A Christian Journey

Archive for October, 2014

Reasonable Service

“And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.”   Exodus 2:21   Amplified

Zipporah is our woman of the Bible for today, she was Moses wife.  It is stated in the Word that Moses lived 120 years.  It’s believed that he spent his first 40 years in Egypt, his next 40 years in Midian, and his final 40 years with the Israelites in the wilderness.  Put another way; Moses had 40 years of preparation, 40 years of isolation, and 40 years of ordination.  With him for the better part of 80 years was his wife Zipporah.  She’s believed to be the oldest daughter of Jethro, a Midian priest.  This is primarily due to the culture which required the oldest daughter to be married first, he had 7 girls.

Not much is said about Zipporah, she was the woman behind the man.  It’s assumed that she was a humble and dutiful wife to Moses. It would seem reasonable, though, that she might have concerns about going back to Egypt once the Lord called him to that task, yet she followed.

As women of God we must always humble ourselves to Him and those He has placed over us in authority.  We must always remember that we submit not just to human authority, but ultimately to God.  That is our reasonable service.

Save The Innocent

“And the child grew and she brought him to Pharoah’s daughter and he became her son.  And she called him Moses, for she said, Because I drew him out of the water.”   Exodus 2:10   Amplified

Our woman of the Bible today is Pharoah’s daughter.  I don’t think we look at her very much, she’s a minor figure in the story of Moses. What would have happened, though, if she hadn’t adopted him. Think about this, she was the daughter of the man who wanted to kill him, along with all the other Hebrew male babies.  The Word says she knew he was a Hebrew child, why would she save him?  I would like to think, as an adoptive mother, that she didn’t agree with what her father was doing.  By the way, slaughtering babies, does that sound familiar?  In America today we slaughter innocent babies every day and try to justify it as a right for women.   Praise God He was able to use her to stop that barbaric practice in Egypt by raising up a deliverer in Moses.   He is another example of an old testament person symbolic of Jesus.

For whatever reason Pharoah’s daughter saved Moses. She should serve as an example to us to do what we can to save the innocent.

Greatly Rewarded

“And the woman became pregnant and bore a son, and when she saw that he was exceedingly beautiful she hid him three months.” Exodus 2:2  Amplified

Jochebed is our woman of the Bible for today, Moses mother. Imagine having a child knowing that he might be killed.  I’m sure it’s a horrible thing to lose a child, especially an infant, but pre-meditated murder would be agony.

When Moses was born, Pharoah had already given the order to kill all male Hebrew babies.  Jochebed had successfully hidden him until he was three months old, then she knew she had to do something else.  It’s interesting to me that she put him in an ark, a small floating basket, to save him.  Mankind had been saved by an ark during the flood. The Israelites later construct the Ark of the Covenant, to represent God’s presence and guidance, which saved them.

Pharoah’s daughter was down by the Nile that day bathing when the ark came floating by.  She opened the basket and saw the crying baby, had pity on him and took him in, even though she recognized he was a Hebrew child.  Moses sister, Miriam, had been following along on the shoreline to see what would happen to her brother and she boldly stepped out to ask Pharoah’s sister if she wanted a nursemaid.  The “new” mother told the girl that she did and so Miriam went and got her mother, took the child and nursed him, even getting paid for it.

What would Jochebed say to us today about being a mother, with so many women throwing their babies away.  She had other children, did she really need one more? I mean they were slaves, it was probably hard enough to feed the family already. We can always justify what we are doing if we try hard enough.   Pharoah felt he justified killing the Hebrew males because their population was getting too great.

What we have in Jochebed is a wonderful example of selflessness. She gave her child up to another to save his life.  How exciting it must have been for her when her daughter Miriam came home and told her that Pharoah’s daughter had her son, AND that they needed a woman to take care of him.  I doubt her feet hardly hit the ground as she likely ran to get her son to bring him home.  Her faithfulness to God in trusting Him with Moses was greatly rewarded.

We must put our trust in Him to take care of our situations, though they don’t usually involve life and death.  When we do, we will see His great reward.

Keep The Faith

“And Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s charge and paid no attention to anything he had except the food he ate.  Now Joseph was an attractive person and fine looking.”  Genesis 39:6

Our woman of the Bible today is Potiphar’s wife.  If we truly look at the women of the Bible I think we should look at ALL of them, the good, the bad, and well you know the rest.

We don’t know Potiphar’s wife’s name, but she played an important part in Joseph’s story.  I highly recommend reading his story, which starts in Genesis 37 and goes through Genesis 50.  It is a wonderful story of faith and remaining true to God.

Today’s verse tells us that Joseph is a slave in Potiphar’s house.  God had blessed Joseph so greatly that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in his house so that he paid no attention to anything but the food he ate.  I think this is where our trouble begins, it sounds like he likely wasn’t paying attention to his wife.  The Bible describes Joseph as attractive and good looking, we don’t know what Potiphar looked like.  Since Potiphar was captain of the guard he was likely much older than Joseph.

So here we have a woman of wealth, who’s probably done everthing, obtained all the things that she wants and is bored.  The very next verse says, “Then after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, lie with me.”  Having an affair with Joseph may not have been what she really wanted, she may have just wanted her husband’s attention.  She also saw what great trust her husband had in Joseph and may have even been jealous of Joseph.  Hurting people hurt people.  She set her course on doing something and this would kill two birds with one stone, get her husbands attention and get rid of Joseph.

She likely knew that Joseph was devout and that he would not lie with her.  He told her that he would not do wrong to Potiphar who had treated him so well, and he would not sin against God.  She kept after him though and finally one day she caught him alone in a room and grabbed for him, he pulled away but left his garment.  She took that opportunity to call out to the others in the house and accuse Joseph of trying to rape her.  Poor Potiphar had to believe his wife, he got mad and put Joseph in prison.  I wonder who he was really mad at, surely not Joseph, but what could he do.  Verse 21 is my favorite part of the story, it says, “But the Lord was with Joseph.”

Now what can we learn from Potiphar’s wife.  She let herself get distracted and deceived, spiritual warfare.  We see too that bad behavior gets attention.  On Joseph’s part he reacted the right way in not lying with her, but he knew she was after him and should have never been alone with her in a room, that’s on him.  We must be aware of the pitfalls and traps around us and not fall into them.

Finally, if the Lord was with Joseph how could He have let this happen?  He knew Joseph was innocent.  Free will.   The Lord is with you through good and bad, some situations we have control over and some we don’t.  Remember Joseph got himself caught in a room alone with her, he could have avoided that.  Though bad things happened God was still with Joseph because he ultimately did the right thing.

The obvious decisions of right and wrong we know, but the smaller ones can trip us up.  The key is, to keep the faith.

The Scarlet Thread

“And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first.”   Genesis 38:28  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Tamar.  Now I’m sure you’ve never heard of her, and the only reason I bring her story up is because of the scarlet thread in today’s verse.

Tamar’s story falls just after the beginning of the story of Joseph.  We all know Joseph, the poor kid picked on by his brothers and sold into slavery, but who later saved their lives. 

A side story is told of Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers who withdrew from his brothers and went to live somewhere else.  He married a Canaanite (pagan) woman and had three sons.  The oldest, named Er, married Tamar, but the Bible says Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him.  We don’t know what he did that was so wicked or how God killed him, but He did.   Judah wanted his second son, Onan, to marry Tamar, but Onan really didn’t want to so he prevented her from conceiving. God wasn’t happy with what son number two did so He killed him.   Judah’s third son was too young to marry, so he tells Tamar to remain a widow and go back to live with her family. When Judah’s third son was grown he forgot about Tamar.  When his wife passes away he travels to the area where Tamar is living.  She hears that he’s in the area and disguises herself, Judah thinks she’s a prostitute and has sex with her.  When it comes time to pay her the only thing he had was his signet seal and cord, signifying who he was, so he leaves that with her saying he would send payment later.  He tries to find her later but can’t and so he just forgets about it.  Three months later he’s told that Tamar is pregnant by pretending to be a whore and he says she should be burned.  She comes forward with his signet and seal and he confesses to being the father stating, “She has been more righteous and just than I, because I did not give her to my third son.”

When it came time for her to deliver, there were twins in her womb.  Our verse today states that one baby put his hand out and a scarlet thread was put on it.  The verse goes on to say that the baby drew its hand back and the other baby was born first.

The reason I included this story is because Judah, these two babies, Perez and Zerah, as well as Tamar are named in the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew.

This story has some similarities to Jesus, His story and even eternal life.  Scarlet, represents blood, here we see it runs from Genesis through the Bible to Revelation.  The first child born with the scarlet thread pulls back and allows the other child to be born first.  This could be symbolic of Adam and Jesus.  Tamar was going to be burned, symbolizing hell, but having Judah’s signet and seal she is saved.   Judah was an Israelite but yet he says Tamar, a pagan, was the righteous one.  This speaks to me that God doesn’t care where you came from, only that you come to Him.

Going Out Unattended

“Now Dinah, daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out unattended to see the girls of the place.”  Genesis 34:1  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob.  This story is all that’s known about Dinah, and it’s not a good one.  I felt the need to share it because of the two things in our verse today that Dinah did that spoke to me.  The verse says she went out unattended, alone, to see the girls of the place.

They say it’s always best to travel in pairs.  I’m sure we all go different places alone, I do it all the time, but is that really safe.  You have to consider also that this was a new, pagan, area they moved to.  She was likely not familiar with any of her surroundings.  Then let’s look at the fact that the scripture says she went to see the girls of the place.  Why?  Was she curious about them? Had she heard things about them? Did she want to be like them?  These were woman of the world, not God, it’s always dangerous to step into the way of the world because we are so easily drawn in.   In this case, a prince saw her and took advantage of her.  He raped her, but then he fell in love with her and wanted to marry her.  Her family was outraged at what happened and tricked the men of this new land into becoming circumsized like them.  Three days after later, while they were still sore, Dinah’s brothers entered the city and killed all the men.

We must always be careful and think well about our actions in the world around us.  A seemingly innocent walk into the city ended up costing the lives of many people.

Making Things Right

“Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, possibly to the feast of sheep shearing, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.” Genesis 31:19   Amplified

We continue looking at our woman of the Bible Rachel.  The time has come for Jacob’s brood to return to Canaan, where his father Issac is.  He informs Rachel and Leah that they’re leaving and he takes all his herds with him.  He’s worked for Laban 20 years, 14 of those were just to marry his two wives and then six for the flocks he has.  Even though Laban tried to cheat him out of those herds, Jacob tells Leah and Rachel that God would not allow him to do that.  Now, God says it’s time to go.

For whatever reason, it’s not clear in the scripture, Rachel goes to her father’s tent and steals his household gods.  It’s believed that at that time household gods played an important part of inheritance.  Possibly Rachel thought that by taking the household idol she would insure that Jacob had a right to what he had, the flocks.  This backfired though because Laban came home and when he discovered the idols were missing went after Jacob. While Laban travelled to catch up with Jacob God visited Laban in a dream and told him not to hurt Jacob.  Once Laban caught up with Jacob he accused him of stealing the idols, and leaving without letting him tell his family goodbye.  Jacob explained that he was unaware of the idols being missing.  He told Laban to search all he had and if he found the idols he’d admit to the theft.  Laban searched everywhere and was unable to find them.  When he saw Leah sitting on her camel, she told him she couldn’t get down to honor him as she was ill, that time of the month, (she had the idols in a bag on the camel).   When Laban was unable to find the idols it was Jacob’s turn to get upset, he ranted and railed on Laban going over the last 20 years of living with him.   Surprisingly, Laban agreed to make a covenant with Jacob that they would not upset each other any more, they also built a monument to that covenant.  Upon Laban’s departure he kissed his family and pronounced a blessing asking God’s favor on them.

I believe Rachel took the household gods so that Laban would turn to the one true God.  It seems from the story he did that and he also made things right with his family.

He Answered Her Pleading

“Then God remembered Rachel and answered her pleading and made it possible for her to have children.”  Genesis 30:22  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible today is Rachel.  Yesterday we saw that Jacob loved her so much he cried, but was tricked into marrying her sister Leah.  The Word says that the Lord saw that Leah was despised and He made her able to bear children, but Rachel was barren.  A total of 10 children were born to Leah, her handmaid, Zilpah, and Rachel’s handmaid, Bilhah.  These children would form ten of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Our verse today says that after all these children were born God remembered Rachel and she became pregnant.

Just this past Sunday we read in our morning Bible study that God wants us to persevere in prayer.  Examples were given from Luke 11:8 and Luke 18:7 of Jesus telling his disciples, us, that we must be persistent in prayer.  Today’s verse is another example of that urging by the Lord.  Why does He want us to persist and persevere and keep asking?  Why can’t He just answer us at the first request?   In Luke 11:11-13 Jesus says, “What father, or mother, among you if his son asks for a loaf of bread will give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish you give him a serpent? If you then, evil (sinful), as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

Let us continue making our requests known to God with our pleading as we will receive that much more by doing so, and that He will bring it to pass at the right time.

He Wept Aloud

‘Then Jacob kissed Rachel and he wept aloud.”  Genesis 29:11

Wow!  Have you ever had a man cry over you?  I never noticed that before in the Bible, that when Jacob met Rachel he cried.

Today’s woman of the Bible is Rachel, and what a way to start her story.  Rebekah, Jacob’s mother, sent him back to her people to choose a wife, that’s where he is when the story begins.  Rachel and Jacob are truly kissing cousins.  Remember, though, we aren’t that far out from Adam and Eve, so at this time that’s permissable.

So Jacob goes to Rachel’s camp to meets the family.  Now Laban, Rachel’s father, tells Jacob that he can stay but he must work.  When they discuss the wages Jacob agrees to work just to be able to marry Rachel, he loved her so.  Laban agreed, but he told Jacob he would have to work seven years first.  Now Laban had an older daughter, Leah, who hadn’t married yet.  On the wedding night of Rachel and Jacob, Laban got Jacob drunk and put his daughter Leah in the tent with Jacob.  The next morning he woke up and realized he had been fooled. He got very upset with Laban, but Laban said it was their custom that the older daughter should get married first.  He agreed to let Jacob have Rachel if he worked another seven years, which he did.

How would you feel if you were Rachel.  The man you love, who loves you so much he cried the first time he kissed you belongs to someone else, and it’s your sister!  Talk about a conflict of interests.  We must take into consideration the culture that this happened in.   Rachel likely knew well before the wedding night that this was going to happen, but what could she do.  She could only hope that Jacob would still want to marry her after being married to her sister. 

We sometimes face situations and issues that come up that maybe we can even see coming, that we can do little or nothing about.  So what is God telling us to do in those situations from this story of Rachel.  It is always about trust with God.  When we feel cheated or treated unfairly our human nature wants to rise up and defend us.  God is our defense, He will provide.

Control Freak

“Then Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth, wives of Esau! If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth such as these Hittite girls around here, what good will my life be to me?”   Genesis 27:46   Amplified

Our woman of the Bible, Rebekah, has had two sons, twins, Esau and Jacob.  According to scripture Esau was a hunter, big and hairy, while Jacob was a plain and quiet man.  As happens sometimes with parents each liked a different child.  Isaac was partial to Esau because he liked the game he brought him, while Rebekah was partial to Jacob.  Esau tended to act first and then think, where Jacob was a thinker.  He convinced Esau to give him his birthright for a pot of stew, later his mother helps him get his father’s blessing as well.

In a small camp it’s likely everyone knew that Esau had given his brother Jacob his birthright for a pot of stew.  When Rebekah heard Isaac tell Esau he was going to give him his blessing before he died, she decided to help Jacob get it.  While Esau was out hunting game Rebekah told Jacob to get two kids from the flock and she would prepare them for Jacob to bring to Isaac to receive the blessing.  She also dressed Jacob up in Esau’s clothing and put animal skins on his arms so that Isaac wouldn’t recognize Jacob.  When Jacob went to Isaac, the elder asked his youngest son several times if he was in fact Esau.  I believe Isaac knew it was Jacob, he probably knew about Esau giving his birthright away. 

In actuality since Esau had already given Jacob his birthright then Jacob would be due the blessing of the first-born.  Rebekah wanted to make sure that happened.  Esau had married local pagan women and they didn’t get along with Rebekah or Isaac, so she wanted Jacob to get a wife from her home town.  With this conflict it caused Jacob to leave the camp and he went there.

We women have a tendency to want to control situations when we can.  That goes back to the garden of Eden.  The Lord told Eve when she received her curse, that her desire would be for her husband.  I believe that curse was the desire to be in control of situations, we see it resurface throughout the Bible and even more so today with the feminist movement.

Let’s be mindful of that controlling tendency and make sure we are in God’s will in all situations.