A Christian Journey

Archive for November, 2014

Turkey Be GONE!!

Gobble till you wobble! TEST

Humility And Faith

“And the woman became pregnant and sent and told David, I am with child.”  2 Samuel 11:5

In the story of David and Bathsheba we generally focus on David, the king, but what about Bathsheba, our woman of the Bible for today.

We don’t know much about her other than she is the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. In the story we find she is home alone, her husband is fighting with Israel’s army. On the evening that King David calls for her she is bathing on the balcony. Now pardon me for thinking this, but she had to know that her balcony could be seen from the roof of the palace. The scripture says that it was springtime when kings go forth to war, so she may not have known that David was there. Then again, I would think the people would know if the king was in town or not. So did Bathsheba do that on purpose? Since her husband was a soldier and from the scriptures it sounded like a pretty devoted one, maybe she was very lonely. Also, I’m sure a lot of the women in the area were captivated by David, not only was he the king, but the Bible tells us he was handsome as well.

Once David calls her to him there’s no indication that she puts up much of a fuss, though no one usually argues with the king anyway. An interesting side note, people didn’t bathe a lot back then, women particularly usually bathed only after completing their menstrual cycle each month, as they were considered unclean during that time. The end of the cycle was the least likely time for her to become pregnant, yet she did. Then she goes through losing her husband, then losing the child she and David conceived, but she is made queen.

Little more is said about her until her son Solomon is to be made king, then she is a key factor in making sure that happens. Most interesting of all is the fact that she is one of only five women named in the lineage of Jesus.

So what can we learn from Bathsheba? It seems, whatever situation she found herself in she is content with. Whether the wife of a neglectful husband, an adulteress, a childless mother, the queen, or the mother of the wisest man ever to live. Let us model Bathsheba’s humility and faith.

A Tangled Web

“David sent and inquired about the woman. One said, is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 2 Samuel 11:3  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible today is Bathsheba.  Most everyone knows that name and some think wrongly of her, that she was wicked for having an affair with David. According to the story recorded in the eleventh chapter of second Samuel, David the king, sent for her to be brought to him. He knew she was married, as told to him in our verse today, but he saw her and he wanted her. Like those in power, he got what he wanted. The scripture doesn’t say she didn’t consent, sin is sin, though, and since it doesn’t say she resisted, we assume she at least complied, after all he was the king.

As we know, she goes back home and finds she is pregnant. Now her husband has been off fighting in the army, so she knows it’s not his. She lets David know that she is with child. He realizes the fruit of his sin and devises a plan to cover it up. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. He brings Uriah home, has some drinks with him and tells him to go home to be with his wife, but Uriah doesn’t do that, he’s a soldier all the way and camps outside the palace. So then David sends a note with Uriah to the front lines and tells the commander to put Uriah in the heat of battle so that he can be killed. I’m sure the commander didn’t know why David wants this done, but poor Uriah delivers his own death sentence and it’s carried out. After a reasonable time of mourning David takes Bathsheba as his wife and everything is okay. Of course we know it isn’t, sin is like a horrible disease lying beneath the surface only to slowly reveal itself for all to see.

Many have dissected the preceding story from David’s point of view, tomorrow we’ll look at it from Bathsheba’s.

A Woman Of Good Understanding

“The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail; she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful. But the man was rough and evil in his doings; he was a Calebite.”  1 Samuel 25:3 Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Abigail, and what could be better said of any woman but that “she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful.”

At the time of this story David was still running from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. David had been protecting Nabal’s men out in the fields and now he needed provisions for himself and his men. He sent messengers to Nabal requesting he provide for them. Nabal basically sent the messengers off stating he didn’t know David and didn’t believe the messengers.  When the messengers returned to David and told him what happened, David prepared to attack Nabal. One of Nabal’s young men, who had been with David, went to Abigail to tell her what had transpired and that David was about to attack them. He even added that Nabal was such a wicked man that he wouldn’t listen to anyone.

I’m sure Abigail was not surprised by what Nabal did, she knew the man she was married to. She hurried and prepared food for David and his men, and went out to meet him. David reminded her of how he had taken care of all that belonged to Nabal and now he was being repaid evil for good. Abigail got off her donkey and bowed down before David saying, “upon me alone let this guilt be.” She told David that she knew Nabal was a foolish, wicked man, but asked to not let everyone suffer for what he did. She asked David to forgive her of any trespass and offered him the goods she brought.

David responded to Abigail saying, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, Who sent you this day to meet me.” He also thanked her for preventing him taking revenge as only the Lord should do that.  He accepted her offering and sent her home in peace, but the story doesn’t end there.

Abigail returned home and found Nabal having a feast and drunk. In the morning she told him all that happened and the scripture says, “his heart died within him and he became paralyzed, helpless as a stone. And about ten days later the Lord smote Nabal and he died.” When David heard of this he blessed the Lord for handling the situation and then took Abigail as his wife.

People will sometimes treat us wrong and it’s always the fleshes response to return evil for evil.  We must be aware of the carnal man’s urge to lash out and let the Lord handle it. He will, if we let Him, and He will do a much better job than we ever could.

Walk To Please Him

“So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled and escaped.”  1 Samuel 19:12   Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Michal, David’s wife.  She was King Saul’s daughter and David’s first wife.  They met when they were young and David was still in King Saul’s court.  Our verse today is the turning point when he decides to flee from the king, who is so jealous of David he wants to kill him.

So Michal’s father wants to kill her husband, because he’s jealous of his notoriety. That must have been a tough spot for her to be in, but she loved David and he was her husband. The scripture says she tricked the king’s men when they came to the house to find David by placing a household image and pillow of goats hair in his bed.  The Amplified Bible says it was a household good luck image, a teraph. Sounds like Michal was relying on the good luck image instead of God to save her husband.

Later, after King Saul’s death, in 2 Samuel 6:16, King David is bringing the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. He is filled with such great joy that the verse says he was leaping and dancing before the Lord.  Michal, his wife, was looking out of the window while this was going on and she was not happy. She told David later that he was acting like a commoner instead of king by behaving like that. David explained that he was making merry in pure enjoyment before the Lord and would be held in more honor for it. The last verse of Chapter 6 states, “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.”

Now I’m not saying she was unable to have children because of her attitude, but it surely didn’t please God. I wonder, though, if it wasn’t her attitude toward David dancing that displeased God, but her trust in the household good luck image.

Sometimes people have a tendency to tell us how we should worship God. What we should say, do, wear, go.  Certainly we have direction from the Lord in that area, but we each need to seek God for how we should walk out our relationship with Him.  Philippians 2:12 tells us to work out our own salvation, this doesn’t mean we save ourselves through works, but that we walk out our salvation in our daily walk through life.

The most important thing to remember is to do what David did, he lived for the enjoyment of the Lord, live out your daily walk to please Him.

Rejoice In Your Salvation

“But to Hannah he gave a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had given her no children.”  1 Samuel 1:5  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Hannah.  Her story starts in the book of 1 Samuel, and tells about the prophet Samuel.  Hannah was married to a man, Elkanah, who loved her greatly, but she was barren. We’ll call the man Elk, and he had another wife, Peninnah, we’ll call her Penni, who was able to have sons and daughters. Unfortunately Penni rubbed it in to Hannah that she was able to have children, but Hannah couldn’t.  This made Hannah very sad, she moped around and wouldn’t eat.  In typical male fashion Elk couldn’t understand and asked her why she was crying and sad, isn’t having me enough he told her. She ate a little bit and then went for a walk.  She was praying and vowed to the Lord, “If You will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid and earnestly remember and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I will give him to the Lord all his life, no razor shall touch his head.” While praying this she happened to walk by Eli, the priest of God, who was sitting near the temple. He saw her lips moving, but didn’t hear her speaking and accused her of being drunk.  She told him she was sorrowful and praying and that she wasn’t a drunken woman. The prophet then told her to go in peace and said, “may the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked.”  She thanked him and went away no longer sad.

The family returned home the next day and the Lord remembered her, she became pregnant. She named the child Samuel, which meant “heard of God”, because she said, I have asked him of the Lord. Once the child was weaned, around three years old, she went back to Shiloh and presented him to Eli the priest. Hannah reminded him of their encounter and that she was giving young Samuel back to the Lord. Her prayer of praise to God is recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, the first verse says, “My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord, my horn, my strength is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.”

Hannah is a beautiful example of a woman seeking God’s will for her life. When life was not going her way, the people around her didn’t understand her or gave her a hard time, she didn’t get down and give up.  Getting down is one thing, staying down is another. Hannah did what all of us should do during trials, she turned to God and asked for His help. He helped her and He is wanting to help us as well.

Found Favor

“Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should notice me, when I am a foreigner?”  Ruth 2:10   Amplified

Yesterday we looked at Naomi, today it is Ruth, our women of the Bible.  Ruth has followed Naomi, her mother-in-law, back to Naomi’s home town.  Ruth is not jewish, she is a Moabite woman, but she cares deeply for Naomi and goes with her.  She is rewarded for her faithfulness to Naomi as a wealthy relative takes a shine to her.

Ruth has gone to glean in the fields of Boaz so that she and Naomi might have food to eat. Boaz sees her and she finds favor in his eyes. He offers her protection and the food she is seeking. When Naomi finds out about Boaz she instructs Ruth in what to do to bring her closer to Boaz, humility. Ruth didn’t presume to demand anything even though they were family, but she went to him as a servant and asked him for continued protection. He followed cultural protocol and made sure others who were closer in relation were given the opportunity. When the way was clear he took Ruth as his wife and they were blessed with a son, Obed, who is named in Jesus lineage.

Ruth is a wonderful example of a gentle, humble, willing woman. She cared deeply for those around her and spoke softly.  In turn she was greatly blessed and loved. Though she was a foreigner she was accepted, just as we are accepted by God when we come in faith to Him.

He Has Not Left You

“And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will become my people and your God my God.”  Ruth 1:16  Amplified

Today we see two women of the Bible, Naomi and Ruth.  We’ll start with Naomi who has lost her husband and two sons. She has decided to return to her people in Judah, leaving Moab and telling her two daughters-in-law that they should return to their people. One does but Ruth, the other, decides to stay with Naomi, as our verse today states.

Many questions come to my mind regarding Ruth’s decision.  Why wouldn’t you want to go back to your own family?  What had Naomi done to warrant such love and devotion from Ruth?  What was Ruth’s relationship with Naomi’s son?  We can only guess at the answers. Maybe Ruth’s family was gone, maybe Naomi had set a beautiful example of a godly woman, maybe Naomi’s son loved Ruth dearly and that endeared her to her mother-in-law.  I can only relate my own experience with my mother-in-law and will say that I would follow her if I became a widow. For whatever reason Ruth chose to stay with Naomi and they returned to Bethlehem to live.

When Naomi gets back to her people, the Bible says they were all stirred up by her returning.  She very matter of factly told them, don’t call me Naomi any more, the Lord has dealt bitterly with me, call me Mara, which means bitter. She goes on to say that the Lord has brought her home empty. Naomi sees all the tragedy that has transpired, with the loss of the three men in her life, but does not see the comfort of having Ruth with her, who has suffered loss herself.  As we typically do, we only see how the situation affects us.

The pair return to town at the time of harvest and Ruth hears that they have a wealthy relative there, Boaz.  Ruth suggests to Naomi that she go to the fields of Boaz to glean some wheat to sustain them.   In typical pessimistic fashion Naomi told her to go, probably not believing anything good would happen since later that day when Ruth returns home Naomi asks her where she’d been.  When Ruth told her all that Boaz had done for her Naomi seemed to perk up a bit and told Ruth to stay close to the other women working for Boaz. Now Naomi has a new outlook, to get Ruth married to a rich relative, and it works. Boaz married Ruth and Naomi becomes a grandmother. The women of the village now tell her, “Blessed be the Lord, Who has not left you this day without a close kinsmen and may his name be famous in Israel. And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher and supporter in your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”  The son Ruth has is Obed, David’s grandfather and in the lineage of Jesus.

Though Naomi started out bitter and pessimistic, through Ruth’s care and humility she became blessed and happy.  Sometimes we may be Naomi, but we should strive to be Ruth.

Where Is Your Strength

“And the lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, Entice him and see in what his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him that we may bind him to subdue him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of sliver.”   Judges 16:5 Amplified

Delilah, the harlot, is our woman of the Bible for today. We all know the story of Samson, a man of great strength defeated by a woman. Our scripture for today tells of her being paid off by Samson’s enemies so that they can overcome him.  1,100 pieces of silver sounds pretty good even in today’s economy, back then it surely must have been a small fortune. Interestingly Delilah doesn’t play any games with trying to get Samson to tell her where his strength comes from, she just asks him.  You would think he would have realized what she was up to, and maybe he did, because he doesn’t tell her the truth, at first. I suppose love is blind, he doesn’t seem to realize when the men try to catch him that she’s feeding them the information. She asks him again telling him that he mocked her by not telling her the truth, that if he truly loved her he would tell her. She continued after him day after day until finally he gives in and tells her that his strength is in his hair. This time when his enemies come they are able to subdue him and bored out his eyes. His final demise was actually due to his eyes as they had seen Delilah to begin with.

This story speaks to me about temptation and how far it can lead us away from God. We have emotions, as well as our senses, but we should never allow them to lead us around. Always have a guard over your flesh, and let that Guard be the Lord.

Offer Yourself

“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time.”  Judges 4:4  Amplified

During the time of Deborah, our woman of the Bible for today, Israel had several individuals appointed by God to be judges over them. Deborah was one of those judges.

It’s surprising to me that a woman would be chosen by God in such a male driven society. This could speak to the fact that the men were not being very good leaders at that time. We see today in many of our churches that women comprise the majority of those attending. When the men abdicate the spiritual leadership of the family, it falls on the women. The example of Deborah gives me encouragement too, showing God will use women as well as men to speak to His people.

At the time Deborah was judge Israel had been sold to Jabin the king of Canaan. The scriptures don’t describe what that meant for the Jews, but they went to Deborah for judgment. She sent for a man named Barak and told him to bring 10,000 men, then she would get the general of Jabin’s army to go out and meet them.  She told Barak she would deliver Jabin’s army into his hand.  He agreed, but only if she went with him.  She told him she would, though not for his glory, but for the Lord’s.  She trusted God to take care of her. When the two groups met the Lord confused and terrified the enemy, the general and all his men were killed.

Deborah, Barak and all the Israelites sang praises to God for protection and blessing.   Judges 5:2 says, “For the leaders who took the lead in Israel, for the people who offered themselves willingly, bless the Lord!”

Deborah is a lesson to me of submission and willingness to serve. When we give it all to the Lord and trust Him we are victorious.