Text: 1 Chronicles 7:24
We’ve all heard of very wealthy women who don’t have spending limits and who have grown up among the most influential people of their time. Sheerah came from such a heritage and yet she never experienced opulence herself. Sheerah’s grandfather was Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, who grew up in the palaces of Egypt. After Ephraim’s sons were tragically murdered, he and his wife had a new son, Beriah (“sorrow” or “disaster”). Beriah, in turn, had a daughter named Sheerah (“remnant”). Although Sheerah was descended from the wealthy and powerful, once in the Promised Land all that wealth was a faint memory. Sheerah needed to work hard in this new land in order to provide a future for her family. And so she did -- building not one, but two cities: Lower and Upper Beth-Horon and Uzzen-Sheerah.
At one point or another in our lives we are going to go through difficult times -- low times, valleys. During these times we have two options: to build or to drown. We can build our faith and hope in the Lord, or we can drown in our problems and sorrows. Sheerah was a builder. May the God who we serve help you to build not only in the good times but also in the valleys of life.
Every Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching -- including genealogies! In this long list of the various sons of Israel, Sheerah appears. And what a fascinating woman she is. In a world of male conquerors, builders and leaders, this woman is credited with building both Lower and Upper Beth-Horon and Uzzen-Sheerah. When we study these towns in more detail, Sheerah's accomplishment is even more impressive. Lower and Upper Beth-Horon were built on either side of a road between two hills, a narrow pass that ran from the plain of Aijalon and then ascended to 2,000 feet above sea-level. If you controlled this road, you could control the highlands as well. It was therefore the location of numerous battles from the time of Joshua (and Sheerah) until the time of the Romans. Sheerah was a strategic woman. Like the daughters of Zilophehad, she was given an inheritance, and she used her inheritance wisely to fortify and protect the lands controlled by her tribe and Israel. This woman wasn't going to give up the Promised Land without a fight!
In the Bible we are taught to hope and trust only in The Lord -- to not hope in horses or military might, but rather in The Lord (Isaiah 31:1). At the same time, God wants us to steward the gifts He gives us (Matthew 25:14-30). Sheerah is a great example of a woman who hoped in The Lord and who also used the gifts God gave her wisely -- even when it meant doing a very unexpected task for a woman to do! By building these cities, she left a legacy for future generations of Israelites who were better able to protect the land because of her investment. She gave future generations peace, security, and hope because she first chose to take a risk and trust in God. What has God given you? How can you steward these gifts well so that others may benefit from your toil? How can you partner with God in building a "fortified city" that will provide peace and security for others?