I raise the question – How many mothers in Israel are there? I even said, ‘Are there any left?’
Last week we attended the burial of a dear sister. For many years she had been in our gathering, and was indeed the mother, grandmother or great-grandmother of several in our company. A couple of years ago she moved to be close to one of her daughters, so we had to travel to Scotland to be at the occasion. I will not give her name: she would not have Many who know me personally know who I am referring to.
Like the prophetess Deborah, she was a mother in Israel. For me she was one to whom you could go with any problem. If you needed some advice, she had it – and if she had a word from the Lord for you, she gave it. She was not afraid to speak her mind. We missed her, but she was always available by phone. Now she is not: she is with Christ which is far better.
Deborah was a leader, a judge. That would not have been normal. You would have expected a man to hold that position. Perhaps there was not a man in Israel who had the qualifications. There was Barak, but he lacked faith and was timid. She encouraged him, and there was a victory.
I raise the question – How many mothers in Israel are there? I even said, ‘Are there any left?’ Maybe that is lack of faith on my part. Maybe part of the reason is that her generation had to face the hardships of the second world war. Those of us who were born at the end of the war or afterwards did not, and really we have had things pretty easy.
This is a greatly needed service. Paul talked about being a nursing mother, normally a service for a sister. Gifted brothers have the public services of preaching the gospel and serving in ministry. Prophecy, or the ability to bring God’s mind into a situation, is a gift, open to all. But it has a particular effect when vested in a sister. She does not give a word publicly, but gets near, like a mother, one-to-one. Indeed it is a greater gift according to 1 Cor 14:5.
Joshua gives us the establishment of the people in the land by divine leading and power, according to promise. There is conflict, snf the faithfulness of the people’s walk with God is tested.
The career of Joshua begins with crossing the Jordan in the power of resurrection, and has its place of power for conflict in Gilgal – circumcision – death to the flesh.
They eat of the corn of the land before they have any conflict.
While Joshua is a book of victorious power, Judges is the book of failure in faithfulness, so that power is lost, Only that God intervenes in mercy, from time to time, to deliver and revive. Gilgal is exchanged for Bochim. Gilgal, the denial of the flesh, though seemingly of little importance, was the place of power; Bochim was the place of tears, but the angel of God was there.
The Lord intervenes Lord in grace to bring in the promised seed, and the restoration of Israel, but in the way of grace, on a new footing. Because of a famine in the land, Naomi, who represents Israel, goes away, and loses everything. Ruth comes back with her, and Boaz (strength) raises up the inheritance. It was old Israel, in some sense: the child was born to Naomi, but on the principle of grace, for Ruth had no title to promise.