I love the stories of David, and the account of him and Goliath is still one of my favorites. I love the idea of the underdog gaining victory over God’s mocker. I noticed that when David challenged Goliath, everyone was doubtful, even his brothers. King Saul himself even tried to give young David his own armor! There was one who did not doubt: David. David did not doubt because he remembered God giving him victory over not only a lion, but also a bear. When these happened, his friends were not around. They had not yet perhaps seen the mighty hand of God bring the victory. But David lived in his remembrance. Perhaps you have been in a similar situation, where well meaning and supportive friends aren’t quite so supportive. Know this: their lack of support is based on their level of faith. Many people do not think God can bring the victory because they have never seen it before. But you have. Perhaps you have had God kill the symbolic lion and bear in your past, so you know he can do it again. Don’t fully listen to the whispers of your friends. They might not yet have stood with feet mired in mud, watching as God parted the sea. But you have. Remember those times. Cling to those times, knowing that the same God who brought you through the fire first time can bring you through again! Live in full remembrance, friend, of all God has done for you!
When studying for this week’s devo I learned about astonishing correlations between Jesus and the sacrificial lamb that was used for sacrifice:
1. After being selected for sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb was wrapped in swaddling clothes. This places new significance on the mention of Jesus being wrapped in swaddling cloth when found by the shepherds. And these were not ordinary shepherds. These shepherds were, specifically, Levitical shepherds who took care of the lambs for the temple sacrifice in Jerusalem. This had significant meaning and symbolism for both them and us.
2. The sacrificial lambs used for sacrifice in Jerusalem came from Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
3. The sacrificial lamb had to be male, just like Jesus.
4. The sacrificial lamb had to be perfect, without blemish. Jesus was our sinless, perfect sacrifice.
5. The sacrificial lamb had to be in the prime of his life at 1 year of age. Jesus died in the prime of his life, at 33.
6. 6 days before sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb was presented to the high priest. 6 days before the Crucifixion, Jesus was presented to the people on an unridden donkey and rode through the city gates (a rite reserved only for kings).
7. 6 days before slaughter, the sacrificial lamb was inspected by the priest and his feet were anointed with oil. 6 days before the Crucifixion, the “Immoral Woman” anointed Jesus’ feet with oil in the house of Simon the leper.
8. 2 days before Passover, the sacrificial lamb was given a final inspection by the priest and his head was anointed with oil. 2 days before the Crucifixion, Jesus’ head was anointed with oil by the woman at Bethany.
9. Just as the sacrificial lamb was sacrificed at the ninth hour (3:00), Jesus, too, died at the ninth hour.
10. A blood sacrifice was required for the Passover, and Jesus shed his blood for us.
11. The sacrificial lamb is to have no broken bones, even after death. Jesus bones were not broken (even though it was customary to break the legs of the crucified men).
12. There were to be no leftovers of the sacrificial lamb. Jesus body was taken off the cross before sundown. -April Estes, sweetmimosa.blog
Amazing the similarities! But we do not serve a God of chance, but a God who is deliberate, thoughtful and a lover of symbolism. He shows us proof even without asking! Praise be to God!
My third book, Audacious Women of the Bible, just came out and I have been amazed at all the women I’d never even heard of! Jehosheba, Abigail, Zipporah…the list goes on & on. What seems to be key is “audaciousness” is neither good nor bad, but how you use it. A lady, like Esther, could be audacious enough to go before a king uninvited to save a nation or be like Delilah and use her audaciousness for her own, personal gain. Many things in life are like that. They are neither good nor bad, but the way they are USED determines whether they are good or bad. Today, Let’s determine to use our audaciousness and boldness and all our other traits for God’s glory, for the good!
Catch this podcast of “Audacious Women of the Bible” (Amazon) https://anchor.fm/april-estes/episodes/Audacious-Women-of-the-Bible1-etachj
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Pet. 4:12–13)
I love words. I guess as a writer, that is an obvious statement, but my whole life I have been intrigued with lyrics and quotes. As early as nine, I would run to the mailbox the read the “quotable quotes” in the Reader’s Digest. I had books filled with quotes and bible verses and country lyrics from Dolly to Chesney. Along the way, I learned how to decipher verses. Some Bible verses (especially the apostle Paul) can be long winded and need to be “chunked” to understand fully the message and implications. The verse (above) is one of those. One day, when “chunking” this verse I was surprised, because It could literally be read “His glory will be revealed when you share in His suffering through fiery trials and suffering.” Sometimes the best blessings come in the pit. Suffering is horrible. Trials are the pits. But that is where we see His glory. Pray for eyes to be opened to see His hand and glory around you.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is I Kings 19. There are so many good points in that one chapters but my absolute favorite is in verse 18. In this chapter, Elijah is scared and depressed. His nemesis, Jezebel, had promised that she would kill him by the next day – and she was the type to keep her word on that! (This was the same woman who killed all her grandchildren so she could remain in control). Afraid and alone, Elijah ran to a cave and fell asleep. After an angel fed him, and he rested a second time, God himself comes to speak to him. Elijah tells God the problem and the Lord tells him how He is going to fix the problem, Then we come to verse 18:
“Nevertheless, I have reserved 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed their knee to Baal (to save).”
This verse is so reassuring, because it reminds us that we are not alone. What’s more, God sees each and every one of us. He is the God of the Individual who sees each and every one of us. We might think we are all alone, but God knows better. His followers are all around – perhaps scattered, but still present – and God saves them, just as He promised. If you are feeling alone, ask God to open your eyes or bring one of His “7,000” to you. They are all around!
Need some encouragement? Join me for an online women’s retreat “SUMMIT OF HOPE!” 13 women who have walked through the fire will be speaking for Wavemakers on
MARCH 25-27, 6:30-9pm CST, sharing PRACTICAL and USEABLE advice to help get you through the hard times!
**I will be speaking Mar 26 at 7 (8pm EST) To participate in this FREE event, PM me your email address so I can send you the invite! Yay!! 💕
I like to read well-known authors to keep informed of what is popular in the present. This month my book journey led me to “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. Her message of letting go of others’ expectations and “living in the moment” is alluring. She uses the word “free” often, as in “free from” chains that hold us. Her 21st century philosophy of “finding yourself” and “living free” is an enticing message. Her self review is honest, encouraging readers to embrace themselves and break out of the “cages of conditioning” that thwart our growth and happiness. It is a popular message to the masses.
But there’s a problem.
As Christians we are not called to embrace ourselves, but to deny ourselves. It is an unpopular view, as well as feeling, because, honestly, it’s not easy. It takes for-thought and perseverance and gumption to deny one’s self daily. It’s hard.
But so was the cross.
The second fallacy is that one is “free” when following Doyle’s philosophy. In this world, you’re going to be a slave to something. If one grasps the philosophy proposed in the book, they are merely swapping one set of “shackles” (self denial) for another (“happiness”). Happiness now becomes the slave driver, changing moment to moment and at the whim of each person. It never fills because it is ever changing.
But there is One who is never changing. His message is also a message of freedom, but it is not clothed in “easy” or “wreckless abandon.” It is real and honest, warning the listener to carefully weigh the costs before jumping in.
Because self denial is not natural. It is not human nature to “reel oneself in.” We WANT to say what we want to say and do what we want to do without having to think of the heavy weight of consequences or what pleases God. It’s so much easier and feels so much (fleshly) better to just “do what feels right” and be the master of our own fates. But the Bible warns us that the heart is deceiving. So, what is one to do?
Cling to Him. Choose to live Tamed. Jesus said those who love Him will keep His commandments. Revelation talks of those who are saved as those who fed the hungry, visited the lonely…did the hard, self denial stuff. It’s not a life that sounds very enticing or romantic, but it is the only way to true freedom.
The Bible refers to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. During my recent studies, I discovered a wonderful correlation.
The Bible talks about the woman anointing Jesus with oil multiple times in the texts. I had always assumed these were different accounts of one event, but they are not. There were, actually, two separate events.
In Luke 7:36-39 an immoral woman enters the house where Jesus is and, 6 days before his crucifixion, washes his feet with oil.
In Matthew 26:6-13 another woman, 2 days before the crucifixion, enters a house in Bethany and anoints Jesus’ head with oil.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, 6 days before the Passover, the priest selects an unblemished lamb for sacrifice and anoints its feet with oil. Then, 2 days before Passover, the priest again anoints the lamb – this time his head – to signify he is, indeed, disease and blemish free. When the Bible calls Jesus our sacrificial lamb, it wasn’t lying!
King Jehoshaphat was leading God’s people when he got word that an enemy nation was on the way to attack. Jehoshaphat, wasting no time, commanded all of Judah to fast (abstain from food). They then all assembled and prayed to the Lord, praising Him and reminding Him of all the promises He made to them: “Lord, the God of our ancestors,(H)are you not the God who is in heaven?(I) You rule over all the kingdoms(J) of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.(K) 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land(L) before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?(M) 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary(N) for your Name, saying,9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine,(O) we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us. 10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt;(P) so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession(Q) you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them?(R) For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.(S)”. (NIV version) They then asked the Lord the Lord for help. Jehosaphat then does a strange thing: “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness(AB)as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”(AC)22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes(AD) against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”
Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing praises to God ahead of the army! One would not expect worship singing on the way to battle, but they did. Notice what it says next: AS THEY WERE SINGING the Lord (fought against their enemies). God didn’t wait for the his men to even get there! He started fighting the enemy BEFORE they even arrived. When the Isrealites arrived, there was nothing but dead bodies on the ground!
24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.”
Wow! Imagine what victories could be won in out own lives if we followed their example of fasting, praying for help and praising God in the middle of the storm! It is a testament to God’s goodness and the power of praise!