Mark, chapters 13 & 14

“Let her alone. Why do you try to make trouble for her? She did a fine deed toward me.”
~Mark 14:6

Mary’s strong appreciation for spiritual things has always impressed me.
Myself coming from a culture that, like ancient Jewish culture, assigns value to a woman based on how industrious she is within the home, and personally not being inclined to cook, I have always easily identified with Mary’s personality.
On the occasion in which Jesus taught at their home, Mary was picked on by her sister, Martha, for sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her serve. (Luke 10:38-40)
Now, five days before his death, Mary takes an extremely costly bottle of genuine nard and pours it on Jesus’ hair and feet.
This time she is criticized by Jesus’ own disciples. (Matt. 26:6-9; John 12:2-5)
According to the Jewish Talmud, women were not supposed to be well-versed in spiritual matters, and we are not aware of any precedents of women closely following a prophet. (Sotah 3:4)
Still, Mary set an excellent example of being spiritually conscientious and maintaining a balanced view of material things, all while not letting others’ negativity discourage her.

Mark, chapters 5 & 6

“The woman, frightened and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.”
~Mark 5:33

The woman referred to in this passage had suffered an embarrassing ailment for twelve years without finding a medical solution.
She did not wonder if Jesus could help her.
She had faith that she would be healed as soon as she could discreetly touch his clothes. (Mark 5:28)
In doing so, she was breaking Mosaic Law. (Lev. 15:25-27)
When Jesus discovered her, she confronted him with the truth.
In her place, I would have likely ran away as fast as I could.
I admire her boldness.
She not only had faith that Jesus would heal her, but also had faith that he would compassionately understand.
When approaching Jesus’ father, Jehovah, in prayer, I will try to imitate this woman’s faith in divine mercy, expressing myself from the heart. (Heb. 4:16)

Song of Songs 

“Hurry, my dear one,
And be swift like a gazelle
Or a young stag
Upon the mountains of spices.”
~Song of Songs 8:14

The Song of Songs is a love story written by an unrequited king infatuated with an engaged country girl.
It was obviously intended to be performed.
This is my conclusion due to the complexity of reading the verses straight from the page.
It is a true story involving several people.
Here I will relate the story in simplest of terms in chronological order:
The country girl from Shunem meets a handsome shepherd boy.
He visits her at home and calls at her through the lattices, inviting her to come explore the spring valley with him.
Her brothers have asked her to guard the vineyards and she has been negligent.
They worry about her chastity and whether she will become a woman who is marriage material.
Now she is not given permission to go with the shepherd boy, but sent to scatter foxes
(Ca. 1:6; 2:9-15; 8:8,9)
This evidently throws her into the proximity of King Solomon’s camp.
At the time, he has 60 queens, 80 concubines and many young women.
The Shulammite girl is beautiful and is involuntarily taken into his camp.
She tells the other women there that she wishes to run away to her shepherd.
They tell her to follow his tracks.
The King promises to give her fine jewelry, but the Shulammite girl keeps the shepherd boy close to her heart. (Ca. 1:13)
The shepherd boy sneaks into the camp and showers her in compliments.
The girl confesses she’d rather be lying down in the forest with him. (Ca. Chapter 1)
She tells the other women what their courtship is like, that she is lovesick, and insists they not push her to like King Solomon. (Ca. 2:5,7)
Meanwhile, the shepherd boy is working “among the lilies.”
She wishes he would quickly return to her at day’s end. (Ca. Chapter 2).
At night, she dreams that she is roaming the city looking for him.
She finds him and takes him into her mother’s bedroom.
The next day, the women of Jerusalem see the Shulammite girl being brought into Jerusalem with the King’s procession. (Ca. Chapter 3)
The shepherd boy has followed the procession into the city.
He finds her and again flatters her.
The Shulammite asks him to take her back to her mountain in the evening, when it has grown breezy and shadows cannot follow them. (Ca. 4:6)
He tells her he will take her to several beautiful mountains.
At this point, he calls her his bride and compares her to a locked garden.
He beckons the wind as if to hurry the night on.
She consents to his proposal by inviting him into her “garden.” (Ca. 4:12,16).
The couple engages in public displays of affection which are witnessed by some of the women in Jerusalem.
Back in the rooms by the King’s palace, she tells the girls about her nightmares.
She dreams she looks for the shepherd boy on the streets and is struck by the guards.
They ask her how he is any better than other guys.
She replies: “His mouth is sweetness itself, And everything about him is desirable.” (Ca. Chapter 5)
The girls say they’ll help her find him, but she says he is out shepherding.
The king tries to hit on her again and says that she is the favorite (in Hebrew, literally “the pure one”) of her mother and that she is as pure as sunlight. (Ca. 6:9,10)
Instead of procuring the king during the day, she wanders down to one of his gardens and before she knows it, starts leaving the premises.
The king orders her to return.
She asks what he sees in her.
He seizes the opportunity to hit on her again, this time more explicitly. (Ca. 7:8)
The Shulammite girl, who has developed into a woman, can only think of her shepherd.
She imagines herself with him in a garden, pleasure just at their doors.
In her mind, she tells him, “The new as well as the old […] I have kept in store for you.” (Ca. 7:13).
She tells the girls in the king’s court that if the shepherd were like her brother, she could be seen with him publicly or bring him into her mother’s bedroom, like in her first dream.
Again, she insists they not try to arouse feelings in her toward King Solomon. (Ca. 8:1-4).
Finally, the king releases her,
She is seen by her brothers walking back into town, as she leans on her beloved.
Talking to him, she makes reference to having met him under an apple tree and she poetically describes her conclusions on the enduring love she has for him.
She assures her brothers that she is chaste and at peace. (Ca. 8:10)
Unswayed, she has flat out rejected King Solomon’s monetary gifts and will content herself with her own vineyard.
The song ends by alluding to a prior scene in which the shepherd sought to hear the girl’s voice in the garden.
Except this time, instead of asking him to wait til nightfall, she urges him to hurry to her.
The Song teaches us to reflect on the value of enduring love between a man and a woman, as well as the qualities that make a person merit such love.

“For love is as strong as death is, And exclusive devotion is as unyielding as the Grave. Its flames are a blazing fire, the flame of Jah. Surging waters cannot extinguish love, Nor can rivers wash it away. If a man would offer all the wealth of his house for love, It would be utterly despised.”
~Ca. 8:6,7

Esther, chapters 1-5

“And who knows whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to your royal status?”
~Esther 4:14

Queen Esther’s adoptive father, Mordecai, asked her to risk her life by presenting the plight of her people before the king without her first being summoned (Es. 4:7,8).
Haman, a prince who had been appointed at the top of the king’s court, had conspired to annihilate all the Jews in the Persian kingdom, financing the extermination himself (Es. 3:8,9).
King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), who badly needed the money offered by Haman to finance his war against the Greeks, did not know his favorite wife and only queen would be a direct victim of the genocide.
He had a strict policy regarding being approached at his throne; not even the queen would be exempt from punishment, and she had not been called for in 30 days (Es. 4:11).
When the king originally decided to select a new virgin as queen, over one year earlier, the list of confidants the king was closest to does not even mention Haman (Es. 1:14).
Still, Jehovah insured, through the loving care of Mordecai, that Esther came to the throne and eventually saved her people from their death sentence (Es. 2:7, 19, 20; 7:3-6).
God is always two steps ahead of whatever evil his enemies are planning.
It is impossible to thwart God’s purpose.

Judges, chapters 5-7

The villagers in Israel were no more;
They were no more until I, Deborah, rose up,
Until I arose as a mother in Israel.
~Judges 5:7

Here, the prophetess Deborah is praised in song for leading the Israelites in victorious battle against their oppressors (Jud. 4:14-16).

As women, we should never feel so powerless or intimidated by men to the point where we restrain from delivering God’s message .

To assume no one will listen to us is to underestimate the power of God’s word, for he is the one who puts it into action, and he will use any means he wishes to achieve its purpose (Isa. 55:10,11).

Therefor, may we not shy away from making a difference.
Let us seize decisive moments and speak God’s truth (John 17:17).