Discovering my Spiritual Stomach

I’ve sat with the same passage of scripture in front of me for over three months, “chewing on it,” and “chewing” some more. Several times I tried to find a take-away and move on, but, each time, it was over-generalized, and my heart was not satisfied. Then, at just the right time, the purpose that God had for me in this story became clear and it spoke wisdom into a trial that my husband and I were facing.

Although my childhood summers came each year by way of a country dirt road, I failed to learn the reason that cows chew all the time. The term “ruminate” means to meditate or ponder something. The meaning is derived from the part of the cow’s stomach called the rumen, whose function it is to return cud to the mouth to be re-chewed. The food travels through 4 sections of the stomach to fully process and break down the food enough to be digested.

The four parts of the cow’s stomach have become my physical picture of this process that I often follow when studying scripture. Each time this story moved from one part of my ‘spiritual stomach’ to the next, it was becoming softer, and I was gathering bits of nutrients until it was ready to be fully consumed – providing nourishment to my heart, mind and soul.

In the story of Abigail, located in 1 Samuel 25:2-42, Abigail is described as intelligent and beautiful, while her husband Nabal (whose name means ‘fool’) is described as brutish and rude. King David sends men to ask Nabal for some food to feed his men in return for the protection they had helped to provide Nabal’s shepherds and flocks. In a prideful response, Nabal insulted David and refused to share provisions. When David heard of Nabal’s response, he rallied 400 men to ride towards Nabal on a kill mission. Nabal’s servants who heard this interaction went directly to Abigail to ask for her intervention.

From here, I encourage you to read the exact interaction between Abigail and David in 1 Samuel 25:23-42. Look beyond the surface and recognize the ways that her speech is woven with evidence of God’s having molded her heart over time.

Here are a few of the spiritual truths that God confirmed through Abigail’s story:

  • The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
    • Abigail feared the Lord more than she feared David, his men or Nabal.
    • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
  • Wisdom produces Humility
    • Abigail’s approach towards David wasn’t strategic – she didn’t have time to be strategic. Her words and her actions were a pure response from her heart.
    • “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
    • “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)
  • Humility precedes Grace.
    • Abigail bore the burden that belonged to her husband. “She fell at [David’s] feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. (1 Samuel 25:24)
    •  . . . Clothe yourself with humility toward one another because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5)
  • Godly Wisdom produces Peace.
    • Abigail’s wisdom in her reasoning with David was honoring to God and it changed the course of David’s response to Nabal.
    • “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)
  • Reward begins with the Fear of the Lord.
    • The lives of many men were spared, and David later remembered Abigail and asked her to become his wife.
    • “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

My spiritual journey through this story began with a bite that was too big to swallow. It required meditation and the reference of many other verses to break it down into the purpose God had for me at the time. It’s your turn, go find a passage to chew on for a while. Moo.

About the Author:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.

 

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The Challenge of Rebekah: Finishing with Faith

She was brave. She was beautiful. She was kind-hearted and hard-working. What man wouldn’t dream of a wife like Rebekah?  Indeed, Isaac “loved her very much and she was a special comfort to him.”

When faced with the choice to respond to a glorious recount of God’s divine intervention to unite Rebekah with her future husband (a complete stranger, by the way) she said, “Yes, I will go.” Rebekah followed Abraham’s servant back to a far away place to meet her new husband. Their first meeting was love at first sight, and in years to follow, Isaac still loved her so much that he begged God on her behalf. God granted Isaac his request, and Rebekah bore twin sons.

Rebekah was loved, but Rebekah was distracted. She was busy securing a future for her beloved son, Jacob. She was willing to deceive her husband to get what she wanted. She was willing to cast her other son aside, leaving him slighted and dejected. God had made her a promise, but she somehow thought that God needed her intervention to make it happen. She saw her husband as more powerful than God and so she attempted to thwart him.

Rebekah encouraged much strife, favoritism, manipulation, deceit, and spite within her family.

I am reminded of the words in Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

 The life of Rebekah is a wakeup call for me. I see little in the life-story of Rebekah to admire her for. However, God in His sovereignty still accomplished all of His purposes regardless of Rebekah’s shortcomings. As much as I want the Lord to include me in His displays of faithfulness throughout the generations, I also want to be a woman that God exalts. I don’t want to be merely in a story of the faith, but I want to be one that the Lord exalts in those stories. To be so, I must relinquish the fears that overtake me so very often and allow God to accomplish His promises.

The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. Proverbs 29:25 

  • Is there anything that you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit of to confess right now?
  • Is there any fear that you are holding on to so tightly that you are not trusting God with?
  • Is there anything or anyone that you really believe could stand against God and His purposes?

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Don’t Worry, I’ll fix IT

I’m a fixer.  I fix things.  It’s what I do.  Someone’s got a problem?  Tell me, and I’ll fix it.  My friends even gave me the nickname “Miss Fix It” in high school.  This personality trait can get me into trouble, however.  I have the tendency to attempt to solve the problem immediately in a manner I think is best instead of consulting the Ultimate Fixer, God.  I can be impatient, determined that the problem must be solved ASAP, and convinced that my way is clearly the best.

Abraham’s wife Sarah and I have this trait in common. God has told Abraham and Sarah that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars, despite the fact that they are both very old and at the time childless. We then learn in Genesis 16 that Sarah takes the matter into her own hands and tries to fix it. She sends her slave, Hagar, into her husband’s arms:

“Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Genesis 16:2b

Notice the keyword “I” in that verse. Long story short, this plan doesn’t work out. The results of that decision include hostility, catfights, and homelessness. We may not have much patience but thankfully our sovereign Lord does. He has the patience to let us make mistakes but receive us with open arms afterwards. Even though Sarah tries to fix it, God still blesses her with a son and her and Abraham’s descendants are indeed as numerous as the stars.

As I’ve gotten older and tried to fix oh-so-many things, I’ve learned that life is a lot easier if I sit in the back seat and let Him be the driver. He doesn’t even need me to be the navigator! I can take a nap, drink a Coke, listen to music, and do whatever I want (I’d probably choose the nap option to be honest).  And, that’s not a bad way to live. Consider Jesus’s own words in Matthew 11:28-30 NIV and let His peace wash over you:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The Message translates the last part of verse 30 like this, “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Wow, what a concept! The Creator of the universe doesn’t need me to fix it . . .

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.