Huldah: A Prophetess & Biblical Leader
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve reflected upon the stories of woman leaders who were committed to God’s calling on their lives. We also touched upon women who exemplified servant leadership while playing a prominent role in kingdom building.
This week let’s dive into another woman leader in Scripture. Her story is told in the Old Testament. She gives us a beautiful picture of faithful, courageous leadership according to God’s standards. She provides a model that each of us can seek to emulate as we lead. Her name is Huldah.
Who was Huldah?
Huldah was a prophetess who is mentioned in the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. At this time, King Josiah was desperate to hear from the Lord. This desperation was due to a book of the law that was discovered by a high priest in the Lord’s temple. With this finding came the shocking realization that the nation of Israel was not following God’s law. They had gone astray and were disobedient and burned incense to other gods.
The book of the law was brought to King Josiah. “When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders … ‘Go and inquire of the Lord for me … Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us” (2 Kings 22:11-13, NIV). King Josiah commanded his priest to inquire as to what would happen to the disobedient nation.
So, these men immediately went to the prophetess Huldah in Jerusalem. Huldah was known as a faithful prophetess who served God well. Her husband, Shallum, was the keeper of the wardrobe. It is written, “as a prophetess in the reign of King Josiah, Huldah could be found sitting in the central part of the city ready to receive and counsel any who wished to inquire of Jehovah. Ranking with Deborah and Hannah among the rare women of the Old Testament, Huldah’s standing and reputation is attested to in that she was consulted, rather than Jeremiah, when the lost book of the law was found, and that her word was accepted by all as a divinely revealed one.” (Zondervan, 1988)
Huldah was a servant leader who like many of the women of the Bible showed great leadership due to her obedience in serving God. Let’s take a look at a few of those qualities she displayed in her leadership.
Huldah led with Courage
Huldah was courageous. She had a message from God, and she shared the message of the coming destruction with bold faith. Huldah boldly declared, “This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched’” (2 Kings 22:16-17, NIV).
When asked to interpret the meaning, Huldah did not waiver in her commitment to serve as God’s spokesperson. It took incredible bravery for Huldah to speak faithfully to the high-ranking priest and king of the nation. She did not massage the message or dilute the Word of God. Huldah spoke directly to those in authority and trusted God to protect and honor her obedience.
Is there an area where you are being called to speak courageously? Are you being led to take a stand for what is right or speak out in faith?
Huldah led with Truth
Huldah had the gift of prophecy. In the Old Testament prophets spoke the authoritative Word of God directly. As we see in 2 Kings 22:14, she was given the ability to hear and interpret God’s Word, His truth. Huldah did not use her gift for her own advantage or personal benefit. She did not use her gift of prophecy to build her personal fortune or gain power.
Rather, she used what the Lord had given her to further His kingdom. Huldah used her gift of prophecy well. She made the most out of her gifts by serving the Lord and her fellow Israelites.
Her ability to speak the Word of God in a clear and articulate manner allowed God to use her in times such as this. Huldah had the courage to speak God’s Word and communicate the dire consequences due to the disobedience of the nation.
Are you using your gifts for your personal gain or benefit? Or are you using your gifts to serve others and glorify God?
Huldah led with Submission
Huldah lived her life in a posture of openness and submission. She was prepared, always keeping her heart open to hear from God. She was equipped to serve.
Her posture of surrender allowed her to serve God with honor. Huldah was a humble leader. She was not prideful or arrogant. She used her gift to obediently serve God and the nation. She demonstrated great restraint with such a powerful gift. It is said “she did not assert her own authority but was faithful to proclaim God’s Word” (Holman Study Bible for Women).
Because Huldah was prepared to serve the Lord, she was offered the opportunity to serve in an extraordinary position for women of that time. When the king needed to hear from God, Huldah was the chosen prophet to speak God’s Word. She was accessible, obedient, and equipped to fulfill the need. Huldah lived her life with palms open, therefore, God used her in an incredible way.
Are you serving in a posture of openness and submission? Are you prepared to serve when the opportunity arises? How are you equipped to fulfill the needs of your family or community?
Huldah gave the glory to God
Huldah served with courage, truth, and submission. Through her service to God, the people were saved. She used her voice and her platform to deliver a prophetic message from the Lord to the people of Israel, which saved them from God’s wrath.
I would like to believe that had I been in her position, I would have led with the same integrity. With Huldah, nothing was lost in translation. Huldah did not soften God’s Words when she spoke that God would bring disaster on this place and its inhabitants due to their disobedience. What courage! Huldah did not shrink back in fear or soften the message. She was very clear. And, my friend, that took quite a bit of courage and faith. Huldah knew where her strength came from and she did not waiver in serving God.
Huldah spoke God’s message in complete faith. The phrase, “This is what the LORD says . . .” is repeated three times in her prophecy. Huldah understood her responsibility and opportunity to be a channel through whom God delivered His Word. She did not see this opportunity as her time to shine. Huldah saw this opportunity as her time to serve God humbly. She gave the honor and glory to God.
Serving in the midst of everyday life
Much like the women before her, Huldah served in the midst of everyday life. And, we have a lot to learn from women leaders of the Bible such as Huldah. These women led with courage, used their voices and platforms for kingdom building, and were always ready to share God’s message—not their own.
As you read about the leadership qualities of Huldah, how can you put these qualities into practice this week?
What gifts have you been given and how are you using these gifts in your leadership?
Who has God specifically appointed you to lead or who are you being called to lead?
Who or what burdens you? How will you take steps this week to serve this population?
My prayer is that you will use your God-given gifts to enhance the lives of those around you. Are you ready?