Sunday, September 7, 2014
Rizpah's Witness Part One
Pictured above we see a blessed woman of God named Rizpah (defined as a hot coal) who like Mary as the mother of Jesus caused nations to remember that her innocent son died for the sins of the people. I pray in Jesus name we all can be like Rizpah and Mary as a hot coal to spark people to remember that the innocent Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross for our sins. Brother Bob like Rizpah says to anyone reading this forevermore, remember that innocent Jesus died for you on the cross to remove your sins forevermore. Right now we all should worship and thank the Lord Jesus for removing our sins by shedding His own blood at the cross of Calvary. Today friend get saved and give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ by saying Jesus is God and believing in your heart that Jesus died for you and rose again.
To understand Rizpah's witness and why she protected her dead slain sons from buzzards and vultures by day and jackals, coyotes, and wolves by night, we must look at a sin committed years earlier by Joshua. Joshua made a treaty with a people named the Gibeonites without God's approval. Joshua became proud and agreed not to harm the Gibeonites if they would be his slaves, hew wood and draw water for Israel. This was a sin and years later King Saul disobeyed this covenant by killing some of the Gibeonites.
Then after King Saul died, the Gibeonites that survived by escaping safely to the mountains, asked King David for seven of King Saul's innocent sons to be hanged to death because of Saul's refusal to obey Joshua's covenant to not harm the Gibeonites. King David agreed to the Gibeonites' request and delivered seven innocent sons of King Saul to the Gibeonites to be slain. Rizpah was the mother of two of Saul's slain sons named Armoni and Mephibosheth and spent months protecting the slain sons' bodies from the birds of the air by day and the beasts of the field by night.
The story about Rizpah's witness is found at 2 Samuel 21 and says Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year and David enquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, it is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. You see a famine for three years occurred because Saul disobeyed Joshua's treaty to not harm the Gibeonites made in the name of the Lord. Pictured above we see that the lying Gibeonites tricked Joshua into making a peace treaty to not harm the Gibeonites.
The story of how the Gibeonites tricked Joshua can be found at Joshua 9. After Joshua came across the Jordan river, went around Jericho seven times causing the walls of Jericho to fall down, and defeated Ai, pictured above there was a bunch of people up in Gibeah who put on old raggedy clothes, old worn out shoes, and brought mouldy bread, acting like they'd been walking for hundreds of miles. The Gibeonites met Joshua and said we've traveled a long distance with worn out shoes, worn out clothes, and mouldy bread. The Gibeonites said Joshua please don't kill us and make peace with us.
Joshua did not enquire of the Lord whether to make a peace treaty with the Gibeonites and sinned by making a covenant to not harm the Gibeonites in the name of the Lord. Now when someone made a covenant in the name of the Lord it stood. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
The bible warns us to be careful about making vows, promises, and oaths in the name of the Lord. James 5:12 says But above all things my brethren, swear not neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea and your nay nay, lest ye fall into condemnation. Matthew 5:34 also says But I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by heaven; for it is God's throne; Nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king; Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be Yea, Yea, Nay, Nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Joshua promised a bunch of enemies named the Gibeonites that they could dwell in the land peaceably, carry on their own ways, and do their own culture. After Joshua discovered that he was tricked into a peace treaty with these lying Gibeonites who lived in the land without traveling a long distance, Joshua and the Israelites threatened to harm the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites replied and said Joshua spare our lives and let us be your water bearers and wood hewers. This sounded good to Joshua, as Joshua became proud and was glad to allow the Gibeonites to live as his slaves, but this was not God's will.
OK, years after Joshua's peace treaty with the Gibeonites, pictured above we see that the prophet Samuel anointed King Saul who was tall to be Israel's first king. King Saul refused to obey Joshua's peace treaty with the Gibeonites, viewing the Gibeonites as a threat. As a result, King Saul killed many Gibeonites as he tried to wipe out the Gibeonites. Only a handful of Gibeonites lived by escaping to the mountains. As the people rejoiced that Saul had killed the Gibeonites, someone said Oh no we violated Joshua's peace treaty with the Gibeonites made in the name of the Lord.
Now after Saul was killed by the Philistines, the surviving Gibeonites reminded the next King David that a famine was occurring for three years because Saul had violated Joshua''s peace treaty made in the name of the Lord with the Gibeonites. 2 Samuel 21:3 goes on to say Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord? And the Gibeonites said unto him, we will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house., neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.
2 Samuel 21:5 goes on to say And they answered the king, The man that consumed us (Saul) and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel; let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul whom the Lord did choose. And the king said I will give them. But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul because of the Lord's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
2 Samuel 21:8 goes on to say But the king took the two sons of Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and the older Mephibosheth (uncle to the younger Mephibosheth who was Jonathan's son whose life was spared) and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzilai the Meholathite. And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord, and they fell all seven together and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days in the beginning of barley harvest.
So we see that King David told the Gibeonites, you can have seven sons of Saul, but you can't have the younger Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan. The younger Mephibosheth is eating at my table because he's the covenant man between me and Jonathan. I'm keeping the younger Mephibosheth, but you can have the older uncle Mephibosheth, son of Saul and Rizpah. You can have Rizpah's two sons and Michal's five sons but you can't have the younger Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan.
The Gibeonites told David, it's a deal. We'll obey you as king and continue to hew your wood and carry your water. Like Joshua, David sinned by becoming proud and glad to have the Gibeonites as his slaves and let seven innocent boys die for the sins of the people. These seven innocent children never did any harm to the Gibeonites. It was their daddy Saul who harmed the Gibeonites.
Notice that when people lie and sin, innocent people are harmed. Because the Gibeonites lied to Joshua, Saul killed the Gibeonites, and David was proud and arrogant to allow the Gibeonites to be his slaves, Rizpah became a victim of vengeance as her innocent sons were killed because of the sins of the people. The innocent Son of God Jesus our Lord was also killed because of the sins of the people.
But, the one bright blessing in all these stories is how Rizpah made a vigil and stayed by her slain sons for months, protecting them from the birds and the animals requesting a burial, making King David and the people feel guilty and remember that innocent boys were killed because of the sins of the people. Because of Rizpah, David repented of his sins, gathered the bones of the seven slain sons of Saul along with Saul and Jonathan's bones and buried Saul and Jonathan.
I pray in Jesus name that anyone reading this bible study can be like Rizpah and cause people to remember that the Lord Jesus was the innocent Son of God that died for the sins of the people. May we all like Rizpah live daily in the shadow of the cross of an innocent son of God like our Lord Jesus.
Lord Jesus, please keep the cross ever before our eyes that the cross might lead us, direct us, and guide us to repent and follow in the way you'd have us to go. May we all like Rizpah do our best to show lost sinners the Lord Jesus as the innocent Son of God hanging upon a cross for the sins of the people. As a result, lost sinners will repent, finding the way to forgiveness and eternal life, realizing like King David the error of their ways.
Notice in the above picture that Jesus warned us to not sin and pull up tares around the wheat. Jesus said to let the wheat and tares grow together because if you pull up a tare, you will also harm the innocent wheat. Because King Saul tried to pull up the lying Gibeonite tares, seven innocent sons of Saul who represent the wheat were also harmed. Notice that when people have a grudge and are bent on destroying someone like King Saul did to the Gibeonites, they tear up everything around them. It's best not to take sides in disputes in churches because it causes divisions and harms innocent people. Just pray and allow the Lord Jesus to be the judge to settle all disputes in any church.
Friend reading this, leave vengeance to our Lord Jesus and bless your enemies. Romans 12:19 tells us Dearly beloved avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. Let the Lord Jesus and his angels separate the sinful tares from the wheat and fight our battles. As saints we should pray that our enemies repent and live for our Lord Jesus, escaping the wrath and vengeance of the Lord. Hebrews 2:3 says How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.
Take time to read Jesus' parable about the picture above of the wheat and the tares at Matthew 13:27 that says So the servants of the householder came and said unto Him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him; Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But, He said Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers; Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.
I'll continue my story about how Rizpah like Mary caused a nation to remember that an innocent son had died for the sins of the people in my next bible study. Feel free to contact Brother Bob anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Brother Bob Malkin, 2233 Pinetree Lane, Apt. N., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068. (614) 604-7133. Until we all meet again soon to lift up our Lord Jesus, everyone have a blessed day in Jesus name.