Women of the Bible - Anna The Woman Who Finally Got What She Wanted by Kathryn Capoccia Young Adults Sunday School Class All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. © Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. I. Introduction A. Singing 1. "I've Got Peace Like a River" 2. "I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord" (#238) 3. "Seek Ye First" B. Opening Prayer C. Personal Testimony "Good morning. Welcome to 'Women of the Bible.' For the next three months we will be looking at some of the women of the Bible who pleased the Lord, and some who did not. I hope that by the end of our study we will all have learned some good things about these women and about how to study the Bible. But before we get started on today's lesson, I'd like to tell you a little about myself, since most of you don't know me. It's a privilege for me to be here with you today. When I was a child I didn't know the Lord, I never went to Church, and I wasn't even sure that God really existed. I grew up in a small city in California called Whittier, about 30 minutes from Los Angeles. My parents were good people but they didn't have a personal relationship with God. We went to church when I was very young but by the time I was in kindergarten we'd stopped going. All I knew about God was the song 'Jesus Loves Me' and the 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep' prayer I learned at church. So I grew up kind of making up my own rules about what was right and wrong, and about what was important to do. My greatest ambition in life was to be a singer. I wanted to be a rock star: rich, famous, and successful. It was very important to me to be successful. I didn't want to waste my life. So, after college I got in a band, and on and off for about two years I tried to make it in show business. But I found it wasn't satisfying. I didn't like the people I worked with, I hated to be criticized, and any praise I heard wasn't enough. Still, it was the only thing that seemed worthwhile--so I made up my mind that I would do anything, be anything that it took to make it to the top. All the while, though, I could see that show business would never answer the big questions that had been troubling me all my life: 'Why am I here? Where am I going? and, Why do I know I'm going to die?' About that time God sent an old neighbor of mine back into my life to tell me the answers to my questions. Now, being in show business I'd become suspicious of people, but because I'd known this fellow as a child I was open to hear him. Also, about this time God's Holy Spirit was working in my heart to show me what a failure I was in His sight, what a guilty sinner I was for all the wrong things I had done and thought and wanted: everything I was. And suddenly in my heart I knew without a doubt that there was a burning Hell out there and that I was heading straight for it. So, when my friend told me that what I needed was Jesus as my Savior and Lord I gave Him my life to do with as He sees fit, and He saved me on August the 30th, 1978. That was 17 1/2 years ago and I've found Him to be everything I've needed ever since. I know why I'm here and where I'm going and I'm satisfied with my life. The Lord has given me a wonderful husband and six terrific children. My goal in life now is to please God and do whatever He wants me to do, not to please myself as I used to do. I hope that as we meet each Sunday morning that we'll be able to get to know each other better as we study about the Lord and how He worked in other women's lives. D. Overview 1. Purpose of Bible Study a) to mature (1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:18) 1PE 2:2 "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." 2PE 3:18 "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." b) to obey God (Psa 119:34) "Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart." c) to keep from sinning against God (Psa 119:11) "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." d) to be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8) "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." e) to be able to teach correctly (2 Tim 2:15) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2. Purpose of Women Study a) to learn from their examples (Heb 12:1a) "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." b) to learn from their instruction (Titus 2:4a) "Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children" 3. Method of Bible Study a) building doctrine "line upon line" (Isa 28:10) "For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there." b) comparing the Bible with itself (Inductive Method) c) asking questions of the Bible (who, what, when, where, why, and how) 4. Emphasis of Bible study: Investigation of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." II. Character Profile: Anna, The Woman Who Finally Got What She Wanted (Luke 2:36-38) "There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." A. Who was she? 1. A prophetess (Luk 2:36) "an interpreter or foreteller of the Divine Will" a) what made her a prophetess? 1) she may have been the wife of a prophet (Isa 8:3) "Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz." 2) she may have prophesied herself 3) she may have been given that name because of Luke 2 b) were other women prophetesses? Miriam (Exo 15:20), "Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing." Deborah (Judges 4:4), "Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time." Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), "Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophetess Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second District." Noadiah (Neh 6:14), "Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me." The wife of Isaiah (Isa 8:3), "Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz." The four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9), "Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied." 2. Named "Anna" or grace, the same as the Old Testament's "Hannah" 3. Daughter of Phanuel or O.T. "Penuel", "the face or appearance of God" 4. Very Old, either 84 years old or a widow for 84 years 5. A Wife for 7 years a) betrothed at 12 1/2 years old (customary age for girls: for boys 18) 1) contract negotiated by parents 2) binding agreement made with or without the knowledge, consent, or love relationship of children b) married at least 1 year later in special wedding celebration (usually 1 week long) 6. A Widow a) Did she look like a widow? She wore special clothes (Gen 38:14; Deut 24:17) "GEN 38:14 she took off her widow's clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah." "DEU 24:17 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge." b) Did she have to stay a widow? 1) she could have legally remarried since her husband's death freed her from her marriage bond (1 Cor 7:39) "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." 2) she may have voluntarily taken a vow to dedicate herself to God and not remarry (1 Tim 5:11-12) "As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge." c) Who provided for her needs? 1) her relatives (1 Tim 5:4) "If a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." 2) the church (Acts 6:1, 9:39) Acts 6:1 "In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food." Acts 9:39 "Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them." 3) the Law (Deut 10:18, 24:19-20) (gleaning) DEU 10:18 "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." DEU 24:19-20 "When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow." 4) God Himself (Jer 49:11, 68:5, 146:9) "JER 49:11 Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives. Your widows too can trust in me." "PSA 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." "PSA 146:9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked." B. What Did She Do? -- She Served God 1. She worshiped a) she never left the Temple HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN THIS CHURCH? 1) What temple was it? a] not Solomon's temple - destroyed in 586 BC by Babylonians; existed 380 yrs. (1 Kings 6:1) "In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD." b] not Zerubbabel's temple - built after Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Israel (built in 516-515 BC, remodeled by the Romans). c] Herod the Great's temple, begun in 20-19 BC, in Herod's 18th year of reign, to enlarge the old one. Construction continued until just before the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD. i] women were allowed in the Court of Women, on the East side of the temple ii] women could look into the Inner Court where sacrifices were made 2) Were there places of shelter in the temple? Along the side of the Women's Court there were store rooms where musical instruments were stored; could have provided a place of shelter for Anna 2. She worshiped day and night, i.e., continually, devotedly 3. She fasted - Why would she fast? a) to fully devote herself to prayer without distractions (2 Sam 12:15-16) "After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground." b) to express the fervency of her requests (2 Sam 1:12; Acts 14:23) 2SA 1:12 "They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword." ACT 14:23 "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust." c) to follow orthodox worship customs (Luke 18:11-12) "The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'" 4. She prayed - What would she pray about? a) Luke 2:38, the Redemption of Israel "Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." b) Luke 2:29-32, the coming of the Messiah "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." 5. She confirmed Simeon's testimony (Luke 2:38) by two or three witnesses truth confirmed (Deut 19:15) "LUK 2:38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." "DEU 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 6. She gave thanks (Luke 2:38) for answer to prayer "Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." 7. She became a witness and missionary (Luke 2:38) C. What can we learn from her? 1. What does she teach us about faith? a) She was patient; she persevered - and God answered (Luke 18:6-7) "The Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?" b) She trusted in God to provide for her needs - God provided enough that she had lived a long time c) She put God first and her faith was honored by God (1 Sam 2:30c) "Those who honor me I will honor." 1) by letting her be a confirming witness 2) by mentioning her in the Bible (Mat 26:13) "I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." d) She was happy when God answered her prayers (Pro 13:19a) "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul." 2. What Fruits of the Spirit do we see in her? a) love b) peace c) patience d) self-control III. Memory Verse: Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." IV. Closing Prayer "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
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