forgotten you. God has not forsaken you. He is inviting you to delight in the way He made you. He is inviting you to see yourself the way He sees you. Stop listening to the lies Satan is constantly trying to tell you, and believe what God says about you. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made”. God had a great purpose for you long before any human had any thought of you. God sent his son to die for you. He loves you.
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