This blog post is dedicated to my children and grandchildren, and many special friends who have sons and daughters that I am earnestly interceding in prayer for.
Imagine that you are walking along a hillside in Israel. The heat is almost unbearable. The earth under your feet is dusty, and the grass has withered to nothing crunching with every step. This once lush Mediterranean land lies in the grip of a terrible drought, resulting in a famine that has lasted for three years. Coming around the side of the hill, you are smitten with a suffocating stench and an unforgettable sight. Before your eyes are the carcasses of seven men, each dreadfully decomposed. These corpses were the sacrifices intended to end the famine.
Surprisingly, these dead men are not alone. A woman sits nearby on a piece of cloth laid out on a rock. She is dozing, her chin drooping further down on her chest as the seconds pass. Out of the corner of your eye, you see other forms circle into view. Vultures. Quickly the woman rouses and lets out a blood-curdling scream, frantically waving her arms and throwing stones to ward off the predators. A fierce battle ensues, neither side wanting to give up his purpose in being there. Finally the woman prevails. For several minutes she remains near the feet of the bodies. Shielding her eyes with her hand, she carefully surveys the sky, making sure no more of the enemy lingers.
The woman’s garments are unkempt and you wonder how long she has been there. As she turns back to her rock, her face becomes visible. She looks to be in her sixties and her face is worn and tired. Your eyes meet. Hers are ablaze with a fire that burns deep within her: a fire that drives her to do battle with any creature that would dare desecrate the bodies of these dead men—a fire that keeps her vigilant day and night—a fire that defies sleep and hunger.
What would cause a woman to leave her home and camp on a barren hillside smothered with death? Passion—a passion fueled by a mother’s love, the love of a mother grieving over two dead sons. Meet Rizpah, “fiery coal”, my heroine.
We may journey on, but Rizpah will not join us. Her post is here, hovering near her boys, always her babies. She will stay by them for six long months.
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Rizpah... a woman in the Bible that not much is known about - yet as a "Mom" and "Grandmother" myself, she's a woman that I draw strength from and am challenged by. She was determined 'at all cost' to protect her sons from the vultures and wild beasts. Rizpah's story is one of God's pictures that reveals only a tiny glimpse of the power we have to make change around us. Her son's were dead but she would protect them until they could receive a proper burial... our children and grandchildren are still with us - Praise the Lord! But we must realize that we are living in a world where the wiles of the devil lay in wait to devour them if at all possible. We must join what I will call the "Rizpah Revolution" - where we as Moms, Dads, Grandmas, and Grandpas.... join our hearts in prayer and watch day and night for the attacks Satan will render on our young. We must have the same stamina, determination, devotion, love, and courage that Rizpah had.
"And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." (2 Samuel 21:10)