Monday, February 8, 2016
Rizpah, fighting vultures
Are you surprised that we are still talking about Rizpah this week? Oh, there's more to be found in our passage from II Samuel. Let's refresh our memory, and then I will tell you about it!
Last week we studied the lessons that Rizpah had for us on grieving, on love, on prayer, and more. This week I want to look at this just a little differently.
You may recall that we said Rizpah was one of Saul's concubines . . . did you know what her name means? I thought this was pretty ironic -- her name means "hot or glowing stone." In today's words, I guess they would say she was beautiful, or "hot"! This beautiful woman has been of great service to King Saul, for sons were awfully important in that day, and she had two.
We read about the history of the Gibeonites and the Israelites, and how Joshua was deceived into agreement on a treaty. Perhaps King Saul decided that the Gibeonites were deserving of extermination because of their deceit. Perhaps he was caught up in the heat of battle and just kept on going, killing Gibeonites that were supposed to be protected by the treaty. Whatever the reason, God was not pleased -- He takes our promises seriously, and we should, too!
When King David approaches them, the Gibeonites don't want money. They want Saul's family wiped out -- just like their people were massacred. They want seven men to be impaled -- and that is where we met Rizpah last week. Her two boys (now grown) were in the group to be killed. Her response is to guard their bodies.
We talked about how she would have needed to guard them from scavenging birds and vultures, and from beasts on the ground, as well. She will demonstrate her great love in the coming months. A king will be moved by her devotion, and will be shamed into removing the bodies (and recovering the bodies of Saul and Jonathan) and giving them proper burials.
Rizpah also calls all of us as Christian women, to keep the vultures and beasts away from our children, our families, and our fellow Christians. This is what we will study this week; I hope you will join me again next time.