RIZPAH, FIERCE LOVE

The story captivated me! Only a few words in the middle of a much bigger story yet such love displayed by a mother for her children! As a mother I feel her grief and her desperation! Her story is told in 2 Samuel 21 when David was king.

There was a famine in the land for three years and David went before the Lord to ask the reason. The Lord told him it was because of the treachery of Saul, who had not kept a previous covenant with the Gibeonites but had them killed instead.

Israel had not checked with the Lord first  but had believed the Gibeonite’s fraudulent story that they were from a distant land and they had made a treaty with them to let them live. However Saul had later decided to kill them in spite of the former treaty.

When David called the Gibeonites and asked how they could make atonement for the wrong that had been done to them, they answered that they wanted to be given seven of Saul’s sons whose lives they would take by hanging them in Gibeah.

David complied with their request and the five sons of Saul’s daughter, Merab as well as the two sons of Rizpah, Saul’s concubine were given into the hands of the Gibeonites. They hanged them in the mountain, the seven all together!

It was the first days of the barley harvest, probably in April and Rizpah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock near where her sons bodies were hanging.  They were not supposed to hang overnight but no one bothered to take them down.

Day and night Rizpah kept watch and fought off the vultures and the wild beasts of the field! “She allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.” She never once considered her own comfort or safety!

She did this “from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky.” The rain would come in October so from April to October, five or six months,  she kept the birds and the beasts away from her children’s bodies!

Such fierce love for her children is hard to comprehend! Every day she did not allow the birds to rest on them  and every night she drove the wild beasts away! We are not told how! What were her weapons; sticks, stones, a slingshot, bow & arrows?

We are not told anything much about Rizpah but we can see that she was a woman of great courage. Was she a woman of prayer? Did she pray for her own skill and safety? When did she rest and did her fierce love for her sons give her strength to go on?

The story of Rizpah is a wonderful analogy of fighting for your family in prayer. There is a battle raging for the minds, and souls  of our children. As a society we seem to be helpless to stop the downward spiral of moral degradation and even anarchy.

The tenacity of this mother’s love speaks to me of fighting for your family in this spiritual warfare. This mother couldn’t bring her children back to life but she would not give them up to utter destruction. She would not let go or give up in their defence!

God and any Christian moral compass has been taken out of the education and the world’s system.  2 Corinthians 4:4 says “the god of this world (the devil & his realm) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of Christ.”

Beasts work in the darkness trying to catch those who are unaware.  1 Peter 5:8 -9 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith-,”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God -” We do this through prayer!

The devil wants to destroy our children’s beliefs , their sense of right and wrong.  He wants to bring confusion into their  minds. Like a vulture he tries to attack their hearts through gender confusion, pornography, movies or even through computer games.

As Rizpah spread the sackcloth of mourning on the rock,  so we can only fight, on our knees, those things that would destroy our families. James 4:7 “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We submit them to God’s watchful care and through fervent prayer, on their behalf, we resist the evil that would destroy them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dusty Road

There are many examples in Scripture of God’s love for those who did not return His love or for those who had known His love and then turned away. Sometimes He asked His prophets to demonstrate what He was trying to teach the people about His love.

Haggai was one of those prophets God used. He was married and then his wife became a prostitute. God asked him to find her and take her back as his wife, as an example of His love for Israel, even after she turned her back on Him.

So often we accept His love and salvation, become His beloved, and then we follow the allure of the world and, like Haggai’s wife, we prostitute ourselves. He doesn’t give up on us. He may come after us like the Shepherd looking for the lost or wandering sheep.

One familiar story that Jesus told about the prodigal son, always captures our imagination. He asked for his inheritance while his father was still alive and then went off and wasted it, in a far away land. We might wonder, how long it took him to realize that he had made some bad choices?

And what about the father, who never stopped looking down that dusty road, shading his eyes against the hot sun, longing to see his son coming. Patiently he waited and the day finally came when his waiting was rewarded. Away, in the distance he saw something. Could it be? Eagerly, he watches.

He sees someone, clad in scanty, dirty clothes, trudging wearily along the dusty road. The father runs, something out of character for a man of his stature. He runs toward him and embraces this unkempt child who smells like pigs.

The father disregards the appearance of his child, he is filled with love and joy for his return. The son returns in an attitude of humility. Gone is the pride, gone is the sense of entitlement. Now the words are, “Make me as one of your servants.”

The circle is complete, the same dusty road going away, leads home. Broken and wiser, the son is home. Jesus told this story about a son but it could just as easily be about a daughter. I’ve been on that dusty road. Coming home, I found the Father’s love and forgiveness.

What Makes A Real Dad?

Is it a night when two become one,
An egg and a sperm make a babe and it’s done?
Is it the day when the couple is bringing,
The babe home with much joy and singing?

Does time make the dad as babe learns to talk,
Saying, ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’ and to outstretched arms walk?
When the child calls him, ‘Dad’ does that make him one?
Or maybe it’s when the man says he’s his son.

From all of these things we could surely construe,
That these make a dad that is loving and true.
I believe it’s not time, but a place in the heart,
A calling to give, the whole, not just a part

Of oneself, to the child in their care.
Unselfish love makes a dad that is rare.
He may not have given it life to begin,
But the life that he gives to the child is a win.

The importance of dad, we can not understate.
How the child is developed can’t be left up to fate,
For values are taught, both the good and the bad.
Best ones are taught by the wisdom of dad.

 

I have seen many kinds of dads in my day, some good and some not so good. My own dad was a verbally abusive alcoholic, whose own low sense of worth caused him to tell us regularly, we were no good. In contrast, my husband, Larry had a very caring father, who told his children, verbally and non verbally, they had value and worth. He was a godly man who loved his children and tried to be the best dad possible. As a result of his loving example, Larrys ideas of how to be a man were well formed.

Recently, I have contemplated this question, “What makes a real dad?” or “What makes a man a dad?” In pondering this question, I am comparing two men who have some connection to a member of my family. One man does not really want to be a dad but he has impregnated at least three women, in the past, leaving them to raise the child by themselves. He gives nothing to their care, no financial support or contact, after the child is born.

One of these children is my daughter’s litle boy. When this man ( using the term lightly,) knew she was pregnant, he wanted her to terminate the pregnancy. When she refused, he left, never saw her again nor the child when he was born. He has never given any kind of support, financially or otherwise. He has a another boy a few years older that he abandoned as well.

As it happened, shortly after this, my daughter met a man who loves her and wants to be a dad to her little boy. This man once knew what it was to anticipate the birth of his baby, only to have his hopes dashed when the baby died at birth. Along the way he tried to be a dad to another boy but was not allowed the privilege when the relationship with his mother failed.

He gives to my grandson, all that a child could ask for, with love and appropriate discipline. My grandson calls him, “daddy” and does not know any other. I’m watching and what I see is the heart of a dad. He’s not perfect and no parent is, but he has a desire to mold and shape his son, into what he believes a man should be.

Who is the real dad here? What makes a dad, really a dad? T’m convinced, it’s not the DNA or the genetics, it’s the heart’s desire.  It’s the motivation and the love that gives of themselves for the well being and the good of the chid in their care. That makes a real dad, truly Dad!

 

 

The Unmapped Road Of The Disciple

“If you follow Jesus.. you can expect to..Go where you’ve never been, Do what you’ve never done, Give more than you’ve ever given, Surrender what you’ve held tightly, Love those you’ve never loved before, Forgive those you’ve failed to forgive, Trust Him for what you’ve never trusted Him before, Become what you’ve never been.”

In a sermon by Charles Stanley

These words depict my life in the past two years. In March of 2011 my husband went to be with Lord. Since then I have written and published three books, something unplanned. In March of this year, I stepped out of my comfort zone even more and accepted an invitation, to be one of the featured authors, at the Tucson Book Event, held at the University of Arizona, in Tucson. I did a book signing of my autobiography, “A Path Through.”

Two weeks ago my daughter had surgery, became infected with a Super bug and was not expected to live. But my God, listening to the prayers of many people, intervened and she is getting better every day, ahead of what the Doctors predicted. She still has a long road ahead of her to regain her strength but she is alert and breathing on her own, without the respirator, for which we give God credit. He has a plan for her life!

She has a four old boy who needs care and a husband who needs to work, sometimes out of town. I am planning to fill in where I need to, in their home, which is something I have never done before. My children are grown and I was feeling comfortable in my cozy, cocoon where the weather is warmer. It’s not easy to “surrender what I have held tightly.”

As His disciple I choose to follow this unmapped road. I choose to trust Him for what I have never trusted Him before. This is not the safe, uncluttered road I planned. The old me would be afraid, would consider my losses. But this is the me, that wants to follow the Master, Who only did what His Father asked Him to do. This is the road of the best life!

I’ll Give You A Child

I’ll give you a child
For a little while,
To hold and to love
And to make your heart smile.

I’ll give you a child
To laugh with and cry with,
To teach and to train,
To hold in your heart
And from fear to refrain.

Give them roots so they’re grounded,
Give them wings, strong and able.
Help them grow in their faith,
Let them feed at My table.

For I am their Shepherd, not you.
I give them to you for a very short time,
To pray for, to mold, and to give them your best.
You share their journey, but this child is Mine!

© Janna Olsen Spratt

The morning of May 16, 2013 I was praying for my daughter who is fighting for her very life in ICU, in a hospital in this city. I remember some of the events in her life beginning with her becoming my daughter. Sometimes she caused me to laugh and sometimes she caused me to cry, but always I am aware that she is not mine, she belongs to God. I wrote this poem as I felt it spoken to my spirit. I felt the Lord saying to me, “No matter what happens, you do not control your child’s life. It’s in My hands as it always has been!”