Judges 13-15, Psalm 74
I think back to the moment when I found my mother, who had just died and was ready to go to the morgue, in that hospital room. As I was crying at the bedside, a woman, who I know nothing else about, entered the room. Without any of the typical platitudes usually said to a grieving person, she placed her hand on my shoulder and prayed Psalm 23 in its entirety. That moment changed my life, as I asked for a Bible from the hospital chaplain two weeks later and began my journey with God. It was approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years later that I gave my life to Christ. As I go through Scripture, I realize there is often no dramatic lead-up to that moment when an individual is called, or when they encounter an angel or an individual that will forever change the course of their lives. We live in a very distracted world, how often is God sending someone to reach us, but we are simply not prepared or not listening?
We read in Judges 13:3, "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, "Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son." In that culture to be barren was a curse, and was even deemed a legal grounds for divorce. It is interesting that the Angel of the Lord chose not only a woman, who in that society held a very lowly social status, but a barren woman. Often those walking on the mountaintops are not in a position to see or hear from God. But this barren woman, in her broken state was ripe for a message. Throughout Scripture this is the case. Interestingly, it was to women in mourning that Jesus first chose to reveal Himself to on the day of His resurrection. When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9, it was sudden and without warning. Often God chooses those not exalted in the eyes of others to serve Him. We read Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence." Like this barren woman, it is those who have emptied themselves of pride who can open themselves to the things of God, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Not only does God call the humble, but we must always be ready. We see Jesus in His discussion of end times state in Matthew 24:44, "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." A little further, He said in Matthew 24:50, "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,".
We never know, this side of heaven, when we will be called into service and/or have a divine appointment. We can continue to muddle along in life with no expectations or be emptied and available. We read in Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." There is so much apathy in our current world. People seem to get through work, the holidays, days with their families, etc. This attitude is unavailable for use by God. May we all continually abide in Him, through His Word, in prayer, in worship, etc. So that, when God chooses to reach us, though He really doesn't need any of us to accomplish His will, we can respond like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: