Thursday, June 21, 2007

Its A Challenge.

Are you serious? Time seems to fly around me so incredibly fast. I was telling my girlfriend the other day, if I could purchase one more hour of the day, I'd probably ransom another.

I think I am settling into this bible study now. I keep considering the idea of professionally producing the Tuesday night podcast, since its often downloaded not interactive.

(I say that like I'm a rock star, but I suppose you would have to know that I own my own multi-media/technology company to understand that its really no cost to me to produce anything.*laugh Unfortunately, I remain an undiscovered talent--and quite frankly I prefer it that way. I'll continue to work behind the scenes directing others stardom, thank you very much.)

That being said, I am so far really really not interested in that professionally scripted, musical interlude set up. I prefer to come just as I am in a very unscripted manner. The goal of this study is to engage with you, not talk at you, so even if for a little while I am doing all the rambling--and repeating myself often--I'll do that. I want to keep this interaction as conversational and intimate as possible. I don't mind sticking my foot in my mouth every now and then, as I am so likely to do when I speak off the cuff.

And, I am having a blast doing this. I am having a good time simply sharing my thoughts. I do pray before I start that I do not dishonor my Lord and Savior in anyway--and I take sharing the word of God very seriously, if you can't tell. I want His Words to Jump out and inspire you like they do me.

Anyway...I'm sure you did not come by here to read all about me. If you came by here at all intentionally, you are looking for a new post on the Proverbs 31 Woman. If you are new, and have never been here before, welcome. Please either comment or shoot me an email to introduce yourself. So far, most people just shoot me an email. But, I invite either.

One sister emailed me this week and wanted to discuss my affinity for the "Bad Girls" of the Bible. She wanted to understand more why I consider someone/something that challenges God to be a good thing. So, I think that is a fine topic to address in light of verse 19 of Proverbs 31.

I'm going to first direct you to the story of Delilah and Samson. (Yes, Delilah and Samson, not Samson and Delilah, because we are talking about Delilah, not Samson.) Please read Judges 16.

Our verse of the week is
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

In our discussion, I interpreted these verses as being the Honorable Woman's skill and industry. I suggested that the place of this verse after verse 18 suggested that although this Proverbs 31 Woman has arrived at a place of profitability, it is her ongoing skill and industry that makes her both remarkable and dangerous. It is dangerous because the skill and industry itself can court her into making it an idol. It becomes a means to an end, rather than a confirmation of God's blessing on her life.

I used Delilah because she was courted into becoming a spy for her nation.

Judges 16
4
Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels [a] of silver."

When Delilah is talked about by teachers and preachers she is given the misnomer of being a harlot. She is not a harlot by trade. Do you see anywhere in that description that she was a harlot? No. She is a woman whom Samson fell in love.
I want to point a few things out about this Bad Girl, Delilah, that makes me love her challenge to preconceived Biblical/Christian notions.
  • Delilah was well connected, this was no run of the mill harlot on the side street. She was consulted by the rulers themselves, not their emissaries or missionaries as a commoner would have been.
  • Delilah was a soldier and a patriot. Remember, Ladies, this is not about siding with the Israelites just this second. This is about seeing a woman who was caught in the cross fire, caught in a war between her nation and another.
  • Delilah was shrewd and understood her worth. She courted the attention of the Judge of Israel, with whom her country was at war, during the time of war. She negotiated with her own countrymen, the rulers a price for her service.
What I am suggesting about her is the following:
  • Delilah's trading of sexual favors as part of her work cast her in the role of "harlot" through pulpit history. Delilahs mission was not to have sex with Samson. Delilahs mission was to take down a nation. Her sexuality was her weapon of choice. Again this is a woman who is completely possessed of her value and her worth.
  • That Delilah worked for the Philistines and not the Israelites is what has further vilified her in pulpit history. Had she, like Ruth, been simply trying to work within the culture and was a believer in the Living God, I don't know that she would have been so vilified. I think possibly she would have been seen as plying her trade for a good and honorable end. Is that not what we believe about Tamar who seduced Judah dressed as a harlot? Ruth also attempted to have sex with her Israelite husband, Boaz before "marriage." And, do we no love, love, love Rahab because she is reformed a reformed harlote...but...was she not acting as a counter-intelligence double agent for the Isrealites? hmmmm.
So, I love Delilah because she is the woman we want to become:
  • She is worthy
  • She is confident
  • She is successful
  • She is purposeful
What makes her a Bad Girl of the Bible? She is self-interested. She works as she works for her own satisfaction and her own self edification. This is the very definition of self-destruction:

Psalm 9:16
The Lord has made Himself known; He executes judgement; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
We don't want to model ourselves after Delilah because its a lonely existence. Serving idols does not lead to fulfillment and joy.

Deuteronomy 4
27 The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

In order for us truly to find the contentment, the joy, the fulfillment of our life's mission, the mission must be purposeful to more than ourselves. For worshippers of the living God, for followers of Jesus Christ, our missions are grand--not matter the size of the mission. Delilah won the battle, she did her job well. She was well compensated. But, God still won the war. Samson repented His sinfulness, and his life's mission was still there waiting for him. God's glory was demonstrated and His blessing confirmed. Delilah was neither affirmed nor confirmed for her duties. She was merely paid.

That is why I like the Bad Girls of the Bible and the challenge they pose. They tend to represent tendencies and temptations of myself. I learn from them what life would be like with no Living God to share it. I much prefer my life with Christ, to that of my life with idols.

Selah.

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