Huldah isn’t a famous bible heroine. You’ve probably never heard of her. I’ve yet to see her featured in a women’s Bible study or a Sunday school curriculum.
Yet her story is short and powerful. Which is why we spend a whole chapter on Hudlah in Working Women of the Bible. She’s called upon during a time when the people desperately need to hear from God. And she’s called upon because of one reason: her reputation.
Just before Huldah enters the scene young Kind Josiah commissions the people to rebuild and
repair the temple. It is likely in complete disarray due to years and years of neglect. In the process of repairing the temple, the high priest Hilkiah discovers a lost scroll, probably the book of Deuteronomy. Guess who the King calls on to authenticate the scroll? His closest advisors? The High Priest? His Secretary of State?
No. no. And no.
He doesn’t even call on one of the well-known male prophets of his time, like Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Instead, he calls upon an unknown woman, Hudlah, to validate the most important discovery of his lifetime!
Without hesitation, King Josiah sends the high priest, Hilkiah, to consult Huldah. They consult her at her home in the second quarter of Jerusalem. The second quarter is the section in front of the temple. This quarter has also been translated “in the college”—the Hebrew word is mishneh, meaning “place of repetition.”
Since education is often an oral affair in the ancient world, tradition is such that Huldah is some kind of teacher. We also know that Huldah is the wife of Shallum. His job is keeping the wardrobe—either for the priest or king. This would have placed his family close to the life of the temple and palace. We don’t know much more about Huldah’s background. Like I said, she’s not exactly famous. But King Josiah obviously
has her on speed dial.
Why pick an unknown woman for such an important job in a male-dominated society?
It’s obvious. Huldah is a true expert in her field. She has an impeccable reputation. And she likely studies for years and years (without expectation of promotion or recognition) to prepare for this moment. Not only does she authenticate the ancient text, she goes on to prophesy – to deliver a tough message to the King that will shape the course of his destiny.
We have so much to learn from Huldah’s patience, persistence, and quiet preparation. Like Huldah, many of us are spending years and years establishing a professional reputation. Most of us will never be famous. We think that God won’t use our work, simply because we’re not well known. Our jobs are too small. No one has ever asked us to do anything important. Why should we expect any different?
Yet often God uses the quiet and faithful for greatness. There is no substitute for experience, and experience takes time. We live in a fast-track, quick-fix culture. We want to see results right now. But God in his wisdom is preparing us for the right time and the right moment.
Are you striving to be an expert in your field? Do you get frustrated “paying it forward” without recognition or results?
How does Huldah’s story inspire us to serve, invest, and wait?
Let’s continue our mini-series next week. Will you help me share the stories of these amazing women?
- Esther – Finishing The Job (February 25)
- Lydia – Risking Your Business for Your Faith (March 4)
Working Women of the Bible releases in March 2013. Care to join my launch team? It’s easy. Pray that women all over the world would be touched by these stories, and share this resource with your family and friends. This includes writing an Amazon Review or hitting the “like” button on Amazon, posting to your favorite social meeting site (such as Facebook) or writing a blog post or group email. Check out 8 Ways to Help Your Favorite Author* by my agent, Rachelle Gardner and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join the launch team.