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Unexpected Saviors: Nana Dolce

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April 18, 2023 5:15 am

Unexpected Saviors: Nana Dolce

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 18, 2023 5:15 am

Throughout the Bible, God employs unexpected saviors. Author Nana Dolce peers into the lives of Old Testament women who intervened for His people.

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When I was a new follower of Jesus and I started reading the Bible, I was surprised by the lineage of Jesus.

In what way? I just felt so disqualified. I felt like Christians were the good people.

They had it all together. They didn't have the past that I had. So then I start reading the Bible and I'm like, wait, some of these people are messed up. And then when I started reading the lineage of the women, wait. God can use them?

And it made me question like, God, can you use me with all of my junk? And He is. He literally is this very second. Pretty incredible. 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 or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. We've got Nana Dulce back with us today.

Welcome back, Nana. Thank you. Yeah, and obviously you're smiling because you wrote a whole book on several, I mean, 30 different women that God has used. It's called The Seed of the Woman, 30 Narratives That Point to Jesus.

I just love 30 narratives that wasn't the end. 30 narratives that point to Jesus. We've already talked about a couple of these women. And we talked about how often you don't think of the Old Testament as already pointing to Jesus. And we talked yesterday of how in the very beginning of Genesis, Genesis talks about Jesus. When you were talking about Eve and the promise God gave even before the curse, whenever I would preach that the promise of God started in chapter 3 of Genesis, people would come up to me every time and go, I've never heard that.

Even that he covered them by shedding of blood was a foreshadowing of how this is going to come to be thousands of years later. And you just illuminated Eve's role in that. So who do we want to talk about today? Yesterday we talked about Eve. We talked about Rachel and Leah. So where do you want to go? You talk quite a bit about the women in Exodus.

Yeah. One of the things I wanted to do in this book was to talk about 30 individual women, but at the end of it, I wanted you to look back and see the big story of the Old Testament. And so we walk through Genesis to Exodus, and we go to the time of the judges, the time of the kings, to the exile, and talk about women within the different time periods of Israel's history.

Some of them you'll be familiar with, some of them you won't be as familiar with, but I want you to see this grand story unfold and to see the faithful God who keeps his promise and who uses unexpected saviors. So when Exodus begins, you know, Exodus is this story that Moses is telling. He tells Genesis as well.

He tells the first five books of the Bible. But I love how Moses can't even get to himself until he talks about these six women first. And all of them are actually women that are used to save him. The one who will be used to be the mediator of the Exodus is himself saved by six women. You're right. I had never thought of that because it's Moses telling the story, but he highlights them.

He does. Yeah, in a beautiful way. So he starts with these two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who are just these, they look like small fish in this big sea of this story. There's this story of this big nation that's multiplying and the Pharaoh who sees them as a threat and is trying to subdue them. And then comes these two little women. They're nobodies. They're nobodies. And yet the Pharaoh wants to use these nobodies as really his hands at the birth stool.

To smother the children and to kill them. And this Pharaoh actually reminds me of the serpent in many ways. So actually, culturally, he wore a crown that had a cobra on it.

So he's this simple. I only know that if you're watching Moses the movie. Even the cartoons. Yeah. But it must be true. You're saying it is true.

It is true. So he very much represents the, you know, if there's the seed of the woman, there's also the seed of the serpent because that's part of the promise in Genesis 3 15 that the seed of the woman would crush the offspring of the serpent. And so this Pharaoh represents that in many ways.

And he comes to these two women and really gives them these women that are nobodies. It's almost like a chance to be somebody. Right. You are Pharaoh's. What's the word I'm looking for? Instrument. Instrument.

You are literally his hands and the birthstool. What a chance for them to have been the most feared women in that community. Yeah. And yet it's said that they didn't fear Pharaoh, but they feared God and they let the children live. Probably thinking that they would be murdered as a result. Possibly.

I mean, how do you say no to Pharaoh? Right. And yet these women did because they feared God. And so the end of their story doesn't end with less children, but actually with more because God gives them families and they add to the number because they fear God.

So that's Shiphrah and Puah. Let me ask you this. As a woman, how do you copy that?

How do you carry that spirit forward as a woman? Yeah. Knowing what they did. I mean, as you said, critical.

They don't do that. All of history is different. Their stories actually remind me of Corrie Tamboon and how they, because of their fear of a greater authority, they actually don't listen to the authorities of their day and they hide the Jews. We can even look at people who hid slaves on the Underground Railroad, right, who subverted the authorities that were calling them to do something evil because of their fear of a greater authority.

How many, in smaller ways, those are dramatic stories. But it makes me wonder, how many ways does God call me to fear Him over the things that call my attention to fear just within the regular everyday life of being a woman? Where am I tempted to fear and give my allegiance to something other than God as opposed to fearing Him and trusting Him?

It can be in small ways or it can be in big ways, but I think we always have a chance to obey God and fear Him over other forces that call for our fear and that call for our obedience. Yeah, and even to see the value of a human. You know, those women were like, this is a baby boy.

He's valuable. I'm not going to do something that would be wrong. I'm going to do the right thing. I mean, I thought of Rosa Parks when you said that.

I thought she's like, this is wrong. I could just obey or I could say, I need to be a voice. Again, I'm not saying they're the same, but you know, you think of school teachers, you think all these sort of unseen moments where a woman can step forward and say, I'm going to obey God even though I'm told not to and suffer the consequences. And the ministry that we can have, like in those places of being in the medical field. There's so many teachers, there's just so many places where we can bring Jesus and the gospel into those, especially in our culture where it's very much frowned upon and we can lose our job.

I love that. But they feared God more than man. I think we can do it even in sharing the gospel where we're embarrassed to talk about Jesus. I was thinking that the other day when we were at a restaurant and I was thinking, oh, I should have talked to her about Jesus. I think you say that about every single person we meet. But I remember getting in the car thinking, Lord, I don't want to miss those moments of being afraid of what they'll think of me. What are they going to think of me if I do? And who cares?

I have the answers of eternal life. I ended up one time in college, I came to Christ my junior year and I was pretty much a wild kid until that moment. Not that I became perfect already, but copying my dad, drinking, womanizing, come to Christ, I start sharing Christ on the football team at my university. But there was a guy on the team that was just a wild man and he scared me. And I'm not kidding. One night I'm at a dorm across campus and there's a party going on and somehow there's a bunch of people pushing down the hallway and I get pushed into this room by myself and I sit down. I'm like, I'm in somebody's dorm room and that guy, my teammate walks in, it was his dorm. And as soon as he came in, I'm like, man, this guy's the biggest party on the team.

He's just a bad dude. And I felt like God was saying, share me with him. Again, long story short, I did, came to Christ. I'll never forget, I was scared of him and I felt like God said, do you fear me or do you fear some man?

And I shared Christ, he came to Christ and his whole life was different. And again, these women are just unseen and yet they make a decision to overcome fear. And Dave, sometimes they're the people under our roof. It's our husband or wife that they don't know Jesus or our step kids or our wayward kids.

It's a way of loving them in a winsome way, not a condemnation, judgmental kind of way. All right, we got to go back to Exodus. Yeah. So we, you know, we don't have time to go through all these women, but there's Shiphrah, there's Puah, there's Jacobed, who's Moses' mother, who hides him for three months and then makes this basket, which the word for basket is the same as ark. So she makes a little ark and puts him in. And if you remember Noah's story, it was the ark that became the safety and the judgment of the waters, right?

The waters of death. So Moses, who writes Noah's story, is saying, my mama made me this little ark. I never knew it was the same word. It's the same Hebrew word.

And it keeps him from those waters of death. His sister Mariam is watching and intercedes so that Moses goes back to his Hebrew home. And then this Egyptian woman, she was Pharaoh's daughter.

She should have been the first to obey her father, but she doesn't act the part. And she adopts him. And then eventually his wife, Zipporah, who will intercede when the angel of death is coming to kill Moses because he doesn't circumcise his son. She acts quickly and circumcises her son and applies blood and the angel passes over. And so Moses doesn't get to himself until he has mentioned these six women. All of them will save him and preserve him to become the mediator of the exodus, delivering God's people from enslavement into that promised land. And so women are everywhere in the Bible and God uses unexpected saviors to do his work.

That's really good. You know, it's neat to think that, I know God inspired Moses to write what he wrote, but a man chose, Moses chose to highlight women in front of himself. I think a lot of the history of Christianity in the church has been men pushing women down and not seeing their value. And yet we have an example all the way back to the second book of the Bible. It's like, no, that's never been God's plan.

Uplift those around you, especially women who don't often have a voice. That hit you as well. It just hit me when I was hearing you talk about it. It's like, wow.

Yeah. I mean, what it reminds me of, again, is that often in the story of scripture, God uses the unexpected person. We know that with like David and Goliath, for instance, we talk about that all the time. Yeah, David's out in the sheep.

You take care of sheep. Kind of the outcast, the little boy, you don't expect him to be the savior. But we see it so many times throughout scripture with other characters, including women. And then ultimately, even the Lord Jesus himself comes in this unexpected way. He's born in a manger. He's poor.

He doesn't look the part in many ways and he's rejected. And then he dies on a cross. And that's not what we were expecting.

We wanted this conquering military across the sign of weakness. But it's through that that God redeems sinners through the cross and the resurrection. So God does things to point ultimately to his power, his glory, and uses unexpected saviors. It makes me think of the people that maybe we look down upon that we disregard because they don't look like, you know, what we would think. And yet God often honors the people that we may not choose in our human wisdom.

I remember thinking that when there were times that Dave and I would be speaking. And, you know, when you're on the stage and the spotlight's on you, people can think, oh, that's so amazing. God loves them so much. And so often I remember, I'm thinking of even our church, we have these prayer teams of warriors that are just in the back room, praying and praying and praying for every person that came. Women that come so early, praying over every single seat as the people come into the auditorium and the sanctuary. I'm thinking of the people that are parking. I'm thinking of the women that are coming really early to bring food.

Nobody knows who brought the food. It just ends up being there every time. But they're so faithful. And I think it's such a good reminder that God doesn't see the people that are on their social media accounts that are just killing it. He sees the person that has nothing, but they're faithful and they love him. And every prayer is heard by God. I think what it encourages me is be faithful with whatever God has given you to do. Sometimes it is the platform and sometimes it's just the quiet, you know, older mama who's in her closet praying faithfully on her knees.

Just be faithful with what God has given you and he is pleased to use whatever he's given our hands to do to fulfill his purpose. And it all matters to God. Yes. And it's important to God.

Yeah. And I would just say as a man, again, Nana, when you were talking, it just hit me that the greatest people that have impacted my life the most are women. My mom, single mom, amazing woman. Who shaped my life? My dad or my mom? My mom.

Dad wasn't there. Not that he didn't shape my life, but my mom. And this woman right here. And man, oh man, I am not even sitting here without her in my life and all these amazing truths and hard truths. And she's spoken into my life. And I thought as men, we often can overlook that and only celebrate men, which they're important as well. But even as you're walking through these sort of unseen women that we barely even recognize in the story, I would just say to the men, to the husbands, to the dads, turn to your wife, turn to your mom, turn to your sister, turn to your daughter and say thank you.

Because I guarantee if you're like me, they have shaped you probably as much as anybody else in your life. Don't miss that moment. Okay. That's my little sermonette. Do you want to go to the Women of the Conquest?

We've got a few more minutes. Oh, I want to hit rehab. Let's talk about her just a little bit. Give our listeners just her background.

Absolutely. Oh, I do love the story of rehab. So when we get to rehab, Moses and the, you know, they've come through the wilderness, but that first generation with Moses, all of them have died. And now there's Joshua and a younger group of Israel going into the land. And the first thing Joshua says is let's go spy this land and see, see what we're about to get into. So he sends these two men and they go to the house of Rahab and the scriptures say that she was a prostitute.

She had this, this home. So they, they go there. And unfortunately for these spies, they must have not been very good because the king knows exactly where they are by like verse two of the first passage of the first chapter. And so you're like, oh no, Rahab is going to turn them in. She is a Canaanite and she does the surprising thing.

Unexpected. She hides them on her roof and tells her own government, her own king, oh, they're not here. Like sends them on the wild goose chase while she hides these men. And so you're asking yourself, if you've never read the Bible before, you open it and you're reading it.

You're like, why is she doing this? So she goes to them and she explains, she said, I have heard about your God. She literally retells God's works in the Exodus and says, I heard about these things. And our hearts are melting with fear because your God is the God of heaven and earth. And I love the story of Rahab because all the way in Exodus, when God is talking to Pharaoh, God says, I am doing these acts of judgment really to reveal myself to all the nations of the earth. Now just imagine this prostitute woman all the way in Jericho. God was thinking of Rahab even in his acts. As he parted the sea, as he brought the plagues.

He said, I did this to make myself known to all the nations. And somewhere all the way in Jericho, Rahab hears the story and she believes and renounces her own idols and says, this is the God of heaven and earth. And literally seals herself with Israel and they save her. She puts this red cord. They knew exactly where she is. They save her and her family when they come into the land.

And it doesn't end there. She marries a man named Salmon or Salmon and will give birth eventually to someone named Boaz. And from Boaz will come Jesse. From Jesse will come King David. Boaz was married to Ruth.

Exactly. Another non-Israelite, Moabite, all the way to the Lord Jesus. And so Rahab is actually in the ancestral line of Jesus, of Jesus himself. I love her story because it doesn't seem like she has much to offer in the sense that she's a prostitute. She lies, right?

It's like, what does she have to offer? But in Rahab, we see that God saves us not because of our works. He saves us really because of saving faith. So she has saving faith and that's how everyone comes to Jesus.

Doesn't matter who you are, where you've been, what you've done. I came with my good grades and all of that and God said, none of those. It's the saving grace that he, by his Spirit, enables you to have is what brings you to himself. And so no one can boast before him.

And Rahab shows us that. Yeah, and also shows us out of your coming to faith, entire legacy's changed. All the way, obviously, to Jesus. But you sort of think, I messed up my life.

I gave my life to Jesus. It ends there. I know it begins there because you're going to impact generations to come.

Absolutely. I mean, what a name in the lineage of Jesus. It's so hopeful. What a story.

It's so hopeful. So Nana, as we finish up this day and even as we hit these important women, what do you want women to walk away with? You're a mom. You have two daughters and a son. I'm listening to you and I'm thinking, ugh, as a woman and especially with daughters, I would want my daughters to know God can use you.

What do you feel like as we end? What do you hope women will feel? Yeah, I've heard from some women who have said, actually, one of my daughters asked this question. I have two very different daughters.

One is an introverted, the other one is very extroverted. And she asks good questions. And so she has asked, how come the Bible seems to be so much about men? This is my nine-year-old.

Nine-year-old, wow. And that's unfortunate because I think there are people who think that, that the Bible is mostly just about men. And we do a disservice when we only, especially in the Old Testament, teach the narratives just on the men. We can learn a lot from those. They are in the Bible.

They're important for us to learn. But I think we need to dig and see all of, this is the word and the story God has given us. And if it includes women, what are we missing from that story when we don't teach the narratives of women? And what are we telling the church and even our children when we don't teach the narratives of women? And so the story that God is telling includes women. It includes Shiphrah and Puah and Leah and Rahab. And what do we miss about God when we miss the story of Rahab? Is that what you told your daughter?

Yes. Well, I wrote this book too. I wrote this book for her. I was going to say, you can tell that Nana is a professor. You know, you're a great teacher. And if you were to summarize your life, if years from now someone took a look at your life, what would you hope they would find and say about you? Ooh, we're going to hear Nana's answer in just a second.

I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to an incredible conversation with Dave and Ann Wilson with Nana Dulce on Family Life Today. The narratives about women are there. God wants to teach us through the stories of women.

Yes, of course, in the New Testament, but also in the Old Testament. I personally want to unpack those stories with my 11 and 9-year-old daughters. And honestly, I'm going to get this book for my girls.

Maybe I'll go through it with them, and maybe they'll read it on their own. Nana has written a book called The Seed of the Woman, 30 Narratives that Point to Jesus. This book traces the gospel storyline through the narratives of women, from the Garden of Eden all the way up to the birth of Christ.

It's a thoroughly biblical and encouraging book that opens up the women's lives and uncovers deep truths that shape our daily life and our faith. We want to give you a copy of this book when you partner financially with us today to help more families hear more conversations like the one you just heard. It's our thanks to you when you partner online at, or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329.

Now, that gift can be a one-time gift, or it could be a recurring monthly gift. Again, you can go to, or you can 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.

You can drop us a line at Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. All right, let's find out what Nana hopes someone would say about her years from now in the future. I hope that I'm a woman whose story is pointing to Jesus. We have 30 women here, but the story doesn't end with Mary. It continues into the New Testament, and all those women Jesus interacted with, it goes into the first century church, and all those amazing women, even when you read church history, perpetual, they're all of these amazing women, right? All the way down to church history, we mentioned Rosa Parks, we mentioned Harriet Tubman, all of these are women of faith. When it comes down to Nana Dulce in 2023, I hope that I'm living my life in a way that is pointing others to Jesus.

That I am a woman who believes that God is faithful, keeps His word, so I can live today trusting that His promises come true, and that it reflects, my everyday life reflects that truth. And tomorrow on Family Life Today, David and Wilson are joined by Laurel Slade-Wagner. She's gonna talk about something that maybe we don't talk about very much in the church, and that's what it's like to be married or be influenced or controlled by a narcissistic person. That's a touchy subject, but we're gonna dive into it tomorrow. On behalf of David and 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-18 07:17:48 / 2023-04-18 07:28:21 / 11

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