Being a Grandma, I was blessed by this article. The Author penned many attributes of a Godly Grandmother that caused me to examine the spiritual heritage that my life will leave to my Grandchildren. May you who are Grandparents be likewise blessed!
Life is not always fair and there are times when the sins of others have a dramatic impact on the events which transpire in one’s pilgrimage on this earth. Such is the case of Hagar, an Egyptian slave to Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Given that her name means ‘stranger’ she indeed was unfamiliar with the tenets of the Jewish faith. Many commentators believe that Hagar eventually converted and became a believer in Jehovah God. This fact is substantiated on two specific occasions in Hagar’s life. Journey with me in Genesis as we familiarize ourselves with the life of this young Egyptian and how God intervened in her life.
Hagar became the helpless victim of the scheming of Sarah. Abraham’s elderly wife had not been able to conceive and bear him a son. In Jewish culture, this was a disgrace upon a woman. To avoid the scorn and ridicule of others, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to bear a child. Since Hagar was owned by Sarah, the child born to the slave girl would also become the property of Sarah. This entire plot was a sin before God. and all three participants were equally guilty. Sarah distrusted God in that her weak faith gave way to taking matters into her own hands. Abraham, the ‘friend of God’, should have obeyed the law of God and refused to participate in Sarah’s scheme. Hagar, the lesser of the three should not have yielded, but then as Sarah’s slave, perhaps she did not have a say in the matter. As we learn in Genesis 16, the end result of this arrangement led to tears, heartache and strife.
Once it was discovered that Hagar was with child, jealously engulfed Sarah. It is conceivable that in her humanness, Hagar chided her mistress. Her pregnancy had elevated her into a new position in the world. Perhaps for the first time in her life, Hagar was treated with respect. This only heightened the tensions between Hagar and Sarah to the point that it became quite difficult for them to dwell together. Thus, Hagar fled into the wilderness only to have God intervene and redirect this distraught fugitive. Hagar was in awe that “Thou God seest me”. She accepted God’s counsel and returned to Sarah. Although this must have been a very difficult thing in which Hagar to submit, it was comforting to receive the promise from God that her son would become the father of a great multitude. She must have realized that she was the object of God’s special care when He gave her the name of her son, Ishmael which means “God hears”.
Fourteen years later, God opened Sarah’s womb and she bore a son, Isaac. Tensions manifested once again between, not only the mothers but also the sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Sarah could take it no more and she demanded Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness. In actuality, she was condemning the mother and child to death. However, once again, God intervened provided water, and we are told that Ishmael grew and became an archer in the wilderness of Paran. In spite of God’s divine intervention in her life, Hagar seemingly failed in rearing her son in the faith that she had embraced while living in Abraham’s household. Not only was this evident in the fact that she found a wife for her son in Egypt, instead of the Israelites, but also in the realization that Ishmael is recognized as the ancestor of the Arabs and the prophet Mohammed.
Once can only speculate why this religious cult evolved from a son of Abraham. Perhaps it was anger toward Jehovah for allowing Hagar and Ishmael to be cast out into the desert. Maybe they give Mohammed the credit for leading Hagar to the well of water. Whatever the reason, these folk became the instrument of Satan in warring against God’s people. For thirteen centuries, the Muslims have performed the ‘Hajj’, retracing Hagar’s steps in search of water in the wilderness. This is one of the 5th Pillars of Islam. Muslims are commanded in the Koran to carry our this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if they are physically able. In 1999, 2 million Muslims journeyed to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Hagar was indeed a victim of other’s sins, but she had a free will and did not exercise it for righteousness. The life of Hagar teaches us that the temptations of a new position often lead to foolish actions, especially in times of trial and difficulty. Had she patiently trusted God to work out his divine purposes instead of taking matters into her own hands, perhaps she would not have become the mother of the wicked Muslin religion.
Even in today’s realm of Christian folk one is aware of young married ladies who have not been able to conceive. It can be an emotional turmoil that can disrupt a less than stable marriage. Acquaintances of mine have been blessed by being able to adopt an infant thereby fulfilling that need to have a family. In Bible times the society norms were such that a barren woman was often scorned and looked down on for not being blessed with a child. such is the case with Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. unfortunately for Hannah, she received a double dose of peer pressure if you will, in that she shared her husband with another woman, who was a fertile Myrtle and bore Elkanah many children. Peninnah, was harsh and provoked Hannah grievously. Peninnah had such contempt for her rival that whenever Elkanah comforted Hannah she would set out to taunt and ridicule Hannah, thus attempting to rob her of any relief from her grief. It was evident that Peninnah was aware that she was not the favored wife, because of all of the extra gifts which Elkanah gave Hannah.
We glean from scripture in 1 Samuel 1, that Hannah was deeply loved by her husband. Elkanah was very much aware of Hannah’s emotional pain related to her barrenness. He did try to comfort her by asking her is he was not better than 10 sons to her. The desire for a child was so intense that it consumed Hannah day and night. However, in all of her sadness and distraught of not being able to bear children, Hannah did not lose sight of her God. She is a beautiful example of how the most unpleasant circumstances can produce a Godly character. It was not easy living all of those years with a nasty woman like Peninnah, but Hannah retained her serenity of soul and was a rose among the thorns.
Her name meant graciousness and favor, yet she lived a life full of difficulty, emotional pain, suffering and sacrifice. God chose to use some dark threads when he wove the rich tapestry of her life, She had to share her husband with another woman; she had no children; and she was harassed by her husbands other wife. Hannah had marital problems, she was denied motherhood. Provocation, cruelty and ridicule were part of her everyday life. Bitterness of soul and anguish of heart clouded her spirit. Her soul may have been dark, but her faith was radiant as she knelt down and poured out her distress and disappointment to God.
Being the devout woman who she most likely did not complain her heart to her husband about the relentless aggravation that she suffered from his other wife. Scripture does tell us that she did pour her heart out to God. She knew that her Heavenly Father would listen as she knelt down in worship. Hannah went to God for wisdom in dealing with the daily difficulties in her life. When she worshipped God it was a personal matter of her heart leaving her open to the love of God and ergo wanting to submit to his will.
Hannah’s afflictions were so grievous that her tears flowed freely. In verse 7 we are told that she wept and did not eat. Her heartfelt prayers were so intense that her voice could barely be heard. In fact. Eli, the Priest thought that she was drunk. However, once he learned of her maternal desire for a child, he then blessed her with the assurance that she would have her prayer answered. And, indeed she did! God opened her womb and she bare a son, Samuel.
What takes place next boggles the mind of even the most spiritual of earthly mothers. Hannah gave her beloved, earnestly sought for son back to the Lord. Friends we are not just talking about going to the church altar and dedicating our child to he Lord. Hannah literally gave her beloved son to minister for the Lord in the temple with Eli, the priest. Once a year she would visit her son, each tmie bringing him a coat that she had made for him. What sacrifice, what devotion.
We see a similar scenario within the Hallowed Writ in the love which our heavenly Father bestowed upon us when he sent he beloved Son into the World to die on the Cross of Calvary for our sins. Such love, such devotion. How can we escape if neglect so great salvation which has been provided for us? We absolutely cannot.
In the Old Testament book of Judges, we are introduced to a remarkable woman who was used of God in a position of leadership. She was a Wife; a Prophetess; and a Judge. She was called the Mother of Isreael……………a title of which no other woman is labeled.
We begin in Judges chapter 4 where we find that Deborah is the Judge of Israel at this time in history. We find her dwelling under the Palm tree which was landmark at that time because palm trees were a rarity; it became known as the Palm of Deborah. She was gifted with superior spiritual, mental and physical powers. God had raised her up and endowed her with a remarkable personality and varied talents. These talents were used for the Lord’s work.
Deborah would not have become the dazzling figure that she was had she not first been a faithful wife, submitting, helping, respecting and loving her husband. She depended upon her husband for advice, encouragement and sympathy. She handled her God given responsibilities in such a manner that her husband, Lapidoth did not feel intimidated or threatened. He most assuredly was still the head of his home. We know this because the Lord will not use us in other endeavors unless we, as women, fulfill our primary responsibility as keeper of the home and being a help-meet to our husbands.
As a Prophetess, Deborah was a stately person who poured out wisdom and instruction as she declared the whole counsel of God. God had given her the ability to discern the mind and purpose of God, and to declare it to others. Amazingly, Deborah did more than prophesy; she aroused the nation from its lethargy and despair with her fearless and unsolicited devotion to the emancipation of God’s people. Day after day she inspired those who gathered to hear her words of divine wisdom, by reassuring them that they would be delivered from their enemy if only they would stir themselves from fear and folly and go out and fight. May that God would raise up a Deborah for our blessed America; A woman who would stir the hearts of patriots to fight to return to the scriptural foundation of our sacred constitution.
When God raised up Deborah to be the Judge of Israel, she was a brave and dauntless ruler. After leading her army in victory over their foes, she ruled for forty years in a nation that was free from war and captivity. She did not seek to be a Judge for God himself raised up the Israelite Judges. She did not seek the leadership in battle. Only after calling upon a male leader, Barak, and reminding him of the consequences of his refusing to fulfill his responsibility did she submit to God’s leading. Deborah gained undying fame as the female warrior who rescued her people from their cruel foes. Her life exemplified that the way to greatness in God’s service is the way of humility, never seeking, never aggressive and never assertive.. We are to humble ourselves, like Deborah and in due time the Lord will exalt us as he chooses.
In Judges chapter 5 we learn that Deborah not only had a sword in her hand, but also a song in her heart.; a song that revealed worship, reverence , honor, praise and adoration of the God whom she served. Her song is immortal because her life was dedicated to God, Above all, Deborah’s greatest gift was her trust in her God, which is the source of any woman’s highest adornment. Hers was a brilliant career because of a heart that was fixed on God of whom she served to the limit of her ability and capacity.
Having this woman as a role model requires that we must be diligent, devoted, dedicated, available and prepared for the work that he may have for us. We may never be called upon to serve in the capacity of that of Deborah, but we can move through the challenges of life with valor, courage, bravery, stamina, endurance and power…God’s power.
Her name is not given, nor are we given insight into her heritage, but it is common knowledge among believers as to this woman’s fate. She. perhaps could be classified as the most worldly of the worldly.
Luke 18: 32 is given by God as a stark reminder of the penalty one must pay in for their yearning of this worlds pleasures, the Lord Jesus admonishes us to ‘Remember Lot’s wife, and for sure, as Christian women we should consider her fate.
This short biographical note in Scripture begins as a result of Abrahams disobedience to God. We learn in Genesis 12:1 that God commanded Abraham to get thee ‘out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee. We are never told why Lot accompanied Abraham, perhaps he was an orphan of sorts and Abraham took him into his family. In Genesis 14:14, Abraham refers to Lot as his brother. Unfortunately it would seem that Abraham became an enabler of Lot for he was always getting him out of messes. Lot had been taken captive by the king of Elam and his cohorts, which actually may have been a Godsend, because he was living in Sodom at this time. Ponder, if you will, a different change of events had Abraham not interceded for Lot. After Abraham defeated the five kings which had went against the King of Sodom we gain an insight into the perverted environment in verse 21, when the king of Sodom asked not for the goods of the spoil in battle, but ‘ give me the persons’
As wives, we have an immense influence on our husbands. We are the engine that runs the family. unfortunately, Lot’s wife did not embody the Godly character to nurture her family in the path of righteousness. Dwelling in Sodom gave her ample opportunity to allow its filthy communications to soak into soul so much that when the angel of the Lord tried to save her, she did not cooperate. It is believed that this couple married before settling into Sodom. She was a lost person, her mind was not on the things of the Lord, her sinfulness or on the things of eternity. She therefore had no fear of God because he was not in her thoughts. It was the physical, sensual, and emotional pleasures that she wanted. She was most foolish. God commands us not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers and Lot certainly ignored this principle in choosing a wife. She did not encourage him in the things of the Lord; she did not influence him to leave the wicked fleshpots of Sodom, and she did not nurture her children in the path righteousness.
She regretted so much for all that she was leaving that she gave a huge sigh and looked back. Big mistake! Lot’s wife lived in pleasure but was dead as she lived. She was the wife of a righteous man of sorts; she had a name to love, but the homosexual life of Sodom asphyxiated her soul. Thus when the still small voice of God sounded into her ear, she may not have been able to hear it, and certainly did not heed it. Sodom with its wicked society and sin had become her whole life.
In 2 Peter 2: 7-9, the Apostles speaks of Lot as being just and having a righteous soul. He apparently closed his eyes to the filthy wicked lives of the Sodomites, even chosing to rear his two daughters there. How sad for a man not to take spiritual leadership of his home. These girls grew up not only nameless, but shameless. It would appear that the ungodly influence of their mother had tainted their hearts and mind against the God of their Dad and their great Uncle Abraham, Any warning by Lot was utter nonsense to them., Lot was reaping what he had sown; he had offered his virgin daughters to be raped by the perverted men of the city in lieu of allowing those men to have their way with the angels who had come to warn Lot. No wonder these girls did not have any respect for their father. But again, I must ask, “Where was Mrs. Lot? Would she have not wanted to come to the rescue of her offspring? No!, for sure. Their socialite mother was an evil influence on them.
Alas, Mrs. Lot met her fate when as they were leaving the city, she looked back. Big mistake! She had been warned by God, yet her love for the world was so strong that she could not, would not resist temptation. As a result, as I heard just recently, she became a ‘cow lick’ A pillar of salt! Sadly, her daughters were so far indoctrinated in worldly wickedness that this judgment of God upon their evil mother had little, if any, effect upon them. In fact we learn that their own wickedness would be manifested in a sadistic and immoral sin with their own father. They seem to have no qualms or later signs of repentance when they deliberately made their father drunk and they proceeded to lie with him in order to conceive. Such wickedness is most assuredly from a perverted mind that had been fertilized by an evil mother. Their conduct was absolutely revolting and an abomination to a Holy God. See Leviticus 18:7-17.
There are those who question the miracle of the pillar of salt even though it is mentioned again in Numbers 18:19 as a perpetual covenant; one that is to be in full force and never broken. It may well signify, in this case, and everlasting case against carnal curiosity, unbelief and disobedience. Apparently the female shaped pillar of salt is located on Mt Sodom in Israel, overlooking the South western part of the Dead Sea near the Biblical location of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sadly, many Christian women of today have little fear of repeating some of the same errors that Lot’s wife committed; the sin of being worldly! We are truly living in the Laodicean Age of Apostasy that is evident by the attire of church going women. For sure, we cannot fault a lady for wearing outdated fashions to church, however, apparel that displays cleavage; exposes an excessive amount of skin, and gives way to masculine imitation is not the best way to honor the Lord when we gather to worship and praise him. The is something to be said about a modest femininely dressed lady; it is refreshing and I believe, pleasing to the Lord.
The world is filled with women today who rarely think about God, about eternity, about the wickedness of their sin, or about the coming judgment of God. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire to dwell for eternity with Lot’s wife. There is however, an alternative to going to Hell as punishment for their sins. God has provided a way for man to have his sins forgiven, nailed to the blood drenched cross of the Lord Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. Romans 10:13 reminds us that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The family of Lot was a bad group, and have disgrace, disaster and death written in their epitaph . They remain a solemn reminder of the truth that “God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap Galatians 6:7 It is believed that Lot’s wife’s name was Lideth, or Edith. The name means prosperous in war. Would she had been a soldier in God’s army!
Bathsheba is best known for being an adulteress, a woman involved in infidelity with King David. This sin resulted in her pregnancy, her husband’s murder and the death of her firstborn son. Her story did not end at this point in her life. Fortunately, we learn that her life did have a happy ending.
Bathsheba came from a God-fearing family. She became the wife of Uriah, one of the most trusted and loyal of Kind Davids military leaders.l Her grandfather, Ahithophel, was a trusted counselor of King David’s. As with most Grandfather’s Ahithophel was proud of his beautiful granddaughter and proud of her valiant husband.
Temptation often has as its breeding ground situations where we are not being obedient to the will of God in our lives. David a valiant leader, decided to take time off from fighting the battles with his enemies and began lounging around the house. Perhaps he thought that since he had bravely trusted men to do the fighting that he did not need to become involved in the rigors and risks of battle. Bathsheba, likewise, was not in the will of God because she did not see to it that her bathing was not being observed by others, The Bible is not clear whether she knew that King David was looking upon her nude body; nor whether she made the effort to even look around to make sure that she was not being watched. This was a perfect medium for Satan to develop the necessary temptation to lure both of these foolish people into sin.
King David looked, then he lusted, and then he lured Bathsheba into his bed. The Lord warns us that when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death. Bathsheba was summoned to the King’s palace, possibly being totally unaware of the nature of the invitation. Perhaps, in her heart she feared that it was bad news concerning her faithful husband, Uriah. This woman had a Godly, trusting husband who was very loyal to the King; risking his life in the service of her seducer. However, once she became aware of the King’s intentions, she could have fled as Joseph did when Potiphers wife attempted to seduce him. She did not!
God has made it clear that our sin will find us out, and so it was with the adulterous affair of King David and Bathsheba. She became pregnant. They decided to cover up their sin by bringing Uriah home from the battle in hopes that he would be intimate with his wife and thereby no one would know that the child was actually fathered by Kind David. However, being the man of character that he was, Uriah refrained from being with his wife because his men in battle were not able to be with their wives. David, getting a little desperate, even got Uriah drunk, thinking that he would mellow and sleep with Bathsheba. It would also seem plausible that Bathsheba, herself, did all that she should do to allure her husband into her bed.
Plan “A” having failed, King David, succumbed further into sin, by arranging for Uriah to be killed in battle. Having seemingly been able to cover up his sin, he married Bathsheba. Foolish David did he not remember that Jehovah knew all about his sin. In fact, God sent his prophet, Nathan, to confront David. Once rebuked, David came to his senses, confessed his sin against the Lord, and the Lord forgave him. Psalm 51 is evidence of David’s sorrow and repentance of his transgression against the Lord. Unfortunately, sin always has consequences. The Lord chose to strike the child with an illness that would result in his death. God’s Word is true, we are not to be deceived; God will not be mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. David arranged for the death of Uriah, God arranged for the death of the child that David had fathered with Bathsheba.
Being restored into a fellowship with God is as refreshing as a gentle spring rain. We learn from scripture that there is much rejoicing in heaven over a sinner that repenteth. A with the prodigal son, God is eager to begin bestowing blessings upon his wandering sheep that returned to the fold.
King David is remembered as a man after God’s own heart. Bathsheba, having also repented, became the mother of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. In addition, she is mentioned in the genealogy of out Lord Jesus. Both of these did not allow sin to ruin their lives. Once forgiven by God, they put the ugly past behind them and pressed forward in the service of the Lord. Let this be a lesson for all of us who have been delivered from sin-ridden pasts. ………………more as the Lord leads.