Women of the Bible Podcast

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Elizabeth - Week 6: Elizabeth's Song

Season:  Elizabeth

Erin Davis: Welcome back to the Women of the Bible podcast. This is season one, all about Elizabeth. We find Elizabeth’s story in just one chapter of the Bible in Luke 1. As we’ve been talking, I feel like Elizabeth has a lot to teach us about dealing with disappointment.

So you’re joining us in the Revive Our Hearts living room. We are woman who are walking through this Bible study just like you have or just like you are going to do. Bible studies are always better with friends.

So I hope that you have walked through Elizabeth with friends. I hope that you have read session six or are getting ready to read session six. Session six is all about singing.

If you were in my living room on my sheep farm getting ready to do Elizabeth, I would have a question to ask you to just get the conversation started. My question is, What is something that you’ve tried really hard to like, but just don’t? Tell us your name and tell us your thing.

I’m Erin Davis. You aren’t going to like this. We’re going to get hateful emails. But mine is the Rocky movies. My husband loves the Rocky movies. My boys love the Rocky movies. But I don’t get it. I don’t get why there are so many of them. I feel sad about the movies. I don’t like the fights in the movies. I’ve tried. I’ve watched them, and I’ve tried.

Alejandra Slemin: I’ve felt the same way about something else.

Erin: What is it?

Alejandra: My name is Alejandra. I cannot understand why people like country music. I know you love it, probably.

Erin: I was born in Nashville.

Alejandra: Sorry . . . but I cannot understand the words, anything behind it . . . and I love music.

Erin: This is a Bible study about disappointments, and I am disappointed.

Alejandra: Yes, you are disappointed.

Erin: But it is okay. You’ve listened to them?

Alejandra: I have. My musical ear cannot stand that, period!

Erin: Okay, I’m not going to try and convert you.

Alejandra: I appreciate your acceptance level me.

Jaquelle Crowe: That’s okay, because I feel like I’m going to get a lot of hate mail too. My name is Jaquelle, and I’ve tried really hard to like coffee, but I just can’t.

Alejandra: NO!

Jaquelle: I’m sorry.

Erin: I have to go in my prayer closet and pray for you. Have you tried it?

Jaquelle: I have tried coffee, many kinds. People are convinced if I just try good enough coffee that I’ll magically like it. It hasn’t worked.

Erin: You know, I appreciate that. You are a young woman; you’re a millennial, and you are an Indian walking to the beat of your own drum. Most have a whole line item in their budget for it.

Alejandra: After you have your first child, then we’ll see if you still can function. It’s not just if you like it.

Jaquelle: I’m open to it.

Erin: My husband’s aunt is the same way. She’s practically perfect in every way, but Mexican food and coffee.

Jaquelle: The Mexican food, I can’t get that, but the coffee I can.

Erin: Well, that’s a good question. If you are studying this with a group . . .

Alejandra: You’ll get to know the ladies better and figure them out.

Erin: We’ve made it to week six in Elizabeth, and it’s all about singing. So I have to know, are either of you good singers?

Alejandra: I can get around keys and play a little bit.

Jaquelle: I can carry a tune.

Erin: I’m a really good shower singer, but I’m not phenomenal.

Alejandra: There is something about bathrooms.

Erin: But I’m not a really good singer. But this whole last session is about the fact that we as the people of God really ought to be singers. We ought to be singing to the Lord.

So Elizabeth, as we’ve talked about in these podcast episodes and through the study, she faced the specific disappointment of infertility, along with the disappointment of her husband being struck mute by an angel. We don’t know how long she lived. But if she lived long enough, she would have faced the disappointment of both her son living in the wilderness wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts (he was weird), and ultimately, his imprisonment and execution.

So this is woman who faced disappointment, and specifically, the disappointment of infertility. She was not alone in that exact brand of disappointment.

I know there are women who are going to listen to this podcast and pick up the study, and that is the disappointment for them. They want a child so desperately. Maybe like Elizabeth, they’ve done the right thing: They married the right guy. They are in ministry. They’ve trusted the Lord. Yet . . . their arms are empty. Maybe that room in their home that they can picture as a nursery, it remains a guest room.

Alejandra: The reality hits.

Erin: The reality hits. And like Elizabeth, year after year after year, that disappointment remains.

Elizabeth was not alone in that exact disappointment in Scripture. Can you think of some other women in Scripture who had to face infertility? There is a long list of them.

Jaquelle: Hannah immediately comes to mind.

Alejandra: Sarah.

Erin: Rachel had to face it. Michal, David’s wife, had to face it.

So we’ve used Elizabeth as the archetype for discussing disappointment, but in this session we really looked at Hannah. Hannah is in the temple. She’s praying at such a level that the prophet thinks she is drunk. That’s some intense praying.

I think there is a temptation when we face disappointment to feel like, I’m the only one who’s ever had to go through this.All my friends have ____ (a baby, a home, a perfect job, a believing husband, a husband at all, children who behave, children who are healthy).

Elizabeth couldn’t have known personally all these other women in Scripture who dealt with infertility, but there is something about solidarity. This idea that other women have gone through this. Other women have faced disappointment.

Have you ever walked through a season of disappointment? Where another woman facing it too has been an encouragement?

Alejandra: Yes. I think ladies in the body of Christ that make themselves available. When they say, “I feel like you are going through something,” or “I can tell you are going through something.” They just hold your hand through the process, and they point you to Christ. It’s so helpful.

Like you said, you feel like you are not alone. They affirm that. They help you battle the thoughts of your reality.

I think one thing we could do with disappointment is also downplay it and not think that this is something I’m going through and it is a problem.

Erin: Do we feel we have freedom as women to say, “I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in how this turned out.”

Alejandra: We hide and cry at night or become depressed or just talk to our doctor and say, “I can’t handle this.” We don’t necessarily reach out to the right sources. I think that’s where you see Hannah and even Sarah. You see many women of the Bible going to the right place with their disappointment. They are not necessarily hiding it from everybody.

Erin: Vulnerability is a buzz word. We think, Yay, everyone is being vulnerable. She’s sharing everything on social media. But I do think there is power in saying, “This is disappointing. I wish this would have turned out differently.”

I know it is the women I have seen be transparent, they are not the women wallowing in it, but they are facing the disappointment and trusting the Lord in it. Those are the women I will reach out to when I am disappointed.

For Hannah, it wasn’t contained. It wasn’t pretty. She was doing the ugly cry in front of all of these people. She was very open for a short burst. She was disappointed about the Lord’s choice to close her womb. I think there is power in that.

Jaquelle: I’m reminded of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said that so much of the unhappiness that comes in to our life is because we are listening to our own voice.

That’s what happens when I think we isolate ourselves, when we don’t want to be vulnerable, when we don’t want to go to someone else.

I think of the women who have played a powerful part in my life. When I’m going through disappointment, to just be there and not try to be Job’s worthless friends and try to fix the problem. But we’re like, “I get it. Tell me if there is anything I can do for you. I’m praying for you. I’m praying with you, and I’m here for you.”

Erin: Even today as we were recording this podcast . . . I have this inner circle of women. They are my ride or die people. There is a situation going on now in one of the families, and we are all texting each other every few days.

This is what we are saying to each other: “I love you. I will be there in two hours if I have to be. I’m on your team. I will always be on your team. Can I bring your dinner?”

We’re not saying that this isn’t hard. We are saying that this is hard. We’re not saying that it’s going to be okay, because we don’t know if it’s going to be okay. But we are saying, “I know this is disappointing. I know that you are suffering. I love you. I love you. I love you.”

I think that is strengthening.

Alejandra: Even as you were mentioning. At times, I will sing for you. I will praise for you. I will somehow be that support that I know you can’t even voice. I think a problem is accountability.

When we bring someone else into our disappointment or into our struggle, you’re going to have accountability. I think sometimes we run from that.

Jaquelle: It’s scary.

Alejandra: It’s scary not that for me to do better. But to just share my heart and where I’m at. I need to be ready to be fed by someone else and receive that with grace.

Sometimes we want to keep that . . . I’ve got it all together.

You have to be vulnerable. You have to be accountable. You have to receive what God has given you from those people with grace.

Erin: You mentioned, I will praise for you. I love that. I think there is a biblical call to carry one another’s burdens. I think that because they become lighter.

When someone you love is going through something hard, praising the Lord for them, showing them that there is still reason to praise, standing beside them in church and singing your guts out for the glory of God, can’t help but to strengthen them.

The Bible talks about the sacrifice of praise. I love that phrase. Why do you think the Bible calls praise a sacrifice?

Jaquelle: Because praise isn’t always easy. It doesn’t come naturally . . . especially in disappointment and suffering.

Erin: I love Sunday morning. I love to be in the church. I feel like the rest of the week there are dogs chasing me and ready to chomp on to my ankles. But when I get in the sanctuary with the body of Christ I feel, “Ah . . . somebody called off the dogs!”

I know enough about my local church body to know, “She’s singing, and she’s going through the hard.” That couple is here ,and they are going through something hard. His hands are in the air, and he is worshipping, and he is walking through a season of hard. That is a sacrifice of praise.

Jaquelle: It makes praise mean so much more. I think all of us can fall into we know the words, we can sing the words, but we don’t even think about the words.

When we have to come to worship when we don’t feel like it and we make that sacrifice of praise, it’s hard, but it is so beautiful and precious.

Erin: Why do we continue to do it? Because Jesus is still worthy. That’s what we are saying to each other. We’re saying, “Yeah, we’re broken. This is broken; the culture is broken. But Jesus is worthy of us being here.” So there is something about singing to each other.

As you have been reading Elizabeth’s story over and over in these weeks, why struck you about how Elizabeth encouraged others?

Alejandra: It doesn’t record her lamenting through the years prior to receiving this news. Her not complaining but quietly, patiently waiting for the Lord to save. I think that says a lot about a women, because we tend to voice things very quickly . . . because we feel it we think it must be true. There’s not Scripture recorded that she complained. On the opposite side, she felt honored.

When Mary came, it was beautiful how she received her with such grace. She shared that station of their lives with such love. That really got to me.

Erin: Her excitement about Mary’s pregnancy is phenomenal to me. She is what I call a champion. She’s going to champion Mary. She could have done differently.

She could have thought, I have waited all my life. I was married. I am now older and pregnant. This young thing is not even married. She’s doing it all out of order. And she gets to have the Savior, the Messiah?

She could have been embittered, but she wasn’t. She so thrilled for Mary. The Scripture doesn’t necessarily say that she’s singing. But she is saying that this baby in my womb is leaping. She is the first human to declare Jesus’ lordship. That baby she calls the Lord.

That’s not a heart attitude that wasn’t created over time. That’s not a heart position that didn’t take time. She clearly was tethered to the Lord. She was excited for what the Lord would do.

Maybe she did some singing over that baby in Mary’s womb. We have that same call to encourage each other. I’m going to read us Ephesians 5 because it gets pretty specific about how we do that.

Encouragement is another one of the Christian buzzwords. But what does that mean? Ephesians 5:18–21 says this:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

How do we encourage one another? This is telling us to sing to each other. Now, that might feel a little silly. There’s an older gentleman in our church (he’s gone now). But he would come and say the psalms out loud at the beginning of Sunday. He would talk about, “What a great day it is to be singing in the house of the Lord.”

And we say, “Yes, it is!”

There is power in our songs and singing to each other in the midst of disappointment and encouraging the disappointed ones in our lives . . . which is all of us.

Alejandra: Could it mean not disappearing from the means of grace that the Lord has provided for us to be in the community of fellowship?

Sometimes when I feel disappointed I feel on that Sunday, I’m not going to church. It’s so easy. I stop going to the Bible study. I have friends who when I’m not at Bible study go, “You’re depressed.”

I say, “How do you know?”

They say, “Because you withdraw.”

I think we tend to do that. This is so important that we understand that even if you don’t feel like singing, at least surround yourself with people who are singing, because that is speaking into your spirit and into your heart. That is encouraging.

Erin: And to remind ourselves why we are singing at church?

I know of a young man who’s been coming to our church for many, many weeks. At first he would say to his neighbor, “Why do you have a concert?” That was his words. He hadn’t been at church.

Jaquelle: People come together and sing. Where else does that happen?

Erin: Over the weeks as the Lord softened his heart, he went, “Oh, I get it. You are singing truth to each other.” It’s good for us to remember that yes, that’s what we are doing.

You mentioned the temptation to withdraw. That same group of friends that I mentioned who were texting each other, it’s been a couple years now . . . But we had Bible study, and one time I was sad. I was upset. Fifteen minutes before the Bible study I bailed. I was supposed to teach it, so that’s really not great.

They know me well enough to fight for me. So I sent my husband and kids away, and I got in the bathtub. And I hear this pound, pound, pound, pound, pound on the door. I’m like, “Uh oh.” So I get out in a bathrobe with my hair in a towel, and there were my Bible study girls. They said . . .

Alejandra: We’re coming in or you’re coming out.

Erin: I’m so grateful for that. I’m so grateful when somebody notices I’m not at church. We all have our spots, right? So when we are not there . . .

Or even if I am at church, to sing with me, to sing beside me, to remind me why we sing. The Bible is full of a call for His people to sing.

Let’s read a couple passages of Scripture. If you’re not sure that you should be singing, then spend a little bit of time in Psalms. We’ve got some passages from Psalms of the people of God singing.

Jaquelle, you have . . . what passage do you have for us?

Jaquelle: I have Psalm 71:23.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

Erin: I love that! “My lips will shout for joy.” It’s a, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to shout for joy. I’m going to sing to You.” It’s a choice. I love that.

What passage do you have, also from Psalms.

Alejandra: I have Psalm 95:1.

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Erin: It’s that “let us.” Come on! Let’s do it, church! Let’s us make a joyful noise.

Jaquelle: I love that the singing is connected to the greatness of God. So even when we feel disappointed and we do not feel like singing for our own sake, we are not singing about ourselves. We are singing about the glory of our God. That’s why we are here.

Erin: I can get a little bit squeamish about those songs that we are singing in the church that are about us folks. I have plenty of practice focusing on myself. I do that all year. I’m pretty self-absorbed—I can be in my flesh.

This, oh, let us come together and sing about the greatness of GOD! Let us think about Him, collectively. Let us do it loudly. Let’s focus on Him.

Psalm 105:2 is the passage I have.

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

An exclamation point right there in Scripture. The Bible is full of that charge. Like . . . come on, church, let’s sing about Him. Let’s sing to Him. Let’s sing together. Let’s sing as we go. Let’s sing in the car. Let’s sing in the church. Let’s sing from the rooftops.

You know what there is a lot of going on in the church? Hand wringing. Like, “Oh, the culture is dark. The times are dreary. The election is whatever.”

I think this seems like an overly simplistic solution, but I don’t have a plan better than the Lord’s throughout all of time.

Let’s sing. Let’s sing about the goodness of God.

Jaquelle: When you look at what was going on in the psalmist’s lives, there was hard stuff. Look at the minor prophets. These people were going through disappointments. Their cultures were in chaos. But they still could sing. They were going back to the truth of who God was. That gave them joy.

Erin: Because we don’t sing about our circumstances. We’re singing about the goodness of God that never changes. We’re singing about the promises of God which are going to come true.

Think about Paul and Silas in prison. They are in chains. They don’t know what we know, which is, there is about to be an earthquake . . . As far as they know, they are facing persecution and death.

And tied together in their cell, they start to sing. The prisoners are amazed. Likewise, the prisoners here, those who are in chains, are amazed when the people of God start singing. There’s real power in it.

So I think of that woman who is right now in her car, and she’s listening to the podcast, or she is in the kitchen and she’s got her earbuds in, and she’s facing disappointment. The idea of singing in the midst of that just feels too hard.

I just want us to give her reasons to sing. Even in the midst of disappointment, what reasons do we have to keep singing? Let’s just rattle them off.

Jaquelle: I’ve been redeemed.

Alejandra: I think of who God is. I think of Psalm 104:1 that says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great!”

I think if you go through the book of Psalms, just reading it and saying it out loud. It doesn’t say just say it in your heart quietly and do nothing. There is a physical expression of this thing for who God is. You just have to focus on who He is.

Sometimes, like in Elizabeth’s case, she was bringing up a son in a very difficult time. She knew it was not going to be pretty for him. Mary knew it was not going to be pretty for Jesus.

You see these women and you hear about them. You read the words and you feel their hearts. You can tell that they love God.

I think we have to work on Him . . . seeing Him and knowing Him. When you know Him, you know what He has done, what He’s doing, and what He can do.

Erin: I want to sing. We see all throughout Scripture people who once they encounter the living God, there is a couple responses that we commonly see in Scripture. They either fall down flat on their faces because of His holiness. Or oftentimes, they will begin to sing.

Think about the time when the people of God got through the parted Red Sea. Miriam busted out that tambourine. They weren’t allowed to carry much out of Egypt, but she took a tambourine. They spontaneously, as a holy conga line on the other side of the Read Sea, started singing.

The angels, we see them singing at Christ’s birth. We go to the throne room in Revelation and there are these strange creatures, and over and over they are going, “Holy, holy, holy, holy.” There’s this cadence of song.

I think it is a good and right response when you focus on who God is.

You know that creation makes us sing. We go outside, and we go, “Oh my goodness . . . You’ve made leaves in every color. You’ve made butterflies with all these different colored wings. You’ve painted stripes on zebras.” That makes us want to sing.

Alejandra: What if I don’t feel like singing. I like singing, but there are days that I do not feel like praising. If you can’t praise for what is around you, certainly look up for who He is and what He has done.

And for what He has done in your life. Hey sister, go way back. Think of when you were a child.

Erin: You’ve mentioned redemption. There have been times that I’ve thought, Jesus saved me from my sin, and if He never does another thing for me . . . that is worth singing every second.

Alejandra: Start from the bare bones. Even if your childhood was not good, move up to your teenage years. Move to where you met Christ, where He met you, and start from there. Start praising Him for every little detail and every little thing that He brings to your mind.

Ask Him to bring a song of praise to me, to my heart, to my soul. Next thing, I’m telling you, you’re going to be on your knees with your hands lifted, saying, “Thank You, Jesus.” You’ll forget why you were not praising Him in the first place.

Erin: It’s not faking it until you make. He is so worthy. If you will be disciplined to sing to the Lord in seasons of trial—which aren’t they all at some level?

I’ve got to be honest, I’m a morning person, but mornings are hard at my house because people need a lot from me. I can default to being grumpy. I have to discipline that I will wake up and I will put on my favorite worship song in the kitchen while I’m doing the “things” because I’m making the choice. Jesus is worthy every day of worship.

So find that song, get yourself to church, be a woman who sings even in the midst of disappointment.

There’s a Charles Spurgeon quote that we put in the Bible study. He said it this way: “We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies. So let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem.

That’s what we do here. It’s one big choir practice for what’s to come.

I think as we face seasons of disappointment, to offer the sacrifice of praise to the Lord is how we face it with grace. It’s how we be Elizabeths.

Jaquelle: It’s looking up and looking ahead. This perspective that is focused not just on our circumstances, but it looks to eternity. But the day is coming when we will be able to sing and praise with no sadness, no more disappointment. The day is coming where there is no more tears. Worship will flow freely from a heart that is consumed by eternal joy.

Erin: I sing with my people at church or at a True Woman conference or any time I sing . . . I like to think about what we just did is what we’ll be doing a million years from now and a hundred million years from now and a million million years from now. It’s good to practice the praise of the Lord—and maybe especially in seasons of disappointment.

So what do you do next if you are a woman who is in a season of disappointment? Why don’t you start with praise. You can get off this podcast and right where you are, find a way to worship the Lord, because He is so worthy.

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About the Teachers

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

Women of the Bible