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Archive for April 29th, 2012

 

 

For years I have desired and prayed for a gentle, quiet spirit.

Those who know me chuckle and say, “Ain’t gonna happen. Not in this lifetime.” My husband’s recent comment stung a little more. “DiAne, I don’t see any evidence of a gentle, quiet spirit. Why sweetheart, you’re just like your daddy with his hair-spring temper.”

Of course, I fell silent.

And he quipped, “See. Just like that. Now you’re angry.”

Tears gathered around the rims of my eyes but I managed to voice, “Have you ever considered my silence is not anger?”

How many times have my actions and emotions been misread by those who think they know me? More than I’d like to admit, especially by those who love me most. Could it be we have misinterpreted what a gentle, quiet spirit is?

Mama used to tell me, “Sit down, fold your hands and be quiet. Be a good little girl.” Do I have to sit down and be quiet to be a good little girl? To have a gentle quiet spirit do I have to be a silent door mat?

Our pastor addressed that interpretation this morning. He said gentleness or meekness is an exhibition of power under control. And quietness is defined as being composed, tranquil, temperate, and sober.

I thought about my three favorite women of the Old Testament. Deborah, Esther and Jael. Three women who shared a common thread—they were each engaged in a battle of the Lord’s choosing. And not one of them refused to fulfill the task God gave them.

Deborah was called to be a judge during a dark, dangerous period in Israel’s history. The men of Israel had turned away from God’s vision for the nation and were hiding. Evil flourished. God allowed Jabin, king of Canaan and the commander of his army—an evil man named Sisera, to oppress Israel for twenty-five years because of their disobedience to God’s principles and precepts.

God instructed Deborah to call Barak and tell him, “The Lord, the God of Israel has commanded you. . .” She told him to gather an army, wage battle against Jabin, and that the Lord would give him the victory. Read the account in The Book of Judges, Chapter 4.

Barak said no. He wouldn’t go unless Deborah went with him. Hmmm, to paraphrase she said, “Okay, I’ll go, but you won’t get the glory for this—a woman will.”

Meanwhile, Heber the Kenite, an in-law of Moses, didn’t want to be involved in the ruckus, so he moved his family and made peace with this evil King. But the battle followed Heber to his new digs.

Enter my second heroine—Jael, Heber’s wife. The Lord routed Sisera and his army before Barak and Deborah. However, Sisera managed to escape and fled on foot—straight to Jael’s tent.

Ms. Jael invited him in, cleaned, fed, and convinced him she would hide him. As soon as this enemy of Israel went to sleep, Ms. Jael seized a hammer and drove a tent peg through his temple and into the ground. She came out of the tent, flagged Barak down, and told him to come get the body. The honor for this victory went to a woman—Jael. Just like God said it would.

Then there was Esther. A beautiful Hebrew orphan, required to walk the runway in a beauty contest for a place in King Ahasuerus’ harem. But God had another plan. Esther became queen of Persia. And in this foreign land, she became another woman who had the courage to stand for her people.

She engaged in a battle of wits with evil Haman who plotted to destroy the nation of Israel. The complete account of her life and this victory is recorded in The Book of Esther. We see her courage in an exchange she had with her uncle. He challenged, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” And she replied, “I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Three courageous women that God placed at a particular moment in history to bring about His plan.

Deborah—a woman of wisdom given by God. A woman who didn’t squirm at the prospect of going to war with the man God chose to lead Israel—even when the man showed himself to be a coward. God was in control and Deborah knew it.

Jael—a loyal wife and homemaker, didn’t say “I’m afraid. Oh, I can’t possibly do that and besides God, the blood will mess up my living room rugs.” No, the enemy camped on her doorstep and she knew God would give her the strength to defeat this enemy of her people.

Esther—an orphan who lived her life in strange surroundings, waiting for the exact moment God would use her. When He appointed her to be the necessary tool in His hands, she met the challenge that would save His chosen seed.

While I doubt these three women would ever have been seen on the 6 o’clock news, I’m pretty sure they never dreamed of being historical event changers. Yet they were. And I know these three never considered balking when God placed the mission before them.

You and I have been placed at this moment in history according to God’s purpose and plan. He has given each one of us every characteristic and personality attribute we will need to accomplish the goal He has set for our lives, our families, and the life of our nation.

What about you? Men, are you going to hide from these tumultuous times or will you lead the battle? And ladies, will we chose to listen and obey God’s call? Will we quake with fear? Will we sit down, fold our hands, and be quiet like good little girls?

Or will we act with courage and strength that rises from a gentle, quiet spirit when called by God to accomplish His will in our lives—as Deborah, Jael, and Esther did?

 

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