Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rescue Me...

I've often wondered what life was really like for my Grandmother Kiker. My memories of her from childhood involve enticing aromas that wafted from her kitchen, beckoning me to follow my nose to her table. She was the best cook in the world as I recall. Another special talent was her ability to sew. My Barbie always had dresses to match the ones she made for me, and I so wish I knew what became of those beautiful doll clothes that would be heirlooms today.

Grandma told tales of her one room schoolhouse and the red-haired boy who had a problem that resulted from eating too many beans. Sweet little Grandma Grace apparently always had to sit down wind of the stinky fellow, and she once got into trouble for whacking him hard with her spelling book.

I loved her stories--and regret deeply that I didn't know her as an adult so that I could learn more about what life was like for someone I love who'd lived through the depression, through marriage to an unfaithful husband when divorce was taboo, through poverty, and through the single parenting of her six children. These are a few of the things I know about her, but the main thing I remember is that despite a difficult life and many trials, she was one of the most content, unassuming people I've ever known. I never heard her complain once--even when her failing health had robbed her of any semblance of vitality and she was confined to bed.

These memories, when I think of them, amaze me, yet I rarely think of her anymore. My vague recollections are sweet, but seldom. Apparently, the children of Israel only had vague recollections of their history and heritage as evidenced by their rapid departure from Godly living or adherence to the commands of The Lord that had been handed down from their parents and grandparents.

After Joshua's death, the next generation of people in Israel did not follow God. In fact, scripture says that they abandoned him to serve other gods--and this made The Lord's anger burn against them.

Judges 1 through 4 explain the events that followed Joshua's death. I'm fascinated to read that as the cycle of disobedience continued its downward spiral, God mercifully sent "judges" to help them regain their focus and defeat their enemies--not because they deserved it, but because of His love.

When the people were desperate because things had gotten so bad, The Lord sent Othniel to be a rescuing judge among them. In the time of Othniel, scripture says that the men of Israel married women from the pagan nations who were living in their midst. This led them down the path of idolatry and into the place of peril, but almost certainly they justified their sin, reckoning themselves strong and wise enough to dabble in one area of disobedience but not another.

Often, it's easy to rationalize something that God says is wrong because it seems harmless on the surface, and only later when the damage is done, do we realize that one compromise usually leads to another.

In this case, their romantic entanglements with women from Canaan led them to eventually forsake God and worship Baal and Ashtoreth--and this was abominable according to The Lord, yet in their depravity, God rescued them.

Today, not because we deserve it but because of his love, God still offers us a rescuer in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. My hope, my prayer is that in writing these things to you, as your memories of me fade, my written words will serve as a testimony of God's faithfulness to me and to our family--and a strong encouragement to always follow the only One worthy of our submission in gratitude to Him for rescuing the undeserving.

Father, your mercies are amazing and I thank you that they are new each day. Please continue to extend them to me and to my precious family so that we will always walk in your favor, never forgetting your sacrifice. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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