(Love) always protects. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV)
From time to time, buzzards can be seen flying overhead. When we see them, we know something is dead out in the nearby woods. I suppose their purpose is to be nature’s clean-up crew. There is no malice in what they do. In fact, buzzards dispose of carrion which would otherwise be a breeding ground for diseases.
Today I reflected on one of the Bible’s saddest stories: the story of Rizpah, one of Saul’s concubines. As a woman and a concubine she had little control over anything in her life, but in the end her faithfulness and love moved the great King David to give a proper burial to her sons, despite political pressure from the Gibeonites.
There was a famine in the land during the reign of King David and a drought that lasted for three years. (2 Samuel 21:1-10) Therefore, David, inquired of the Lord about the reason for the famine. It was revealed that Saul’s shedding of Gibeonite blood was the reason for the famine. Consequently, David goes to the Gibeonites asking them how to make atonement.
The Gibeonites refuse money or anything from David’s household, but ask for the lives of Saul’s sons. David is able to save Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan because of a previous vow he had made to his friend, but was forced to turn over seven of Saul’s sons, including Rizpah’s only two sons.
As expected, the sons were impaled at the beginning of the barley harvest, which is in March. The rains did not come till October. So the bodies remained unburied till then and perhaps longer. During all this time, Rizpah, the loving mother protected the bodies of her children as best she could, till such time as they could be buried. Can you imagine such love and dedication?
2 Samuel 21:10 (NIV) describes Rizpah’s protective love: “Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day or the wild animals by night.”
Finally, someone brings Rizpah’s predicament to David’s attention, and he gives the brothers a proper burial, placing them with the remains of King Saul and his family.
A loving mother gets the attention of a great and powerful king. Amazing! Love always protects. Even when those we love are not saved and dead in sin, we continue to pray day and night, we witness and set an example of true love. We try to shield them from Satan’s grasp. We guard the truth that has been given to us and try to pass it on whenever they need it most. As we do the things any loving mother would do, we hold on to the hope that someday we will get the attention of the King.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
Thank You for allowing us to come before you on behalf of those we love, who are in need of salvation. We want them to know you as we do, to love You the way we love You. Do not forget them, Lord. Like Rizpah, we are waiting and hoping for the day of the rains. Instead of dead in sin, we want those we love to be crucified with Christ and sealed for eternal life with you.
In the name of Jesus, who wept and died for the lost,