Okay, one of the biggest learnings I remember from Seminary First-Year Old Testament Survey—I'm going way back—I don't know if I've ever shared this with you, but—and there's a lot of learnings—but one of the takeaways, for me anyway, was God always saves a remnant. No matter what happens historically, no matter what catastrophe is wiping out His promise of His seed coming all the way to Jesus, there will be a remnant.
And today we get to talk about not just men, but women that were part of that remnant. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. We have a guest. Her name is Nana Dulce. First of all, Nana, welcome to Family Life Today.
What a joy and a pleasure to be with you both. Thank you. And I noticed, by the way, when I was talking about the remnant, you're just shaking your head.
Because you know all about that. I mean, obviously we're going to talk about your book, The Seed of the Woman, and it really is. I read it.
That's what I kept thinking. Here it is. Here it is again. God's seed and His plan going through, and it's such a beautiful book about all the women in part of that remnant. It's actually a pretty book, too. And the subtitle is 30 Narratives that Point to Jesus, and each one of these is talking about a woman.
Exactly. 30 narratives beginning with Eve and then ending with Mary. Now, where did you get the idea to do this? I know you teach at RTS, Reformed Theological Seminary, and you're a teacher and a lecturer. Was this part of what you did as a curriculum, or was this a personal study? In Genesis for this book, I love to tell this story, because no, it wasn't for RTS or for any kind of major ministry. It was just local church ministry. There were a few young women at my church for two years.
They came to my house. We sat on my couch, we drank sweet tea, we ate food, and we walked through the story of Scripture. I wanted to help them to see the big narrative that the Bible is telling and that the Old Testament is telling. And because these are young women and we're interested in the stories of women, we use the narratives of women as our stopping point in seeing the bigger narrative of the Old Testament. And we walked through it for two years. I saw the value of it for just these young women in my local church and thought, maybe this is something that will be helpful for women beyond my church.
It's so good. And the women that went through this first time, were they surprised? Did they feel like they got a lot out of it? They still talk about it.
Really? We called our group Tea and Theology because we drink sweet tea and we study theology and they still talk about it. What do you think impacted them the most? I think seeing that you don't have to wait to get into the New Testament to see Jesus. And that's surprising, isn't it?
Yeah. So when Jesus says in Luke, there's a narrative there when there are two disciples on the road to Emmaus after he resurrects and he meets them and it says he opened up the scriptures to them and show them that beginning from Moses and all the prophets, how everything said about him had to be fulfilled. So according to Jesus himself, all of scripture points to him.
So we don't have to wait till the New Testament to find Jesus. And even the narratives of women can help us to see Jesus. Do you think that people are surprised by that, that you can see that through women? Sometimes I think we are.
So if you said I can point, you know, like the story of David perhaps points forward, like David is a type of Christ or Moses is a type of Christ, I think people would say, yes, I can see that. But when it comes to the women, sometimes we look more at the ethical and moral things that they teach us. We want to be like Ruth. We want to serve. We want to, and all of those are good things.
We don't throw those out. But if Jesus says all of these stories ultimately point to him, that means that I can see Jesus in the story of Ruth as well. Yeah. And you go deep. When I picked up your book and you start with Eve, you know, and I'm reading, I thought, oh, there's going to be a, you know, a couple sentences. No, you dig and you just bring out so much truth.
Great job. I mean, it's fascinating to read. I mean, I've been to seminary. I've been preaching for 30 years and I'm learning stuff in every page that I missed, which is really beautifully done.
And again, we can't do 100 shows or even 30 shows. So do you want to start with Eve? Yeah. Let's start with Eve because I think there were some surprising things about Eve.
Yeah. I love the story of Eve. I love that she enters the scene of scripture with a song and we know that Adam is made first, but Eve doesn't just come in as this second inferior. I love that the only recorded words of man before the fall is this song to Eve. And she comes in as God's answer for the not good pronouncement of the man being alone.
And so she's welcomed into the garden and there's this beautiful scene of the two together naked and not ashamed. But then the chapter in Genesis 3 opens and there's this conversation between her and this snake who puts her focus not on everything that God says she could have, but the one thing that she couldn't have. And she takes, she eats, she gives some to Adam and there's the cosmic fall. Which I'm going to say too, isn't that typical of the enemy to get us to see the one thing instead of seeing the multitude of ways God has blessed us?
Absolutely. I try to remind myself of that because we are the daughters of Eve and often my eyes leave the many blessings that God says enjoy and I focus on the one thing I can't have. So may the Lord help us with that. What I love though about the story of Eve is this woman through, you know, the scriptures even in the New Testament would say that she was deceived. So through her comes this deception that brings the cosmic fall and yet God inserts her into his drama of redemption. He comes and you know, they put this fig leaf, these withering leaves, there's the sacrifice of an animal. He covers them with a clothing of his own making and then he says, I will send a seed from the woman who will crush the head of the serpent. So this is the first pronouncement of the gospel. There's a big word, the proto evangelum, which is the first time we get in scripture this hint, this hope of a coming savior. And this savior would come from the woman that the serpent sought to make an ally. Isn't that interesting?
I love that. Me too, because when I think of Eve as I was growing up, I thought shame. Yeah. I'm the daughter of Eve and there's this piece of shame that I carry and we don't often go to, oh no, the seed of Christ will come from woman.
Yeah. This proto evangelum, this first pronouncement of good news ahead comes in Genesis 3 15 and God says it even before he gives the judgment. So there's going to be, you know, she's going to give children through pain and there's going to be pain as the man is working the ground. There's all this pain, pain, pain, but that pain comes in the shadow of the promise of a coming savior. So God is incredibly merciful. Even in judgment, we see his mercy. Eve and Adam don't die immediately, physically. They will live to see many days and this woman who should have died is named the mother of the living. And through her, children will come that eventually lead to you and me sitting here today.
And so we see God's amazing mercy. I mean, Nana, as you were studying this and, you know, I preached this many times. I've never had that insight.
Even the words you said, I don't even, I've never used before. The proto what? Oh, the proto evangelum. I mean, I've talked about this passage and tried to help a congregation understand it. But, you know, I've got two women sitting here.
I wondered this. Did it change your thinking of yourselves as women as a daughter of Eve from maybe shame or the one who was deceived to the one of the promise, the one who birthed the seed that later became the promise of God? Has that impacted you in your identity as a woman? I mean, I hear that. I'm like, whoa, that's different than what most people think when they think Eve.
Yeah. I mean, I think what it makes me remember as a woman living all the way on this side of the story is to trust the God who keeps his word. Because it's amazing to me that so God's promise to send a savior comes very early in scripture.
It's in Genesis three and there will be Eve and there will be Sarah and there will be woman after woman after woman. And it seems, where is the savior? And has God, you know, is he faithful to his word? And then one day there's this angel that comes to this poor girl and says, the Holy Spirit will overshadow you and in you will come this, that seed of the woman promised so long ago to Eve. So God keeps his word. I'm on this side of the cross and in my everyday life, I just need to remember if God has said it, even if it takes a long time, he keeps his word. That's good.
He's faithful. Well, it's interesting. As you were talking, I thought, oh, it's so interesting. When I started sharing the gospel with our three sons and they were little, so, you know, they don't even really understand. But I always started with the garden, with the promise that even though Adam and Eve sinned and now we are born into sin, God right away said, but I will send my son. I have never thought of, oh, he gave that blessing and that promise before the curse of you'll have pain in childbirth.
Your desire will be for your husband, but he will rule over you. He put the promise of Jesus first. I've never thought of that before. How sweet of him.
It is. Now, why do you think that's so significant? You know, that hope in pain, you will bring forth children. Women feel that in so many ways. So I used to think that it was just the pain of contraction or the pain of being a woman in that time of month and that whole thing that we blame on Eve. But women bring forth children with pain in more ways than one. Oh, yeah.
In more ways than one. And so whether it is, you know, I am a mother both through foster care and adoption and also a mother of biological children. So my little boy that I didn't give birth to, I still pushed through a system. Yeah. So many complexities. I pushed him out in ways that was painful.
Yeah. And so adopted mothers feel that pain and foster mothers feel that pain. And even women who labor to bring forth spiritual children, we feel that pain.
So the pain that we feel as mothers living east of Eden in a world of thorns and thistles, all of that sits under the shadow of the promise that God has made to be a savior. That's so well said. It's beautifully said. And that's something we all need to remember.
Men as well. Absolutely. Need to remember the darkness is under light.
The pain is under healing. So there's a bigger planet place. Did we hit everything for Eve? The only other thing that comes to mind is, you know, sometimes we leave Eve's story in Genesis 3.
Yeah. But she comes up again in Genesis 4. Actually, Genesis 4 starts with Eve because it talks about these children that she gives birth to, these sons. And so we know she gives birth to Cain and she actually, there seems to be this sense of hope when Cain is born. She calls him gotten by God and she says, you know, God has given me this son.
And one wonders, was she thinking this is, this is him. This is the snake crusher. This is the promised son. But what's going to happen? This son is going to act more like a snake than a snake crusher.
He's going to kill his brother. And Eve reminds me of so many times we see our children, or I'll say this. I remember when one of my daughters started doing something that kind of reminded me of my own past. And just being brokenhearted, not just because of what was going on with her, but thinking about even how I may have contributed to that. I think Genesis 4 gives us a chance to really mourn with Eve like mother, like son. She took this fruit that God had created and said, don't take. And her son took the fruit of her womb, took a life and killed. It's like the escalation of her sin in this boy Cain.
And I can't help but mourn, mourn with her in that. It's interesting, too, how every mother can relate to a child that's gone astray and the heartache that a mom carries. I mean, that's from the very first book of the Bible that we can identify as a mom. Like, oh, when they stray from God's best or stray from what God longs for them.
As moms, I know dads do this, too, but we carry it. And Eve's temptation to even blame herself. Yeah, it also makes me think the way you said it, Nana, was it'd be easy for Eve and any of us to look at our circumstances and say God's promises aren't going to happen. Especially, like you said, if she thought Cain was the promise and then this happens, it's like, oh, it's not going to happen.
And I think we can do that. We base our faith on what we see rather than what is truth. And it's like you got to raise your eyes vertical and go, OK, everything I see doesn't mean that's the way it is.
There's a God behind this. The whole emphasis of your book, there's a seed that's going to continue even though it doesn't look like it at this point. I'd love to hear, like, what's your story of knowing Jesus?
Oh, absolutely. So I was born in Ghana, which is in West Africa, and I came to the U.S. when I was nine. And as a young immigrant growing up, I think I went to church really to be with people who looked and sounded like me. And so there was some, not some, I was practicing a lot of cultural Christianity and said I was a Christian, but really didn't love God's word.
Didn't have any Christian friends. Was trying to be a good girl, you know, would do my homework and get good grades. But as a rising sophomore in college, it became really clear to me that the righteousness that God required and demanded was more than good grades and being nice.
That actually the standard He was calling me to, I couldn't achieve on my own. And if God didn't reach down and help me and pull me up, it wouldn't get done. God is calling me to His own righteousness and He has to do this thing. So I prayed. I prayed and cried out to Him. And I really was a different person after that.
I went back to college and was like, where are the Christians? So I started doing Bible studies, joined a church eventually and just enjoy the Bible in a way I had never before. Did it come alive? It came alive.
I understood it. I was asking questions. I was really reborn in a lot of ways. I was a new creature.
And you even started listening to Family Life Today. I really did. That's what we heard. I really did. Yeah, there you go.
We got to get a plug in. Yes. Yeah. I knew that I hadn't seen the example of what it was to live as a, you know, I wanted to be married. I wanted to have children and I wanted to know how to be a godly wife and mom.
And so I did turn to Family Life to help disciple me. Let's go to another woman that you liked and you liked Rachel and Leah. Yeah. Let's talk about.
Let's do that. Yeah. I really love the story of those two sisters. I think in many ways, when we think of sibling rivalry, we think of Cain and Abel.
Yeah. We may even think of Jacob and Esau, the twins that Isaac and Rebecca had. One of them stole his brother's birthright with a stew and his mom made him look like his brother. And so he had to run away.
But there's another set of sibling rivalry that we don't always consider. The sisters, Rachel and Leah. So, you know, Jacob runs away because Esau wants to kill him. And he goes to Laban, his uncle, to kind of hide out and also to find a wife.
And he meets Rachel at this well. And it says that he loved her so much that he agreed to work for seven years, which passed like days because he loves her so much. But when the time comes to receive his wife, Laban tricks him and gives Leah. And within the course of a week, he really becomes a husband of two wives.
One of them, the scripture says he loves and the other, it says he hated. I sympathize with Leah in so many ways. I can't imagine being hated by a man who still sleeps with her because she will give him many children and yet he doesn't honor her with love. So Rachel is the favorite wife and yet she is barren and she is desperate for children. I have known secondary infertility.
Secondary infertility is when you have children, but then for some reason, whatever reason, you can't conceive again. And so for 10 years, I've been praying for a child and the Lord has sent that child through adoption. But I can appreciate Rachel's frustration with infertility. And you see her doing everything she can. And so she goes to Jacob and she says, give me children or I shall die. And then she gives her maidservant to him. And then she turns to these mandrakes.
It's like, you know, women who are trying to conceive and just doing whatever they can. But the scripture says finally she prays and God remembered her. And she got her first son and she names him Joseph. And Joseph is a name and a prayer. It means, may he add another. There's a desire for more. Where Rachel's story gets interesting to me is when Jacob decides to leave Laban, it says that Rachel went and took her father's household gods.
Yeah, I just read that the other day. And I was thinking, here she is, like longing to have a child. Is that her, you know, is that her good luck charm? Is she desperate for anything, any God?
Absolutely. So one commentary that I read in writing this book said that these were nude figurines that guaranteed protection or fertility. So they were fertility gods. And so it makes me wonder, God had listened to her and given her the son.
But just in case he doesn't come through again, maybe this is an added security, you know, some extra little thing for me to get this other child that I want. And what's interesting is when Laban comes looking for his gods, Jacob says, whoever has them will die. And Rachel isn't found with them because she actually sits on them. And yes, she does die. She dies giving birth to the very son, Benjamin, that she wanted so much. And she's buried along the road to Bethlehem. And it is such a good warning for my heart because, oh, I look to the Lord and I pray to him for things, but sometimes there's a temptation to hold on to something else just in case God doesn't come through.
My prayer is that he would help my heart and the hearts of those who will read this book really to know that Jesus is enough, that we can put our full weight on him, that the story he's writing for us is good and that we can trust him. She was longing for what she couldn't have. So it could almost become our idol as women. And then for Leah, her sister, she could have all these babies, but she didn't have the love of her husband. And so that became what it really was like an idol for her. And I think in our marriage, when we were struggling in our marriage, my marriage became the idol.
And I just thought if Dave would just get his act together, I would be so happy. And so thinking that he was the source of my joy and contentment, I think it's easy to do that as women. Even to wonder and think through as a listener, are there other things that you're thinking, if I just had this, I could be content or be happy? Because both those women were longing for that and it didn't come through a child and it didn't come through love necessarily. The thing with Leah also that encourages me is that it reminds me, so Leah suffered in so many ways. So she's the object of her father's deceit.
She has this husband that doesn't love her. When it says she has weak eyes, what does that mean? It says Rachel was lovely and beautiful in form, but Leah had weak eyes. Can you imagine being compared to your sister?
I have two daughters. I don't want one to feel like she's the second thought one. But then even as you read Genesis, Leah suffers in other ways. So it's her daughter Dinah that's raped by the Prince of Shechem. And then one of her sons will have an illicit affair with Jacob's concubine.
And then she watches her sister die. And so she suffers in so many ways, but I love the ways that God remembers Leah. So it literally says that when God knew she was hated, he opened her womb. And then of all the children is her son Judah that will lead the line to Jesus.
There's the remnant. And then when she dies, actually Leah is buried with Jacob in the burial plot that has Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah. She's laid to rest next to the husband that had actually preferred someone else. And so Leah reminds me that God remembers us and sympathizes with us. She reminds me of the passage in Isaiah that calls Jesus the man of sorrows who was rejected and who was despised and who was not esteemed.
That is Leah's greater son. And I love that in Christianity, we have a God who knows what we go through and can sympathize with us. In Jesus, he literally comes and he suffers the same kind of rejection, the same being despised.
God knows when I go through that. And you know, Hebrews 2 17 says that he was made like us in every way. So he's a high priest who can sympathize with us. I can go to Jesus in those moments when I feel like Leah.
And he is a God who can sympathize with me and I can go boldly to him in prayer. I thought it was interesting too of how she named her first three sons. Do you remember? Yes, absolutely.
I have it here. It's actually really sad when you read the names that she gives to these boys. So Reuben, the Hebrew word for Reuben is look, saying, because the Lord has looked upon my affliction, my husband will love me. That's her hope, that her husband will love her now. And then Simeon means to hear, saying, because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also. And then third, she named her son Levi, meaning to join. She says, now this time my husband will be attached to me because I have borne him three sons. And yet then she has Judah and she says what? This time I will just praise. I'll just praise him.
It's not working. Let me just praise the Lord with this fourth one. Do you gals feel a little bit of that Leah sense that I'm not seen, I'm discarded, men are more important?
I don't know. I'm just putting words out there, but have you felt that as a woman? Because she felt that and yet she was the one carrying the promise. So the truth was different than her reality, but I think women can often feel that. Even, I don't know any other book that's walked through 30 women in the Bible. You know what I mean? Seriously, it's like nobody's writing those.
Sure. And yet extremely important. Do you feel that sometimes as a woman? I mean, I do. I would guess almost every woman has felt at a point like no one sees me. I'm not good enough. I'm not loved enough. I'm not beautiful enough. I feel rejected. I don't know if there are any women that feel like I'm amazing.
You know, they could, but most of us have some wounds in the past that create that gap of need for like, does anyone? And the whole time God is saying, I do. I see you. I know you.
I love you. I knew you in your mother's womb. I have knit you together and I see you and I have a plan for you. Hi, I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Nana Dulce on Family Life Today.
Listen, we're going to hear more incredibly important and poignant truths in just a second. But first, after listening to this conversation, I think it's really important that we know that Jesus sees you. He cares about you from all the big stuff in your life to the little tiny stuff too. He values and He knows you. So if you're ever wondering, does anyone get me?
The answer is yes. Jesus gets you. He knows you to the depths and He loves you to the stars. Nana Dulce has been pointing that out today by highlighting biblical narratives of women that point to Jesus. And she's written a book called The Seed of the Woman, 30 Narratives That Point to Jesus. This is obviously an incredibly rare and important book and we want to give you a copy when you partner with us. It's our thanks to you to help more families hear more conversations like the one you heard today. You can partner with us online at familylifetoday.com or you could give us a call at 800-358-6329. Now, when you partner with us, that could be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift. Again, you can go to familylifetoday.com or give us a call at 800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word Today.
And feel free to snail mail us and drop us something in the mail to Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. Now let's hear more from Nana Dulce. I think we all have moments, whether it's because of your age or your ethnicity or your gender or your family or your bank account. Just there are times when you're going to feel passed over. I mean, we can all tell stories here about that. A podcast I was listening to about a school shooting and how people in the town were sympathizing with these parents who had lost children.
But other parents in the country who have lost children literally flew to be with those mothers and fathers. And sitting across from someone who has been through what you're going through, there's an encouragement you get from that. What I love about Jesus is that in him, we have a God who has been through whatever you can go through. That's who we literally sit across from when we go to him in prayer.
And so he gets it. And scripture says that he is a faithful high priest and I can come boldly to him in those moments. That's our God. That's our God. This has been a great conversation today with Nana Dulce, and I'm super excited because she's coming back tomorrow to talk about a number of different women in the Bible. In fact, have you ever thought about how Moses's mother points to Jesus? Actually, admittedly, I have not thought about that. Now, Nana is going to go over that tomorrow, so make sure that you join us. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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