Women Rejoicing with Men

Rejoicing Women - First in a Series

Rejoice always (IThess 5:16), rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4), rejoice whatever your circumstances (Jas 1:9; Hab 3:18), rejoice when you suffer for Christ (1 Peter 4:13); when you rejoice, there is great glory! (Prov 28:12). Those who seek the Lord shall rejoice (Ps 105:3); particularly, the righteous are to rejoice, and to rejoice together in the place where God is worshipped (Deut 12:12; 16:11) and in remembrance of his mighty works of deliverance (Lev 23:40; Deut 27:7).

Fullness of joy in Christ is a healing feeling. It is not as the fleeting joy that watching sports or movies may furnish, nor even as the joy of personal achievement. A "winner" may still have a cold heart, but Christian rejoicing has to do with a warm heart. We cannot be lukewarm and rejoice.

Let's look at instances of women rejoicing in Scripture. What do these stories teach us today? The first story is Miriam's as she led women in song.

Miriam, the sister of Moses, watched over him when his mother set him in an ark near the river's edge, to hide him from Pharaoh who had ordered his midwives to kill all the Hebrew male babies. When Pharaoh's daughter sought to keep him alive, Miriam found a wet nurse for her, Moses' own mother.

Miriam was a prophetess (Ex 15:20) who spoke for the Lord, which at one time swelled her head in opposition to Moses (Num 12:2), but her rejoicing in Exodus 15 echoes her brother's words. He led the men in song after the Lord saved their lives by heaving the parted waters of the Red Sea over the Egyptians as they pursued the Hebrews to the death: I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.(Ex 15:1)

Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. (Ex 15:21) She led all the women in song and dance with a timbrel in her hand.

When good men rejoice and praise God for his help and salvation, good women should testify in response. If you have good men in your life, be supportive, and rejoice when they rejoice, and weep when they weep (Rom 12:15).

But what if you have bad men in your life? Know that the Lord sees you and in time will deliver you. He waits in order to be gracious to you (Is 30:18).

Let all rejoice that in Christ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).

Christian sisters are not covered in black garb, but with all God's men we are invited to exchange the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise (Is 61:3).

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart (Psa 32:11).

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice (Phil 4:4).

The Most Courageous Man in the World

Twelfth and final in the COURAGE series

The sufferings of Christ have been recounted by many. Like the horror of abortion, we should look hard and see the cruel ripping of human flesh: bloody, painful, evil. With abortion we must look, for then we will protest and work to end it. But for Christ, the mutilations, torture and labored murder were to a purpose, and that is so hard for us to grasp and to embrace. What are we to protest? By his wounds we are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

The Lord endured his crucifixion for he knew it would usher in an era of revolutionary grace. He did not seek it, but as a man of courage, he faced it and persevered. It is called his "passion" for he earnestly desired (Luke 12:50) to undergo the baptism poured upon him by the religious men seeking his death so that sinners might be born again. He could not send the Holy Spirit until he had himself undergone a conversion from death to life. These astounding concepts are at the core of Christianity.

As his time drew near, he resolutely set his face (Luke 9:51) to go to Jerusalem. Along the way he continued to teach, warn and exhort, heal and cast out demons. Most among us know the other details leading up to his crucifixion and his bravery in the overwhelming trial. He endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb 12:2), and throughout the ordeal, never lost his love, patience nor his wondrous humility.

Some say he lost his faith on the cross, questioning God, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" No such thing. And if that were the case, how could we look to him for strength and help in our crises? If he doubted the Father when pressed beyond measure, how could we seek to imitate him? No, he was pointing the onlookers to Psalm 22, My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me? This Psalm is a prophecy of Christ's suffering, hope, and deliverance. Even in his last words, immersed in pain, suffocating from crucifixion, he was teaching us Truth.

Christ is to us the greatest and best example of a man of courage. When your courage is dried up, look to him who proclaims, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Mat 28:17) …I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore… (Rev 1:18)

The varieties of courage

Eleventh in the COURAGE series

As Christians, we know it is right to be courageous, but we do not have a strict categorization of what courage is at any given time.

We know we are to follow Christ, putting Him ahead of family and friends (Mat 10:37; Luke 14:26). We confess the Lord no matter what it costs us (2 Tim 2:12). We are to consider others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3), so in defending life, others come first. As we read God's Word, we gain many insights and if we pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), guidance will be granted, yet each situation is unique.

In the Bible there were some who stood down when they should have stood up. Elijah had shown great courage over the time of the drought, but he became depressed and could not shake off the fears and doubts, so he was replaced by Elisha, for God had instructed him and he would not rise up. (1 Ki 19)

Earlier in this series we saw that Josiah showed courage in going out to battle against the Egyptians, but it was not his fight so his death was untimely. Nevertheless he remains as an example of obedience and courage as does Elijah; we all fail in some trials.

The key to any situation is to know the right course of action. Should we boldly rise up against evil or be silent and wait on the Lord? Obedience could fall either way.

To practice obedience, we must be close to God, and only when we are very weak can we rely wholly on his strength. My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Yes, weakness for the Christian can assist in courage, which we will need no matter whether we rise up or stand down. And it could take as much courage to resist passively as actively.

As we look around our nation and see the demise of the ideals and culture that once encircled us with protection, we may cry for times gone by. Yet we confidently know God does not change and He is with us to the end (Mat 28:20). The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Ps 118:6)

In distressing days, Christians have opportunities to show courage, and if we are affected by economic weakness in our households, let it be an incentive to prayer and spiritual renewal. How will we cling to Christ until we have great need?

The Scripture encourages us: For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Heb 12:4)

Of course it is possible that in time we, too, will be called to resist unto blood, but in that day, the most courageous man in the world will be with us. To him we will lift our eyes in the next post of this series.