The Following is an excerpt from the book: Intimate Friendship With God by Joy Dawson.
This chapter may be downloaded for later viewing in PDF format here: The Powerf Of A Woman’s Influence
The Power Of A Woman’s Influence
Women have great ability to influence others—for good or evil. Wouldn’t that be the reason the serpent approached Eve in the Garden of Eden?
When God made woman for man, He said her role was to be a “helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). Through her influence, a woman either helps a man to be holy or hinders a man from being holy. A woman is either a stepping-stone, which makes the pathway easier, or she is a stumbling block, which makes it more difficult in relation to holiness.
Because of the power of a woman’s influence for evil, it is significant that there are three passages in Proverbs warning men about immoral women (Proverbs 2:16–19; Proverbs 5; and Proverbs 6:20–35).
Note the admonition in Proverbs 6:23–29:
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adventuress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for a harlot may be hired for a loaf of bread, but an adulteress stalks a man’s very life. Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.
The adulterer is further rebuked in Proverbs 6:32–33: “He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”
There is also a special warning to leaders to guard against immoral women in Proverbs 31:3: “Give not your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.”
The king who had the greatest heritage, honor, riches, wisdom, opportunity and potential was Solomon. Yet, we read this tragic account of him in 1 Kings 11:4: “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods.” The influence of foreign women was the strongest source of temptation for him to choose sin. God knew they would be; that is why He told Solomon not to marry them.
The failure of women to exert a godly influence can produce devastating results:
What if Eve had chosen to obey God, when Satan tempted both Adam and her to sin, by exerting her God-given influence on Adam? It is far less likely Adam would have chosen to disobey God, regardless of his failure to protect Eve from Satan’s devices. Remember, the Bible says that “Adam was not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14).
What if Bathsheba had said a polite, firm “No, thank you” when David suggested committing adultery? I do not believe David would have ever raped her! What tragedy would have been averted.
What if she had said, “David, think of the implications that would inevitably come from this sin. We would both be sinning against God and our marriage partners. And greater accountability, and therefore judgment from God, would be upon you because of your level of leadership. We both know very well the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ And besides, Uriah is such an honorable husband it would be utter folly to betray his trust in me.” (It is evident from the account of Uriah’s reactions to David’s suggestions that Uriah was a man of principle and integrity. See 2 Samuel 11:9–11.)
What if Sarah had encouraged Abraham to tell the full truth about her being his wife and had urged him to trust God with their lives when they went into a new city? I do not think Abraham would have lied on two occasions by saying she was his sister.
What if she had said, “Now Abraham, because of the culture in this part of the world, I can understand your fear that the men of this city may kill you in order to have sexual relations with me. But we need to stop and think about the character of God. He did not give me this kind of physical beauty in order for us to live in fear of my being raped or your being killed. Lies are never justified or consistent with the fear of God. Let us commit ourselves into God’s all-powerful hand and pray down the fear of God upon these men as we tell the truth. I believe we will have a story of God’s miraculous intervention, and I can hardly wait to see it happen!”
There is another wonderful side to this coin of truth. God has devoted nearly the entire chapter of Proverbs 31 to the description of a virtuous woman. It is very significant that the first mark of her virtue is “the heart of her husband trusts in her” (Proverbs 31:11). I am convinced that the secret to that trust is found at the end of the chapter in verse 30: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (bold added). That means a husband can be assured of his wife’s faithfulness only to the degree he knows she fears God, and vice versa.
The influence of a holy woman cannot be measured. Many times I have heard the testimonies of men (many of them great men) who have shared that the greatest influence toward holiness in their lives has come from women.
The Bible gives us some powerful examples of godly women who exerted their influence toward men. The results speak for themselves.
One day an angel appeared to Manoah’s wife while she was out in the field and told her she was going to have a son. She had been barren for many years. As incredible as that sounded to her, she heard the angel continue to say that the child would begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines! No small announcement, right out of the blue!
This woman of humility and faith simply and totally believed the heavenly messenger and promptly reported the facts to her husband, Manoah. The strength of conviction with which she spoke would have greatly influenced him to believe God for the impossible in the natural—which he certainly did. Samson was the result of their faith. (See Judges 13.)
If ever a woman had a difficult role to play, it was Abigail. Through her humility, wisdom and swift action at the time of great crisis, she powerfully influenced David, the future king, against making major mistakes as a leader. At the same time, she saved the lives of her household and staff. (See 1 Samuel 25.)
Queen Esther went against the king’s decree and laid her life on the line by appearing in the king’s court, even though she was not summoned by him. She used her influence with the king to plead for the lives of her people, the Jews, as they were facing annihilation as a nation. Her request was granted. (See Esther 7.)
An in-depth, personal encounter with the Lord Jesus at lunchtime, by a well, produced a startling difference in a notorious woman. So powerful was the testimony of her changed life, that the whole city of Sychar in Samaria was influenced by it. (See John 4.)
As a wife and a mother of great faith, Jochebed powerfully influenced her three children who all became spiritual leaders—Moses, Aaron and Miriam (see Micah 6:4). They, in turn, became people of great faith. What a unique family.
The strength of Hannah’s godly influence on her little boy, Samuel, was immeasurable. His life was marked by the fear of the Lord—so much so that in 1 Samuel 12:18 we read that the people feared the Lord and Samuel. As a result, the course of history in Israel at that time was radically changed toward righteousness.
In Judges 4 we find Deborah, the prophetess and judge, strongly motivating the general Barak to go into battle against the Lord’s enemies. Because of her leadership and teamwork with other leaders, a mighty victory resulted from the battle. Special mention is made of the key role she played in the victory song: “The peasantry ceased in Israel, they ceased until you arose, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7).
All of these women were history makers.
Each woman today needs to understand and accept the strength of her God-given influence, choose to be the greatest possible influence toward holiness to every male who comes across the pathway of her life and pray fervently it will be so. The fear of the Lord makes it so. She then needs to exercise that influence in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. What responsibility! What accountability! What privilege! What opportunity!
We are discovering there are many aspects to the fear of the Lord. The next one I had to learn about in a very humbling way as God dealt heavily with me. I am deeply grateful to Him that He did because it greatly helped to change my life, as you shall see in the next chapter.