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Won’t Heaven be Grand!?

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While reading about how God watched over and took care of Elijah the prophet in I Kings this morning, I had this overwhelming joy as I thought about how wonderful it will be to meet people like Elijah when we get to Heaven. Oh, the stories he and all of God’s great prophets can tell! But until then, we are so privileged to have God’s only true KJV Word:

I Kings 17:1-16 “1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” And they had to do absolutely nothing but trust in God!

Won’t it be grand to sit and listen to all the people in God’s Word who are now in Heaven share the glories of our Lord while they made their journeys through this finite human world?! There is not enough paper in this world to write it all down.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in God's Love

 

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The Cunning and Courageous Jael

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If you have ever done any study on Sisera, the Captain of the host of King Jabin of Canaan, you know how ruthless he was against their captives. So, I do take satisfaction in the story of how God used Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, to kill this evil Sisera. His army was overcome by Barak and Judge Deborah and he fled on foot to Heber and Jael’s tent. It is quite gory how she accomplished the feat of killing Sisera. She most likely had somewhat against him. You can read the account in Judges Chapter

Jael was of the semi-nomadic desert tribe of the Kenites, who since the time of Moses were in close contact with the Israelites. They were farmers and metalworkers who had probably learned their skills in the Egyptian copper mines of the Sinai Peninsula.

Heber, meaning ally, had left his own people, the Kenites, and pitched his tent far north, close to Hazor. He had become an ally of Jabin, possibly helping him to develop his powerful chariots. So, Jael’s decision to side with the Israelites and not with the Canaanites, her husband’s allies, was highly significant. Such action suggests that she placed her heart’s commitment to God above that to her own husband.

So Sisera was running to find somewhere to hide and Jael called to him and offered him refuge in her tent. She gave him goat’s milk or yogurt (a precious drink for Bedouins) and she cunningly helped him to sleep. Then, using her own working tools, a peg and a hammer that she used to erect her tents, Jael killed her guest, the enemy of Israel and of Yahweh.

The fact that Sisera sought safety in the tent of a friend and found death is quite ironic, as is the fact that he fearfully hid from the mighty warriors who pursued him, while he fearlessly trusted himself for shelter to the hands of a humble woman. The great warrior, Sisera, suffered the ultimate humiliation by dying at the hands of a woman; Jael received consummate praise for her heroic act in Deborah’s song in Judges 5:24 – “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.”

Yahweh again showed Himself as the One True God through fulfilled prophecy in Judges 4:9, 21 – “And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh…Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.” As well as glorious victory in Judges 4:23, 24 “So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.” God honored womanhood when He used Deborah and Jael to accomplish His purpose of delivering His people from their enemies.

Judges 5

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.
5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways.
7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.
10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.
11 They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.
13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.
18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.
20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.
22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.
23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,
30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2019 in Godly Women

 

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Deborah – Distinguished Judge

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Deborah means bee in Hebrew. She appears to have been a homemaker at the time she was selected for service to her country. She had no noble or blue-blooded ancestors, and is identified simply as “the wife of Lapidoth.” Yet Deborah was the only woman in Scripture who was elevated to a position of high political power simply by the common consent of her peers. Though her homemaking responsibilities may well have taken a back seat during her service to her country, she described herself as “a mother in Israel” before whe became a judge. – Judges 5:7 “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” Whether this was a reference to her own offspring or an expression of her spiritual motherhood toward every son and daughter of Israel is of no importance.

Israel’s spirituality was dried up at the time, and characterized by rejection of God and by a determination among the people for each to do things his/her own way – Judges 17:6; 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes…In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Deborah was first a counselor, as she displayed her leadership under a large palm tree near her home by discussing and suggesting solutions to people with problems. The civil court system at the time was incompetent; the military was too weak to defend national borders; the priesthood of what had been a theocracy was corrupt and ineffective. Normal life was no longer possible, and so Deborah became a judge and finally a deliverer of her people in a time of war.

At the time, the despised King Jabin was harassing the Israelites, so Deborah called in Barak, from the tribe of Naphtali on the northern border, and ordered him to recruit an army of 10,000 men from his own tribe and the neighboring tribe of Zebulun. I mean, that is what most women might do; call the men to stand and fight. But the cowardly Barak wavered, insisting that Deborah accompany him for the task – Judges 4:8 “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.” She not only joined the drive to raise an army, but she also gave them a strategy. God had spoken in the past through His leaders, Moses and Joshua, and now He was speaking through Deborh. Yahweh came and helped Deborah with a violent thunderstorm – Judges 5:4 “LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.” Then there was a mini replay of the crossing of the Red Sea, and the horse-drawn chariots of the enemy floundered.

The destruction of Canaanite power was immortalized in one of the finest specimens of Hebrew poetry by Deborah and Barak. They picture in praise the events which led to victory for the people. Long before Deborah exercised her uncommon leadership and decision-making skills to save her nation in a time of trouble, she was a homemaker–a wife and mother in Israel. Her compassion was awakened by the atrocities her people suffered. She arose to make herself available, and she was victorious as she herself trusted God, then she inspired others within her sphere of influence with the same trust.

Judges 5

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.
5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways.
7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.
10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.
11 They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.
13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.
18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.
20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.
22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.
23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,
30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Godly Women, Uncategorized

 

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Rahab – A Woman of Great Discernment

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I love reading the old stories of how God used so many vessels we would look at as unworthy to accomplish His will. And I love the stories of the women in Jesus’ lineage. Rahab was one of those women! She was clearly an intelligent woman who showed a remarkable knowledge of the recent history of Israel, and of what God was doing for the Israelites when they drew near to her country. In fact, she seemed more aware of God’s intervention for Israel than Israel was. Compare – Joshua 2:9-11 “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” to Joshua 1:2, 11, 13 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel…Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it…Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” She also had wisdom enough to obtain an agreement for protection from the spies, hid them, and out-smarted her own people when they came looking for them.

It took a lot of guts for Rahab to help the spies and arrange the deliverance of her entire family. Her siding with the Israelites was treason, punishable by death, not only for herself, but also for her whole family. Once she made her decision, there was no turning back.

Finally, Rahab was a woman who showed great spiritual insight. She recognized the difference between Israel’s God and the gods she and her people served. God was supreme–He did not share His rule in the heavens and the earth the way their gods did – Joshua 2:11 “And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

We can see Rahab’s first confession of faith in her use of Yahweh’s name. Without any support or input from her world or Israel’s, she claimed the covenant name God gave to Moses when the Israelites first left Egypt – Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Then again, without any encouragement from others, she acted on her commitment by hiding the spies. This kind of faith was not often seen in God’s own people in the Old Testament, let alone from a Gentile harlot! It makes me think that Rahab had come to know the God of the Israelites and had a relationship with Him, even if it began out of fear for herself and her family. This is another great testimony to how valuable EACH and EVERY soul on earth is to our Lord God Jehovah! He would that NONE should perish!

This woman is a wonderful role model for making the right decisions and standing firm, even when it means going against our own peers. No wonder God wanted to honor her faith and courage by placing her in the line of our Messiah. Boaz, one of the most gentle and Godly men in the Old Testament, was her offspring. We are reminded of this in Matthew 1:5 “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;” As well as in the Book of Ruth. God honored Rahab’s faith and courage by placing her in the lineage, not only of Israel’s great King David – Matthew 1:6 “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;” But ALSO of Jesus, the King of Kings – Matthew 1:1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Godly Women

 

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Naomi and Ruth

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Ahhh, the Book of Ruth. There is so much that can be gleaned from this beautiful story of how God blessed the loving commitment and loyalty between the Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law. These two women had, of course, grown close and been great comfort to each other when they lost their husbands in the land of Moab. I am sure that Naomi felt very grateful that Ruth insisted upon staying with her and melding her life with Naomi’s, even taking God Jehovah to be her God. They made a choice to be there for each other as though they were mother and daughter by blood. This is a great example of how we ought to think of our son’s wives today. What sweet relationship we can share if we welcome each other as family instead of in-laws. Unfortunately, some treat these new additions to their families as outlaws. I have experience that myself, sad to say. When I referred to my new sister-in-laws as sisters, I was told blatantly that we are sisters-in-law. Sadly, none of us have ever grown very close. My mother-in-law was very precious on the other hand. She lived with my husband and I while she had spinal stenosis and waited for surgery, which healed her, and then for a year after. When she was completely healed, she wanted her own independence and her own place. I would take her shopping every couple of weeks as she was afraid to drive any more, too many curb shots.She had a very sweet spirit and is with Jesus now. I promised my sweet new daughter that she will never be treated as an outlaw, nor even and in-law by us. She is part of our family now and we have gained another daughter. We are so so grateful that she loves our son as much as we do. ❤

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the sad fact that there are also some young women who act like monster daughters-in-law for whatever reason. I believe we must chalk that wrong behaviour up to their being young and immature, especially if they are immature in their walk with the Lord. Usually it is just them growing out of their insecurities as a young one. If there seems to be an issue with the young woman acting like she needs to one-up or compete with her new mother-in-law for her husband’s affections, that is definitely a problem and should lovingly and kindly be addressed. Sometimes it is best to love her and pray for God to move in her heart, for He can do all things.

There is also something to be learned from the Hebrew culture back in Bible times. Their family structure included many relationships: both those related by blood and those related by marriage. In the Hebrew society, a husband and wife were more closely associated with the groom’s parents than the bride’s. You will rarely, if ever, see this happen in today’s American society. First of all, current culture seems to want to belittle and demean the man of the home whom God placed as the head of the home. Wives run everything while the husband, when there is one, is told how things are and how they are going to be, hence one reason why the family is being torn apart in this country, leading to its eventual downfall. Unfortunately, many of these whipped men are perfectly okay with their wives running the show.

In any event, in Biblical times, the bride left her family and people to become a member of her husband’s family with all the rights and responsibilities of a daughter – Ruth 1:1-7 “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.” So we see that the two daughters-in-law had become like daughters to Naomi.

Because people are people, those relationships in the husband’s family ranged from extremely hostile – Genesis 26:34, 35 “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” to lovingly helpful – Ruth 4:15 “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.”

God’s plan for husbands and wives in Genesis 2:24 is very specific – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” In other words, a man is to forsake dependence upon, release, and let go of his dependence upon his parents. Jesus addressed another aspect of the issue in Matthew 19:6 “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” No one is to come between the couple. If we as parents have done our job and led our children to be independent and responsible as they grew older, trusting them to be self-sufficient and in God’s care, it is a little easier to let them go and be what God leads them to be and do what God leads them to do.

However, this does not mean that the couple is to forsake their parents like they never existed. Remember, God gave a Commandment concerning children and parents, and He did not put a time limit on it – Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” We know this as the first Commandment with promise. So, the gist is that our loyalties will move from our parents to our spouse. This can be quite a challenge for both the parents and the couple, especially when the child had a close loving and loyal relationship with his/her parents.God knew this would be a challenge, but He also knew that the answer was for the couple to become one and still honour their parents. The key to it all is keeping the Lord first, as our focal point in the home.

Having gone through three children leaving the nest, I have learned that it is best for us parents to stay out of things unless they come and ask counsel. I try never to give un-solicited advice. Have I messed up “a time or two” in that area? Of course, and I probably will again, but I try. If I am working on my own close relationship with my Lord, I will know the Holy Spirit’s prompting to either be still or speak what He leads. The young couple needs guidance and direction as they grow in becoming one, but the first point of that guidance and direction must be God Jehovah. If they are close to Him, they will discern when He leads them to seek counsel from their parents. And who better to go to than those who know them better than anyone else and who has their best interests at heart. Needless to say, the parents have been through it themselves. It truly does also help if we parents keep the Lord as our focal point and seek His guidance in how involved we are in our adult children’s lives in this area.

Of course, the ideal in-law relationships back in Biblical times were mutually beneficial to all within the family circle, extending the supportive base of the family for helping and encouraging one another and exemplifying and teaching spiritual values to younger generations – Psalm 78:4-6 “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:” Dare I say that it would be much easier on parents and grown children today if more of us actually lived by the teachings in God’s Word and taught Godly principles and values to our younger generations. That is sadly lacking these days.

In conclusion, it really ought to be the desire of mothers and daughters-in-law to make a loving commitment to grow to know and love each other over time. For there will be times we will need to turn to each other for loving support in one area or another. Just as in all of life, it is what we choose to make it.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2019 in God's Love

 

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The Women in Samson’s Life

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Samson’s Mother – A Woman of Confidence

We are not told Samson’s mother’s name. Only that she was the wife of Manoah, a man of Zorah-west of Jerusalem-of the tribe of Dan, and that she was barren – Judges 13:2. She was humbly trying to accept the fact that she would have no children to keep her memory alive. One day while out in the field, an Angel of the Lord came to her and prophesied that she would bear a son who would deliver Israel from the heavy-handed Philistines. The Angel told her that she was not to drink wine nor strong drink, and she was not to eat any unclean thing – Judges 13:4.

Samson’s mother and Manoah were obviously God-fearing believers, but the Angel’s prophecy seemed almost too good to be true. She told her husband all that the Angel said, and Manoah prayed that the Man of God would return in order to “teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born” – Judges 13:8. He wanted to hear it for himself. The Angel did return for a third time to repeat the rules of the Nazirite vow: no wine or fruit, no razor was ever to touch his head, and no touching of anything unclean.

Although this woman may have been uneducated and dependent upon her husband, as a believer and an expectant mother, she had no trouble complying with the instruction of the heavenly messenger. Manoah made an offering to God, on the spot, “and as the flame ascended, the Angel went with it. Terrified, the two fell on their faces to the ground” – Judges 13:19, 20.

The revelation of the supernatural was required for a depraved society such as theirs, and the dramatic display confirmed God’s supernatural intervention, no doubt answering their prayers. When Manoah expressed his fear that they themselves would die because they had seen God, his wife demonstrated her confidence in God: “If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering.” – Judges 13:23.

Their promised son, Samson (meaning “sunlike” or “splendor”), chose a lifestyle reflecting the fallen nature of his world; nevertheless, God used him to restrain the Philistines. As a result, his name is found with the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:32.

The disappointment of barrenness was transformed into the joy of motherhood. Though grateful for a son of such unusual strength, this humble mother must also have grieved over Samson’s selfishness and disobedience to God, as all mothers do when they see their children straying into the fallen world. Certainly, his mother’s prayers and nurturing played a part in the contribution Samson made as a deliverer of his people.

This unnamed woman will be remembered as a believing woman who left her testimony: Every woman must not only listen for God’s direction, but also obey Him, even in the minutest detail – Judges 13:14 “She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.” God’s holy angels are poised to bring about His will even when we least expect it.

Samson’s Heathen Bride

This impressive woman from Timnah captured Samson’s affection with her beauty and charm, and she, too, was most likely infatuated with his strength and wit. They married hastily and without their parents’ approval. The marriage was doomed from the beginning because of competing loyalties which pulled at the young couple, as well as selfishness and immaturity on both their parts.

The Timnite had remained in her parents’ home after her wedding, and would receive occasional visits from her husband. These pagans practiced what is called a metronymic  marriage which means the husband was viewed as having joined his wife’s family, and in theory he was subservient to his wife’s father. Any children born of the marriage were considered members of the mother’s family. These customs totally went against all that God Jehovah made marriage to be.

This woman was most concerned with her own self-preservation. Just as Samson, she was accustomed to getting her own way, if by no other means, through manipulating with her tears and whining – Judges 14:2, 3, 16, 17 “And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well…And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.”

She used all of her skills of manipulation, including a week of tears, to meet the demands of her countrymen, knowing all the while that they planned evil against her husband. When Samson finally trusted her with his secret, she blatantly, and seemingly without remorse, betrayed him. She was under threat for the lives of herself and her family, but in the end, perhaps because of her own wrong choices, all their lives were lost – Judges 15:6 “Then the Philistines said, Who hath done this? And they answered, Samson, the son in law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire.” Who knows what protection Samson might have given the family if only his wife had communicated her fears to him. But of course since they jumped quickly into a marriage based on infatuation, they had no friendship or loyalty of any kind for each other. They did not take time to bond.

Both the Timnite and Samson erred when they rushed into the serious commitment of marriage based upon “love at first sight” – Judges 14:2,3. Neither had left father and mother in order to give primary loyalty to the other as taught in Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Of course, it is only common sense that the same goes for the woman. Neither one of them reached beyond self to be concerned about the best interest of the other as it says in Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Neither of them even considered the consequences of being joined to another who did not have the same spiritual commitments – Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” We are not to be in-equally yoked.

Marriage to a foreign woman who was not committed to the God of Israel was strictly forbidden because intermarriage was a huge factor in the destruction of the nation – Deuteronomy 7:1-4 “When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” Judges 3:5, 6 “And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.” They turned away from God Jehovah.

Not only was Samson an Israelite and thus committed to Yahweh, but he was also a Nazirite, therefore he was set apart by God in a special way. For a judge to fail in this area shows the far-reaching result of spiritual apathy. This marriage put Samson on the road to estrangement from Yahweh; yet only the Lord could have given wisdom and imparted the love needed to overcome the overwhelming obstacles that faced Samson and the Timnite in their challenging marriage.

Delilah – A Teasing Temptress

Samson and Delilah are one of the most well-known couples in the Bible. Samson is known for his strength; Delilah is known for her seductive manipulation. (It appears that Samson had a weakness for seductive and manipulative women.)

Delilah lived in a small village near Samson’s hometown. She was probably Philistine, although her name is Semitic. She may have been a temple prostitute. Apparently Samson had been visiting her quite often, and their relationship became known to the Philistine leaders. They went to Delilah with an offer that she could not refuse.

Samson’s background, his upbringing, and his own experience should have taught him to stay away from foreign entanglements, but it is clear that Samson felt an emotional attachment to Delilah. No evidence exists that she felt personal admiration or affection for him. On the contrary, she clearly was motivated by greed; she was perfectly willing to use all of her charming seductiveness (which apparently was considerable) to earn a large cash bonus. She was only focused on how she would be set for life.

The ingredients for disaster were in place: a morally weak man with uncontrollable sexual passions; a seductive temptress motivated by greed; a group of foreign leaders with unlimited funds and the strong conviction that their national security perhaps, even their national survival, was at stake.

Her methods were simple, and though it took time, they eventually worked. She was playful and teasing, flirtatious and provocative, alluring and enticing. She coaxed and sweet-talked. She pouted and demanded. (Gee doesn’t that sound familiar? You would have thought that Samson might have learned from his experience with his pagan wife; but no, apparently not.) There was a fortune waiting for Delilah if she could discover the secret of Samson’s strength. She was determined, and she ultimately succeeded in prying his secret from him.

Convinced that he had finally told her the truth, she sent for the Philistine leaders. She lulled Samson to sleep and had his hair cut off. With complete and utter heartlessness, she watched as he struggled out of a deep sleep, thinking he would fend off his attackers as easily as before, only to discover to his horror that his strength was gone. No doubt, she was counting her money as they led him out.

Delilah personifies the immoral woman of Proverbs 5:4-6 – “But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” Men beware of these manipulative temptresses. But, we all know that “what comes around, does go around.”

Even though Samson chose to go into the world and follow his lusts, God still used him to accomplish His perfect will. This is proof that God is always in control of all things.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Jochebed – Mother of Moses

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Moses introduces his mother to us as “a daughter of Levi” in Exodus 2:1. He was careful to identify her family heritage because until the lifetime of Amram and Jochebed, the name Levi implied violence and revenge – Genesis 34:25-31; 49:3-7 “And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?; …Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”

Hebrew thinking often equaled wealth with sons and daughters, when they thought on the promise of God to Abraham – Genesis 12:2 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” Note the beginnings of this Levite mother. She “conceived, and bare a son…saw him that he was a goodly child…took for him an ark…and put the child therein.” (Exodus 2:2,3) Her actions denote a fearless and focused woman of faith. She completely trusted God with her son. Her motivation and its results are clarified by the writer to the Hebrews – Hebrews 11:23-27 “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”

Jochebed fearlessly disobeyed the Pharaoh’s edict to destroy her baby as she placed him in the Nile River in the safety of the ark, under the watchful eye of Miriam, his sister – Exodus 1:22 “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”; to surround him with protection, including a watchful sister, was faith – Exodus 2:3,4 “And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.”

Our Western minds have a hard time understanding the terror tactics of ancient pharaohs. Idolatrous and corrupt, they held nothing but contempt for the mysterious Yahweh of their Israelite underdogs. Hatred, hostility, and hard labor were facts of life. Yet one woman, acting as a caring and resourceful mother, soared above the evil around her. God saw her heart, heard her prayers, and intervened on her behalf. Her fame lives on through the lives of her remarkable children – Number 26:59 “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.” God honored her steadfast purpose and faith by using one of her sons to deliver the Hebrews from Egyptian servitude and by appointing her other son, Aaron, as High Priest. Her daughter, Miriam, became the leader of the Hebrew women, and Jochebed’s entire tribal family was selected by God to lead the rituals of worship for His people.

Jochebed models for today’s woman an infectious courage to fear/reverence God instead of people and a firm faith in His promises and providences. The author of the Book of Hebrews records that Moses left Egypt, “not fearing the wrath of the king” – Hebrews 11:27 “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”, and that his parents before him were “not afraid of the king’s commandment – Hebrews 11:23 “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.”

It is not so much important who you are but what you do to meet the challenges and responsibilities that come. Jochebed took her motherhood very seriously, nurturing her children in the Lord with conscientious devotion. Surely, she must have been the chief influence unto God in the preparation of these children for the great tasks God gave to each in leading His people out of bondage.

 

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2019 in Godly Women

 

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