Do you remember She-Ra? She was a fictional cartoon character created in the 1980s to counterbalance another character called He-Man. (They are related very similarly to how Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa are related, if that helps.) She-Ra was known for her immense strength and for her incredible intelligence; often she defeated her enemies with quick wits rather than aggressive action. She-Ra was known as the “Princess of Power” and “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe.” Not bad, right?
He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah. (1 Chronicles 7:24 NLT)
Today’s Chronological Bible reading includes this one verse which, like many others, is easy to glance over and ignore. But perhaps we should pause to reflect on it!
Ancient Israelite culture was very patriarchal. Genealogies and histories were traced through the male descendants of male ancestors. The Bible highlights female leaders only infrequently, but it does highlight them – which gives us reason to celebrate their accomplishments, as well as reason to consider the contributions of women as leaders in today’s society.
In this one verse, we learn all there is to learn about an ancient woman named Sheerah (or should it be She-Ra?). This daughter of Ephraim, granddaughter of Joseph, great-granddaughter of Jacob, appears nowhere else in scripture. Yet here we learn that she was known for building three towns. Uzzen-Sheerah is clearly named after her (the Hebrew name means “portion” or “plot” or “corner” of Sheerah) and is mentioned only in this one verse as well.
The other two towns, however, are more well-known: Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon. These towns are mentioned several times in the Old Testament, but most notably for our purposes today, take note of this historical record:
So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer. He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tamar in the wilderness within his land. … He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. (1 Kings 9:17-19 NLT)
King Solomon is recorded as being responsible for building up Upper Beth-horon, as well (2 Chronicles 8:5). These historical notes may seem to be much earlier – they appear in our Chronological Bible on May 25 – but in reality Solomon lived many generations after Sheerah, daughter of Ephraim.
Why do men get higher billing than women? Why are men considered by many to be stronger, smarter, even better than women? Why, in twenty-first century America, does a gender pay gap exist?
Why do so many churches resist calling women as their pastors?
Time for some “Did you know” questions:
- Did you know that Mt. Haley’s first pastor was a woman? Her name was Gwendolyn Ware, and she served this congregation from its founding in 1943 until 1945.
- Did you know that the Church of God had women pastors and ministers even in our earliest days, in the late 1800s?
- Did you know that today, right now, the Church of God has only one female senior pastor under the age of 40? (Think about that.)
- Did you know that five female pastors were interviewed recently by Church of God Ministries about their experiences as pastors? Read the article here.
Sheerah or She-Ra? Christians should be at the front of the celebration of women in leadership roles, especially in the church.
To the people of Mt. Haley Church of God: I will not be the last pastor of this wonderful congregation. When the time comes for you to call a new pastor, will you consider female candidates? I hope so.