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Leah the Unchosen Wife

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Poor Leah. While we experience righteous indignation at Jacob and Rachel being tricked, we cannot help but feel sorry for Leah. Though her father was supposedly looking out for her best interests by putting her in Rachel’s place as wife to Jacob, she had to know that she would never be first in Jacob’s heart. Although she must have been at least willing to be part of this deceit, she could have also been just being an obedient daughter. I am sure she did not look forward to being considered the “old maid” of the family because she was the older daughter. She probably felt like she would not have much chance finding a suitable husband in the short-term.

Of course, had Leah’s father been obedient to God’s plan for marriage being one man-one woman, this would never have had to happen in the first place. Had he truly been a faithful servant of God, he would have went to Jehovah and trusted Him to bring a husband for Leah. But alas, another story for another time.

The Bible describes Leah as having “tender” or “weak” eyes – Genesis 29:17 “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” This could infer that she had poor eyesight, but as I read “but Rachel was beautiful…” I am inclined to think that Leah was more plain looking compared to Rachel. As time went on, she grew to love Jacob and became a devoted wife throughout their marriage, even though her soul must have withered knowing that she was a disappointment and scorn to him, as well as being the tool that her scheming father used to get both of his daughters married off.

Leah lived with the constant comparison to her unusually beautiful sister, but she was nevertheless, not ever hidden from God’s caring eyes. In God’s all-knowing wisdom, He allowed her to conceive while he made Rachel’s womb temporarily barren. Though Leah had the honor of mothering Jacob’s oldest son, she wrongly assumed that it would earn her her husband’s love – Genesis 29:32 “And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” (I have seen women strive to become pregnant to save their marriage, but instead they usually end up dealing with much heartache.)

Leah faced her second childbirth more realistically, but apparently a deep desire still gnawed at her – Genesis 29:33 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.” Then she exclaimed with her third pregnancy “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me.” (Verse 34) She never completely gave up on her hope and longing for her husband to return her love. What a sad state of affairs to have to live through.

She had begun her marriage by focusing on what she lacked and feeling miserable, but she changed her heart and focus to what God had given her as she determined to praise the Lord. Leah did not really learn to trust Yahweh until the birth of her fourth son, Judah. Genesis 29:35 “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” If we trace the Messianic Lineage, we can rejoice with Leah as her faithfulness was rewarded. “The Lion of the tribe of Judah,” Jesus the Messiah, came through her offspring, Judah, and the priesthood through her son, Levi. Revelation 5:5 “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

Leah embodied for every woman our crucial need to live primarily for God and his glory. Though she may have been unattractive in appearance, unloved, unwanted, and even despised, God saw her inner beauty which equipped her to carry out his plan – Genesis 29:31 “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” She could not change Jacob, but she could change herself and recognize God’s hand in her life – Genesis 30:13 “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.” She did not let the attitudes of others distract her from the task God had given her, as he turned all the wrong choices that were made on her behalf into part of His wondrous plan for the Hebrew Nation.

There are times in our lives when things happen to us that we see as unfair, but God is faithful and He always turns them around for His purpose and, of course, to make us the better for them. There have been times in my life that I have made very bad choices and faced some dire consequences, but every one of them I have seen God turn to good for His glory and for growing me to be more like Jesus.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2018 in God's Love

 

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Rachel – an Honored daughter of Yahweh

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The name Rachel means ewe-a female sheep. Gee I’m not sure I would appreciate that, but, she was a shepherdess caring for her father’s sheep in Haran when an unexpected visitor appeared. Her cousin, Jacob, was looking for his family, and he ran smack dab into them. It seems he was hit by the “love at first sight” bug. Genesis 29:10-12 “And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.” It also seems as though Rachel was quite smitten with Jacob.

Jacob had agreed with Rachel’s father, Laban, to work for seven years to earn the right to ask for the hand of the beautiful shepherdess – Genesis 29:20 “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” According to local tradition, the wedding ceremony proceeded, allowing the men to celebrate, while keeping the bride out of sight until the groom entered her darkened tent.

Only after it was too late, did Jacob realize that Laban had deceived him. He had actually married Laban’s older daughter, Leah, whom he did not love. But, here we see how “what comes around goes around.” He now knows what it feels like to be deceived as he had deceived his father and brother. But, alas, another story for another time. A week after their marriage, Jacob received Rachel as his wife. It must have been agony for Rachel after having waited those seven years, only to have her dreams dashed by her father’s trickery. The rivalry and jealousy between Rachel and Leah, and perhaps a desire on Rachel’s part for retaliation against her father for his deception must have put a tremendous strain on the family.

To add insult to injury, Rachel was unable to bear children! Genesis 29:31 “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” Okay, so God had compassion on Leah because Jacob loved Rachel more. Had I been in Rachel’s shoes, I would have had a very hard time with that. It is not hard to understand the jealousy she must have felt. At the same time, it would have been far better for them all had Rachel put her full trust in the LORD. Instead, she first blamed her husband, and then she allowed her maid to bear children for her. Genesis 30:1-5 “And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.” Now I know I could never have done that, but it was a different culture than what I know.

Rachel finally did become pregnant and gave birth to Joseph, who became Jacob’s favorite (and that’s another story for another time ;-).) – Genesis 30:22-24 “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.”

In due time, Jacob decided to return to his homeland. After Jacob’s departure, Laban found his household gods missing. Jacob did not know that Rachel had put the gods in her saddlebags, then sat on top of them astride the camel. When Jacob gave Laban permission to search through their belongings, Rachel pleaded weakness because of her menstrual cycle, and she did not dismount from her camel. It was believed that whatever a menstruating woman sat upon was unclean, so of course they did not make her move.

Some believe that those small idols Rachel had stolen from her father were customarily kept in their homes, and were essential evidence for a claim to the family inheritance. But, some also believe that Rachel was a secret believer in pagan superstitions. If this were true, she would have believed that the images would give her and her family safety in their travels and prosperity in their new home.

So, the family returned to Jacob’s homeland, but sometime later, when they were moving again, Rachel became pregnant with Benjamin. The travel in the hilly country was difficult under any circumstances, but it would have been very hard on a woman far along with child. As they approached Ephrath (Bethlehem), Rachel went into hard labor and died while giving birth. She was buried there in Bethlehem – Genesis 35:19 “And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.”

Rachel was a woman greatly loved by her husband, and she gave the world two outstanding sons. Despite her flaws, she stands as an honored daughter of Yahweh. It just goes to show how much God loves us all, even in spite of our wrong choices we may make in our journey in this world. He knows that each of us must go through trials and testings on the road to knowing Him more and coming to the point of total surrender and obedience.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2018 in Women of the Bible

 

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Lot’s Disobedient Wife

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Lot’s wife personifies the classic wisdom “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus used her as an example of someone who started the right way, but looked back, because she was not completely willing to give up her old ways to follow God in obedience – Luke 17:31-33 “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

Okay, we read in God’s Word that Lot was a rich and very influential man, but nowhere does it say much about his wife. We see no mention of her name, nor her family or even her race. However, it is indicated that she was a worldly, materialistic woman. She definitely failed in the spiritual nurturing of her children – her daughters married men of Sodom, and then committed incest with their own father – Genesis 19:30-35 “And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.”

This also speaks to us about the effects of alcohol on our minds, and why God’s Word warns us against even looking at it – Proverbs 23:29-35 “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. LOOK NOT thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”

SIDE NOTE: Way too many Christians fail to understand that most places the Bible mentions wine, like when Jesus turned water into wine, that it is not speaking of alcohol. This Scripture in Proverbs explains about the wine that has turned to alcohol and why we are to not even look upon it. What Jesus made for the wedding was grape juice. Jesus is pure and holy, He would never make something that is unholy and corrupts men’s minds. When grape juice turns to alcohol, it becomes something rotten. Wine in the Bible when used in the right sense speaks of “the pure blood of the grape.” Our Saviour who, throughout the Bible, urges people not to drink would certainly not create something to contradict His own word and to ruin the men He came to save! I spent many years of my life letting the enemy deceive me into thinking that because the Bible says not to be ‘drunk’ with wine, it was okay in moderation. Jesus has revealed His truth to me that even in moderation, it is not what He and His Word are telling us at all. He tells us to be filled with His Holy Spirit. If we consume even one sip of alcohol, or any substance that affects our minds, it grieves the Holy Spirit to the point that we are not Spirit-filled. He is there, but he is numbed. And I have learned by experience that the joy that comes with being Spirit-filled far surpasses any temporary high that this sinful world has to offer. AND, there is no convicting guilt!

Lot’s wife did not have to die. She was offered a choice–obedience and life or disobedience and death in pursuit of the pleasures of the world. We do not know where Lot met his wife, nor when they were married, but we do know that they had two daughters (Genesis 19:16). The kidnapping of Lot and his family (Genesis 14) would have included his wife, and she would have been among the company that was rescued by Abraham since Abraham “brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (Genesis 14:16) This means that she may well have heard Melchizedek’s witness for God (Genesis 14:19, 20). In other words, she was well aware of the Lord and His dealings with Abraham. BUT the lifestyle of Sodom had a strong hold on her.

Sodom was a sophisticated town, offering a wide variety of cultural opportunities. The immorality had degenerated to the lowest point of sexual perversion so much that our term “sodomy” comes from the name of this city. (Today, Sodomites have twisted and changed the word to describe their lifestyle as gay and homosexual, so in their minds it does not sound so bad, and more people will accept their sin.)

Lot, though called a “righteous man,” seemed also to be entangled in the grip of Sodom’s influence – 2 Peter 2:7, 8 – “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Unfortunately, Lot chose to raise his family in Sodom, even though it’s reputation for depravity was well known. Still, the Lord sent messengers to rescue this family from their own destructive choices.

God wanted to save Lot’s wife. He sent angels to warn, to escort, and finally they had to physically pull her out of harm’s way. Whether she understood exactly what would happen is uncertain, but being escorted by angels in this fashion surely had to alert her to something supernatural.

The destruction most likely began with a violent earthquake, which set fire to the gases and sulphur. Firebrands were falling around her. Though she had followed her husband into the wilderness, she had the same problem the Israelites did in the wilderness as they “in their hearts turned back again into Egypt” (Acts 7:39). Just like the Israelites, she was destroyed. But she did not have to be.

This can be an example to us that once we are saved, we must never let ourselves look back and yearn for Egypt (our past sinful ways). We must stay the course until we see Him face to face!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2018 in God's Truth, Uncategorized

 

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Sarai/Sarah-Example of a Submissive Wife

Sometimes when we think of Sarai/Sarah, we tend to remember how she let her barrenness humiliate her to the point that she went outside of God’s will to give Abram/Abraham a son. Today I am thinking of how she appears in the Bible as a great example of God’s ideal for a married woman, in spite of her impatience.

There are two characteristics that mark her life: beauty and barrenness. Because of her beauty, even pagan rulers desired her, but she did not let it make her vain. It was her infertility that caused deep domestic humiliation and even disagreement in her marriage. She was treated terribly by other women in her family because they were fertile and she was not. Perhaps she could have saved herself some of that cruelty had she not given Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to mate with. But God has allowed that for His purpose, just like He does for all of us when we step outside of His will, and come to Him in repentance.

Without a doubt, Sarah had beauty, brilliance, and creativity, but one quality that plants her in our memories and sets her apart is her unique and unequaled devotion to her husband Abraham. She shared not only her husband’s challenges and heart aches, but also his dreams and blessings. Never did she waver; she stood by his side through good choices and bad decisions, adversities and blessings, in youth and in old age. She is a fine example of a woman who loved her husband unconditionally and determinedly. Many wives today seem to take every opportunity to demean or badmouth their husbands in one way or another. I find that contemptible. True, selfless love will never behave that way.

The Bible devotes more space to Sarah than any other woman. Genesis 23 is a whole chapter that talks about her death and burial. Both her husband and her son grieved deeply when she died at age 127. She was, without a doubt, a very nurturing mother to Isaac. I’m sure she thanked God each and every day for that fulfilled promise. – “And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her…And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Genesis 23:2; 24:67)

Sarah is commended in two New Testament references – Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” and 1 Peter 3:6 “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” Romans 4:19; 9:9 – “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:…For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.”

She is also used to illustrate the difference between the bonded and free – Galatians 4:21-31 “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid (Ishmael), the other by a freewoman (Isaac). But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Sarah is titled as one of “the Holy women” of old because she committed her willing cooperation to her husband. From the Biblical account, it is apparent that Sarah was strong-willed; yet she chose to submit to Abraham, an attitude which God commended. She was consistently identified as Abraham’s wife, reinforcing the fact that God viewed the pair as one flesh. Together they were asked to believe that God would give them a son.

Sarah is the only wife named in the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11:11. Her mothering experience fluctuated from emotions of skepticism, embarrassment, envy, and cruel recrimination to intense exhilaration and joy. Even though Sarah fell into sin, God faithfully kept His promise that she would be “a mother of nations.” (Genesis 17:16)

Perhaps more than any other Biblical woman, Sarah stands to teach women two supreme characteristics of Godly womanhood: humble submission to their husbands in marriage, and fervent commitment to nurturing the next generation. As I mentioned above, it seems to be “the thing” these days for women to take the leading role as head of the home and demean the husband and knock him down every chance they get. And, we see results every day in the news of children who are left to their own devices instead of being nurtured as all children have a need for.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Godly Women

 

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Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me?

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Oh I just love the Book of Acts so much! It stirs my soul to act and to share!

Every time I read Acts Chapter 9 I like to try to place myself in Saul’s shoes. Reading it this time, I was so blessed to be able to discuss Saul’s conversion with my sweet hubby, Ron. The excitement was thick in the air as the Holy Spirit moved and we talked about how Jesus spoke to Saul and what Saul must have experienced and what thoughts must have went through his mind when Jesus spoke to him and chose him to do His work in the early church. We shared how we would think and react if it were us.

SIDE NOTE: Let me tell you ladies, if you and your soul mate are not sharing time together in God’s Word, you are truly missing out on one of God’s greatest blessings! As we grow together in our walk with our Saviour, it not only draws us closer to our Lord, but closer to each other in our marriage relationship as well. After Jesus, my Honey Bunny is my very best friend. There is nothing like it on this earth! But isn’t that what God’s Word says it should be – Genesis 2:22-24 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, (and dare I say, his family? Are we to abandon our families? Of course not, but the husband and wife are now one, and each will definitely and rightfully take precedence over the rest of the family.) and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And in Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Sometimes we women think we need other women, we like to call our besties, to talk to who ‘understand’ when we need to vent or rant and won’t judge us. I have learned the truth to be that more times than not, that is an excuse for women to meet and gossip and say hurtful things about others behind their backs, and justify it by saying we just need to vent. When we have aught against another, we are to take it to that person or leave it up to the Lord, whichever He leads us to do. If we are blessed to be married to a man who is a truly Godly man, he will call us on our back-biting and offer to pray with us for God’s direction in the matter, and support us in doing the right thing. And, of course, it does go both ways.

Okay, so I must needs get back to the point at hand. 😉 I just had to share what God is teaching me in this matter, and what a blessing God gives us when we place our husbands at the head of our homes as God intends and allow His Holy Spirit to mingle in both our spirits together.

So, in Acts Chapters 6-8, we read how Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost preached truth to the religious leaders and he became the first disciple to die for the cause of Christ. Saul first shows up in Acts Chapter 8:1 tells us that “And Saul consenting unto his death…” What a truly powerful testimony Saul/Paul had to lead lost souls to Christ! And each one of us who has been saved from hell by the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross has a testimony to do the same. Telling others what Jesus has done for us is the best way to win souls to the Saviour!

Acts 9:1-31

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.(Saul was highly educated – Acts 22:3 “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” He became what they called a Zealot who persecuted Jesus’ church/followers. He was deceived by the jealous religious leaders about who Jesus and His followers really were, and he believed that he was doing God’s work and was zealously devoted to it.)

3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: (Can you even imagine!)

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (WOW! The thoughts that Saul must have had! Here he and his soldiers are marching along on their mission to round up any of Jesus’ followers whom he considered dissenters stirring up trouble. Suddenly, a bright light and the voice of the Lord Jesus confronts him. Was it the power of Jesus’ voice that threw him to the ground or the sense that this was a divine presence from God? Maybe both.)

5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? (Saul called Him Lord. He must have thought, “This is surely the one and only Supreme God of Heaven!”) And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (As soon as Saul realized that what he had been doing was against God’s will, he asked what the Lord wanted him to do.)

7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (God had literally blinded Saul perhaps as an awakening to how the religious leaders had blinded him to the truth. I am sure by now, Saul is considering how he had been so deceived all of his life.)

9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. (He most probably had so much remorse about having wrongly persecuted and killed so many of God’s children. I would find it unbearable.)

10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. (What a merciful God we serve!)

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (Everyone knew who Saul was and how he was zealous to persecute Jesus’ followers even to death. I am sure any one of us would have been pretty scared too, “But Lord, you know how this man’s goal in life is to persecute and kill your people. If I show myself to him, won’t he take me in too for beating and prison, maybe even death?)

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (God had sent Jesus to his chosen people, the Jews first, but they rejected and crucified Him. Now He chose one Saul to go to the Gentiles and teach and preach what Jesus came and did for the whole world. God knew that once Saul knew the truth, he would be just as dedicated and devoted to God’s true work as he was to what he wrongly thought was God’s work.)
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (And maybe there would be times that Saul would think on what he would face for the rest of his life as part of the consequences for how he had wrongly persecuted God’s church. Who knows, just a rambling thought. But we know that God’s enemy is the ruler of this world and all those who live as this world are God’s enemies as well, and will persecute God’s chosen ones.)

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. (I am sure Saul had to have some alone time with God’s Holy Spirit and close disciples to help him in turning his thinking around.)

20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (He wasted no time in sharing the Good News of Jesus and what He had done in his life. What a testimony Saul had!)

21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Oh, but of course they would do that! Jesus’ teachings were a threat to their power.)
24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. (I am sure God revealed their plans to Saul and the disciples.)

25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (The apostles were the 12 who were closest to Jesus when He was here. There were many disciples who followed Him and taught others who He was.)

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. (The world hated Saul just as it did Jesus.)

30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Praise God! Saul was no longer seeking to lock them up and kill them!)

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Enter Evil

Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955...

 

Okay, we know how God created Eve out of Adam’s side and placed her in the beautiful garden paradise to be Adam’s help meet. Everything was provided for them and they walked and talked with God daily. They were pure and innocent until – Enter Evil!!

This entry will show the character of the serpent and what he may have looked like, and the consequences he and Adam and Eve would face because of their actions. It will include the first time God commanded wives to submit to their husbands. I will also give suggestions as to how Eve could have done differently, and how we can avoid giving in to temptations today. Let’s have some fun and do a little imagining as well.

Genesis 3:1-3 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3. but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it (note for later), lest ye die.”

I believe the snakes in the Garden were very beautiful to look upon before God cursed them. Do you really think that Eve would have stopped to talk with a slithering, hissing snake as we see them today? I also believe that he had legs giving him the ability to walk around instead of sliding along on his belly. Envision with me, if you will, that crafty creature leaning on one elbow against a tree, his feet crossed, with his tail waving hypnotically from side to side as he entices the first woman.

“Hey there Eve,” His words rolled smoothly off his forked tongue. “Why don’t you stop in the shade of this tree and chat for a while? You’ve got nothing better to do. By the way, did you know that God lied to you when he said you would surely die if you eat from that tree over there? He knows that if you eat that fruit ‘your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil'” (Genesis 3:4, 5)

Remember, he was the most subtil of all the beasts the Lord had made. The Hebrew word for “subtil” is aruwm (aw-room) which means cunning (usually in a bad sense), prudent, and crafty. Satan’s single goal on this earth is to tempt us away from God. He uses his cunning nature to suggest doubts in our minds. He got Eve to doubt God’s goodness. He, ever so slyly, hinted that God was stingy and selfish because he did not want Adam and Eve to share in his knowledge of good and evil.

Now imagine what Eve’s response might have been, “Hmmm, you know, not only did he say we must not eat of that tree, but he said we are not to even touch it. How dare he keep such a lovely fruit from us? How could he deny us to be just like him? It is just not fair.”

Eve took that evil deceiver’s bait, hook line and sinker. Feeling cheated by God, she told her first lie! As I noted in the verses above, she added that God said they were not to touch the tree. This is what God actually said in Genesis 2:16, 17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” I do not see anything there about them not touching the tree.

Oh, I just had an epiphany! Maybe when Adam told Eve what God said, he added, “Do not even touch that tree!” because he already knew the woman well enough to know that her curiosity might get the best of her, so he wanted to scare her into obeying. Hmmm. Okay, it is just a joke!

Moving along, Eve was tempted and gave in, and she gave Adam of the fruit and he did eat. He must have thought, “she ate it and she is still alive, so what could it hurt?” We know what happened next. Their eyes were opened and they were ashamed and hid themselves from God when he came looking for them. I am sure God already knew what they had done and why they were hiding, but they needed to come to God and be held accountable.

When God confronted Adam he blamed Eve, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12) God turned to Eve and asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” She blamed the snake, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”. (Genesis 3:13) It is very easy to justify our sin by pointing to someone else, but God knows the truth.

Because of his perfect moral character, God had to respond by punishing the guilty parties. He dealt first with the snake: Genesis 3:14, 15 says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15. and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to the “enmity between thee and the woman” part. I hate snakes.

Eve was next: Genesis 3:16 “”Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Hebrew for sorrow used here, “thy sorrow and thy conception” is itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone’) meaning worrisomeness, i.e. labor or pain.

For “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” the Hebrew word is etseb (eh’-tseb) – toil; pang; labour; grievous. I gave birth to both of my girls naturally, and I can totally say, that my labor was all of those things. I must interject that God is very kind in that as soon as the labor was over, so was the pain. I was immediately in awe with the precious gift of life that I was blessed with each time.

The first time that God put woman under submission to man: “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. I used to think that this meant that woman would desire her husband, but there is much more to it than that. The word desire used here in Hebrew: tshuwqah (tesh-oo-raw) – stretching out after; a longing, from the original word shuwq (shook) – to run after or over; overflow. Woman will have a desire to run over her husband, but he will rule over (have dominion over; reign over) her.

SIDE NOTE: Saying that husbands shall rule over their wives in no way means that gives husbands the right to abuse their wives in any way.

I believe Ephesians 5:22-33 explains God’s plan for the husband/wife relationship best:

“22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 . For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

“25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26. that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. 27. that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30. for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”

“31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. 32. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33. Neverthless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The word Submission is often misunderstood. It does not mean being trampled on like a doormat. Christ submitted his will to his Father. When we follow Jesus’ example, we are honoring him. As we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others. In the marriage relationship, both husband and wife are called to submit. The wife willingly follows her husband’s leadership in Christ. The husband puts aside his own interests in order to care for his wife.

Submission is usually not a challenge in homes where both spouses have a strong relationship with Jesus, and they are both concerned for each others’ happiness.

I believe it is now time to see how God chastised Adam for his part in this fall from grace. Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19. in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Wow. What more can I say?

Eve should have literally run from that serpent in the garden instead of taking up a conversation with him. In giving him her attention, she allowed herself to be led astray, and she forgot about all that God had given her. She began to focus on what he had forbidden instead of being thankful for his blessings. When we start to dwell on what God does not let us have, that is when we get into trouble. Instead, we must think of the many blessings and promises he has given us and be thankful for them.

Paul gave some great advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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