Her Faith Just Like Ours


Feb 16, 2011

Jephthah's Daughter

“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord.He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord the firstthing coming out of my house to greet mewhen I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as burnt offering” 
In just six verses a young unnamed woman is mentioned. Ironically her grandmother was a harlot who brought forth a strong soldier, warrior and leader called Jephthah. Jephthah’s father was Gilead (Gilead in Hebrew means “Hill of Testimony”).

Jephthah had a grueling experience as a child. He was sent out from among his brethren because they believed he was of a strange woman. However, God groomed him and Jephthah built an army of worthless men. Then the leaders of Gilead searched for him to lead them into battle. Jephthah is he who went into battle without recording a loss.

“Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites and the Lord handed them over to him.
In a great defeat Jephthah struck them down from the city of Arooer to the area of Minnith…
So the Ammonites were defeated by the Israelites.” Judges 11: 32

Jephthah conquered the strongest armies of that time and had unbeatable victory.

The Bible does not give us any details of his wife save his only daughter who as a mark of celebration for her Father’s outstanding victory comes out jubilant and playing the “tambourine.  

A brief study on the “timbrel, tabret or tambourine” -as popularly known- traces its roots back to the Bible and was further associated with women of ancient Middle East. The little instrument has a little drum with metal jingles attached to make the rhythmic sounds. The dancer shakes or hits the top with her hand, against the leg or arm.

The timbrels were a symbol of celebration and associated with dancing as in Exodus 15 verse 20; “Then Miriam the Prophet Aaron’s sister took a tambourine and led all the women in rhythm and dance.”

It was also an instrument of praise to God; “Praise his name with dancing accompanied by tambourine and harp (Ps.149 verse 3).

This young lady gave her Father a warm Jewish welcome- I imagine how hard she danced to applaud and encourage his brevity- only to be greeted by her Father’s show of brokenness on account of the vow he had made to the Lord in battle. Jephthah tore his garment as a sign of grief and pain because the vow could not be revoked.

I wonder if Jephthah did not think of the implication of the vow he made before making such a rash utterance knowing  he had no others sons or daughters save this young damsel.

The beauty of this whole story is her willingness to let down her life as a sacrifice just like the only begotten son was given as a ransom for our sins though it’s nothing to be compared with Christ.

She knew no man because she was a virgin yet she did not struggle with her Father over satisfying her desire to marry before being sacrificed to the Lord. She only asked to go to the mountains for two months to mourn and bid her friends farewell since she would never marry.

How willing are we to give to the Lord the only most important thing in our lives when he needs it most? That thing maybe YOU or ME as Romans 12 verse 1 speaks that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God for this is our reasonable SACRIFICE.

 I am not sure I would give up an only child or my only car but she forfeited the pleasures and comforts of this life to die in an excruciating manner.  But that affirms the awesome and unquestionable attributes of God. He may have orchestrated Jephthah to give up the thing he held so dear for futuristic purposes (who knows).

Most times God shows us how attached we are to the things of this life. He disciplines our flesh by taking away the very thing we treasure the most (to him they maybe weights not needed for the next level of our lives).God emphasizes that nothing in this life belongs to us, all things are a gift from God and since he is the giver, he can require of them at any given time.

Oh! Thank Jesus for offering his life in our place but he still makes demands on us to give to him one thing we treasure or hold dear. He will not ask for one out of twenty, but the only thing we hold as dear as a sacrifice to Him.

Jephthah recorded more victory after the death of his ONLY daughter.

Salient lesson: One thing God will require from us will cost a great price. 
(c) Enobong 

Feb 15, 2011

Shiphrah and Puah: Fearless Midwives

 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”  Exodus 1:15-21

Shiphrah and Puah were gutsy women. They were Hebrew slaves and understood the consequences of disobedience yet they chose to disobey the great Pharaoh and save the Hebrew children. Why? Because they feared God. 

Because of what they did, fearing God and saving the lives of the male children God dealt well with these women and He made them houses. I simply love women who take God at His word, who are not intimidated by the enemy’s lame roar.

Shiphrah and Puah positioned themselves to help birth the deliverer of Israel whom they saw firsthand. God could have bypassed them and raised another but they stood their ground, their faith tested even at the most difficult period. God ensured their lives were spared. It never occurred to Pharaoh to execute them or refuse to accept their claim that the Hebrew women birthed vibrantly. Through them, the people multiplied and waxed mighty

That was a huge responsibility but they didn’t fail God.

1.      Shiphrah and Puah feared God and as a consequence were not afraid of the repercussions of their actions and decision
2.      They followed God’s assignment for their lives, to save every male child and through their obedience, the people multiplied.
3.      God highly favoured them and blessed them.

May every assignment, every seed the Lord has committed into our hands be judiciously utilized and sown in righteousness and like the servant with the ten talents, may the Lord come that day and say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Amen and amen!


Feb 9, 2011

Mothers of Mothers: Lois & Eunice

"When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." 2 Tim 1:5 (KJV)
"I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also." (The Amplified)

I read that Timothy was only fifteen when he left his Mother (Lois) and Grandmother (Eunice) to join Paul’s evangelistic team. And Paul loved and talked glowingly of Timothy’s godly heritage which informed his trust in the young man. These two women no doubt had invested so much in Timothy’s life such that he was an outstanding witness for the Lord. 

We can never over-emphasize the importance of giving our children a godly heritage. We were not given any other information save the testimony of Timothy’s life and that was a powerful testimony. 

These women loved God; had an unshakable faith in Him and it translated into a transformed life. Timothy was a faithful follower, a true servant and one who had genuine faith. He was the product of two outstanding women of God.

Lois and Eunices’ testimony stresses the fact that nothing is more important in the life of a God-fearing mother’s life than the early training of her children. It brings to mind the scripture: 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Prov:22:6 (KJV)
..and I love this translation: 

"Point your kids in the right direction—    when they're old they won't be lost."  (The message)

At just fifteen years of age, Timothy was matured spiritually. Lois and Eunice recognized his gifting and let him go to do the work of God. They didn’t invest in his life for themselves but they understood they were merely custodians of their son. At the right time, they let him go. Letting go must have been hard for them but they knew the time frame and keyed into God’s timing.

May we like Lois and Eunice be such godly women, fully equipped to invest deeply in our children’s lives and with wisdom and sensitivity in the spirit, steer them in the right direction and usher them to the threshold of their destiny. Amen!

Feb 2, 2011

The Widow And Her Mite (Might)

"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."  ~ Mark 12:41-44
Jesus sat by the treasury to observe the offerings. He knew how connected our hearts are to money and he knew he could judge the condition of our heart and our commitment to God through our use of and attitude to money. People gave very impressive offerings, stupendous amounts that would make anyone go ‘wow’. 

But Jesus wasn’t impressed until this widow came in and dropped two very small copper coins (The message bible called it ‘a measly two cents’). It wasn’t just the copper coins that got our Lord’s attention, it was the woman herself. The message bible puts it in better light when it says: “All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford.”

I shivered when I read more about her:

1. She was a widow. She had no income or source of sustenance thus she had the perfect excuse not to give. (The amp bible states that she was ‘poverty stricken’)

2. She loved God. We don’t know if she knew about Jesus but she was definitely a daughter of Abraham who loved the God of the Old Testament and obeyed His commandments.

3. She was a powerful giver. She didn't give just anything; she gave her all without any regrets, doubts, cold-feet or fear of the future. She gave unreservedly. She gave out of her need. She gave sacrificially.

4. She trusted God to take care of her needs when she gave her all.

5. She acknowledged God as her source.

6. She gave with the right heart.

7. She worshipped God with her substance.

Jesus was impressed with her and that’s why her acts were recorded for us to read and learn from. It’s never about the size of our offerings, how noble our titles are, how uppity our positions; it’s always about the sacrifice behind our giving, the sacrifice in what we do for God. God is not interested in our leftovers but our first fruits, our very best; the costly oil.

This singular act sets her aside as a woman of God, a woman of great might, a woman of worth and value.