Every year I read the Bible through, and last month a particular passage in Leviticus caught my attention.
Women in ancient Israel were valued (as many women still are today) according to their productivity. According to Leviticus 27:7 a woman’s value decreased to 10 shekels (down from 30) after she turned 60.
A Bible footnote explained that 10 shekels were the equivalent of 115 grams of silver. Curious, I consulted the Internet to find out the market value of silver today, and learned that 115 grams of silver would fetch a whopping $156.61. Since I too am 60+, it didn’t do much for my self esteem. Even though I might not be as swift as I used to be, I still felt I could be worth more – on a good day – than a pair of Nikes.
Of course, we cannot build a theology on Leviticus 27:7. An important rule of biblical hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Bible) is that any verse must not be interpreted solely on what it says or on what we think it says, but on what the rest of the Bible says about the subject in question.
Which means we must also consider Proverbs 31:10, which tells us a good woman is worth far more than rubies, and Psalm 8, which reminds us we’ve been created just a little lower than the angels.
When Jesus came he affirmed the value of women in a way others never had. Remember how Mary of Bethany sat at his feet, listening to his teaching, and how gently he defended and encouraged her? (This was at a time when Israeli women were not considered worthy of learning anything at all, and rabbis did not allow women to sit at their feet as students of the law.)
Women have always felt a deep need for affirmation, and unfortunately some have sought it in the wrong places. But as Mary discovered, a genuine sense of self-worth comes from knowing the Lord intimately and realising what it means to be loved by him.
We women are relational beings, and we’ve have always understood the extra encouragement that comes from getting together for Bible studies and other social activities.
Which brings me to another point: Women of the greater Auckland region, would you mark Saturday, May 19 in your diary? This is when Baptist women from churches all around the area will meet at Northcote Baptist from 3 to 9pm for our annual fellowship celebration.
This year the theme is “In Step With the Spirit Through Thick and Thin.” As always, the event, costing just $25, will include a meal and a raft of inspiring speakers.
Sisters, we’re worth it!