Women of the Word

Deborah and Jael

How many women in the churches today long for a time in their walk with the Lord that would be characterized as astounding and life changing?  How many times we read of the women in the bible and wonder why we don’t see those kinds of events and accomplishments in our own lives?  Well, how long will we be satisfied with life as usual?  How long do we have before we have sung our last song, taught our last lesson, baked our last pie, made our last visit or prayed for the last time? How long will He suffer us to go on day after day without a whole lot of thought for the hereafter?  Have we ever won a soul for Him? Have we ever won 20? Have we ever given sacrificially?  No I mean, really sacrificed to give, whether it be money, ourselves, our forgiveness or whatever else might be required of us to be in oneness with our God.

GIVING

I remember a nephew who had broken his leg some years ago and his source of income had stopped when he was no longer able to work.  He and his wife were down to their last $5.00, unbeknown to me, and they were headed to church, intending to stop and get that bill changed so they could get milk and bread on the way home and still give a small offering, but forgot to stop. They found themselves in church at offering time with only the $5.00 bill. They looked at each other and decided to drop the last cent they had into the offering plate. That was a sacrificial gift! It was all they had in the world without a clue where the next dime would come from.

The next morning my sister, Judy, called him to see how he was and to let him know that I had sent them a $500.00 gift to help out a little.  Then the story was related to her as to what had happened the night before with their last $5.00, but they rejoiced in the 100-fold-return on their giving!  You cannot out give God. No, really, you can’t!

Years ago I was sitting in church and noticed a young fella, who was a stranger to me, and the Lord spoke to me to give him $50.00.  So my husband gave him $50.00 after the service. Now that was not much of an offering, but he was unusually moved by the gift and told Mike this story. He was nearly broke and a lady at work had given him a gift of $50.00 that day, but before he left work, the Lord had told him to give that gift to another lady at work, whom he knew needed it probably worse than he did. He struggled with his emotions, but gave the lady the money.  Then he went to church and the Lord spoke to me to give him another $50.00 gift! It wasn’t so much the money, although that was nice, but that confirmed that God was looking out for him by the mouth of two witnesses.

Some time went by and I saw this same young man and we still didn’t know his name, but the Lord said, “Give him $1,000.00.  I am teaching him about giving.”  So after the service, Mike again gave him the gift.  Both he and his wife slid out of their pew onto their knees praising God.  His wife had been out of work on a maternity leave and they were quite concerned on how they would cope with the loss of her wages, but the gift again, while it was helpful, served to assure him that God knew where he was and what he needed!

Of all the women in that service that day, God allowed me to sow into this couple’s lives. Today the wife is the director of a very large Children’s Church and her husband is a preacher.

Years later, one ordinary Wednesday night, a lady I didn’t know approached me and gave me a card. Inside that card were blessings on us and the ministry and a check for $1,000.00.  It was from this young man’s mother! Now, I needed that money more on the mission field than I did when we were semi-retired back in Georgia!  God is good and faithful and sees it all and releases the blessing you need when you need it!

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!

Don’t be afraid to give, even in this economy!  Genesis 26 tells us that there was a famine in the land of the Philistines and not the first famine.  The Lord told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay in that land and that He would be with him and would bless him and his seed and would give all those countries to him to perform the oath which He swore to his father, Abraham.

So in verse 12, it tells us that, ‘Isaac sowed in that land..’ and remember it was in the time of famine and  ‘…received in the same year an hundredfold.’  If that weren’t enough, it goes on to say ‘….and the Lord blessed him.’   The hundredfold was the obvious, expected, promised result of the sowing, and the blessing was another thing altogether.   If you are a faith giver, God can set you down in any country, any economy, any situation and you will still have money to sow in the first place, an hundredfold return on that sowing and you will be blessed totally apart from all that in what money cannot possibly buy! Whatever you need, when you need it.

DEBORAH

There is much more to giving than just financially.  Consider the woman of God, Deborah.  The bible tells us in the fourth chapter of Judges that she was a woman, wife, mother in Israel, prophetess, only woman judge in Israel,  the land had peace for 40 years due to her ministry in Israel and was victorious in battle. Much was required of her.

The setting for Deborah’s story is that the Israelites were doing evil and so they were ‘sold’ into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan, and Sisera was the captain of that army.  In the book of Judges, we see the pattern, rebellion, retribution, repentance and restoration.  The Israelites prayed and repented because of the great force of the Canaanites that had come to attack them.

But God had raised up Deborah, the Prophetess, who communicated with the Lord God of Israel and He told her who, what, when, where and how.  Now at this time, Barak was the general in command and the Lord’s army.  Deborah called for him and she asked him, ‘Hath not the Lord commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Napthali and of the children of Zebulun?  And I will draw unto thee, to the River Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots (900) and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.’ 

And the warrior Barak said to her, ‘If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go’.  Now, Barak did not deny that the Lord had commanded him to do that. Imagine him knowing that and saying he would not go, even though the Lord had commanded him to go, unless Deborah went with him? If I had been her, at that point, I wouldn’t have wanted to go with HIM!  He wouldn’t obey God!  I believe he only won the battle and lived to tell the tale because the people were praying and because of the relationship of Deborah to her Lord!

When a noted general in the King’s army would not go and fight unless this particular woman went with him, well, that tells us she enjoyed the favor of the Lord and the people.  That she was a woman judge in Israel confirmed that also.

Can you even fathom what it would be like for YOU to walk in that kind of favor? Delusions of grandeur might be your label here on earth, but in Heaven, you would be known as a woman of faith!  Only God can establish you in that kind of reputation and reality.

Deborah even had to tell him when he was to fight.  ‘Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand. Is not the Lord gone out before thee?’ In verse 15, we see that, “The Lord routed Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak, so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.’

The heavy rains God sent caused the Kishon River to flood and the 900 heavy chariots that were so feared were mired in the mud and rendered useless in battle. But Barak pursued him until there was not a man left of Sisera’s army.

The plain of Jezreel extends across the country of Israel between Mt. Carmel, Mount Gilboa and the Galilee. The River Kishon flows through its whole length to the Mediterranean Sea.  It was in this valley that Gideon and his 300-man-army fought the thousands of Midianites, Saul fought the Philistines here and it is the place that Elijah told the people to take the 450 prophets of Baal to slay them. It is also where Naboth had his vineyard that Ahab wanted and where Jezebel died and the 70 sons of Ahab were killed and their heads brought to the Gate of Jezreel.  Saul and his sons and King Josiah died there.  There were fortified cities guarding the pass into the valley, including Megiddo, where the end-time battle of evil against Christ will be fought and blood will flow as high as a horse’s bridle in this valley.  Of the Canaanite army that fought with Barak of Israel that day, only Sisera had escaped on foot.

JAEL

At this point in the story we meet another notable woman, Jael.  For Sisera to have reached her tent on foot after a long, hard battle, surely meant that the fighting had to have been close enough that Jael would have known this battle was raging. Yet when a man approached her tent, the bible tells us that Jael went out to meet him.  She didn’t try to get out the back flap of the tent, but instead, faced Sisera without fear because there was peace between Jabin, king of Canaan and the house of Heber, her husband.  She must have seen how the battle was going and realized that the peace agreement between her husband’s house and King Jabin would no longer be relevant.

Whatever her reasons, she invited him into her parlor, said the spider to the fly. Sic.  He went with her and asked for a little water to drink.  She gave him milk and covered him with a blanket and even though he must have been terrified of what would happen to him if he were caught, he trusted her enough to lie down and rest.  He told her to stand in the door of the tent and if anyone came to inquire of him, she was to say there was no man in her tent. He probably felt that he custom of the day that forbade her to have been alone in her tent with a man who wasn’t her husband and if found, she would have been stoned to death would have assured her silence. She had to know the risk she was taking by having him in her tent and for what she was probably formulating in her mind, as in that part of the world, hospitality was required, even to one’s enemies. That meant ensuring safety to every guest.

Sisera was weary and slept. That speaks that even the devil ceases and desists against his enemies for a space. While thus, Jael took a tent peg and a hammer and smote the nail into his temple and fastened it into the ground and he died.  Jael then went out to meet Barak, as he pursued Sisera right to her tent.  She took him into her tent where Sisera lay dead.

When Barak refused to go to battle unless Deborah went with him, she had prophesied then that the death of Sisera would come at the hand of a mere woman and she would be credited for his death instead of Barak, the warrior, and while Jael was not even an Israelite, she brought the victory to Israel and thus the prophecy of Deborah came true. Shamgar, another noted hero warrior, called for her to be, ‘Blessed above all women shall Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite, be; blessed shall she be above women in the tent, ‘ Judges 5:24

Yes, much was required of these two women, to say the least, but because they were found faithful in their walk with the Lord,  the account of their actions have endured for thousands of years. No matter where we are or in what circumstances we find ourselves, there is a Friend Who sticks closer than a brother and His name is Jesus.   Let’s live our lives without fear, without thought of reputation and be bold in our stand for Christ, even should it require much sacrifice on our part, knowing that we will one day give an account of what decisions we have made in the light of what He has instructed us to do.  Each decision is a crossroads and very often has long reaching effects. They may not recount our life stories for generations, but who knows? Eternity is forever!

ONLY ONE LIFE
“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding my selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.
Poem C.T. Studd

Susie Dempsey, July 15, 2012    Nina Rumi, Perú

 

 

 

 

 

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