Selfish Ambition

a christian romance novel

Real Love

Women's Fiction

Mary, Mother of Jesus – Extraordinarily Ordinary

Lesson 4 of 6

March 23, 2022

Mary’s Humanity in first person:

There are many misconceptions about me that are uncomfortable … misconceptions that elevate me to heights I don’t deserve. Some suggest I possess an unconsciously quiet demeanor. Others think I’m a woman of rare qualities, able to submit beyond my will. Some adore and worship me. Statues, beads, poems, movies, outlandish rituals, musical compositions, halos, candles, pictures, religious debates– uphold me as a supernatural healer and intercessor, void of human mortality.

I wasn’t present when the world began, or with God as his Spirit hovered over the deep. I didn’t form one creature from the earth or called even greater creatures from the sea. And I sure didn’t create man from the dust of the earth and breathe into him life so he could become a living soul.

I would never have the courage to bear the weight of your sins. I didn’t … couldn’t … wouldn’t die for you. It would never occur to me to plan an escape for you … to offer you eternal salvation so you could be reconciled to the Father. I never raised anyone from the dead, and never will. I never ever healed the sick, or made the blind see.

I’m not God’s only Son.

I’m God’s servant.

A vessel.

An ordinary young woman.

Present at a time God appointed to fulfill his promises to his people.

So, what is the world doing?

Idol worshiping.

It has been a problem since the beginning. People are easily swayed into thinking too highly of others and of themselves.

No, the spotlight doesn’t belong to me. Or to you. God alone should be praised and adored. Worship him only.

I wish there were more adequate words to convince the world of his greatness.

As I recall, the prophets were very direct. Plain-spoken. Still, the people didn’t listen.

As for me …

I was ordinary. Young. Spry. Happy. An obedient servant looking forward to her wedding day. Joseph and I changed our wedding date several times because the Romans made it difficult to plan. They raised taxes and imposed stringent rules every new moon. Joseph was a good man; worked twice as hard to prepare for our future and wasn’t easily deterred.

It’s one reason Gabriel’s message was so disconcerting. The timing was all wrong. So, I thought.

It was winter. The sixth month. Adar (Uh-dar). Gabriel almost scared the life right out of me, standing there happily proclaiming the good news. He had this wide, silly grin on his face. His apparel, radiant. I, on the other hand, was terrified. Knees shaking. Heart pounding. Unable to hold the jar of water in my hands. Eventually, I flopped to the ground as a thousand questions flooded through my mind. At one point, I looked around to be sure Gabriel wasn’t talking to someone else.

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:30-31)

Did you hear that?

He called me by name.

Still, I was perplexed. Why was he talking to me? Why come from on high and visit the likes of me? I could think of fifty young girls in our city who were more worthy. I come from a modest home; raised by a righteous father; a god-fearing mother. Why me?

Gabriel didn’t hesitate to make his visit known to me. And he wasn’t about to entertain the questions swirling around in my head. However, what he suggested was downright impossible and his declaration turned me to stone. I was petrified … couldn’t move … barely breathed. What does he mean, “… you will be with child and give birth to a son, …” How is that possible? I am not married. Have never been with a man.

Oooh no. There’s been a mistake. Either I’ve picked up a jug of overly-fermented wine, or I’ve had too much sun.

I slapped my face as hard as I could and pressed my shaky knees together. I was scared to ask, but I forced the question from my lips anyway. “How can this be since I am a virgin?” His response raised hairs on the back of my neck, and Isaiah 7:14 rang through my ears: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Is it possible? Am I the virgin scriptures spoke about? Would God bestow upon me such great an honor?

Shock and awe settled behind my wide-stretched eyes, my jaw dropped, and reality didn’t reconvene with my brain waves for several minutes. When it did, joy spun me out of control. I wanted to leap in the air and click my heels. Until …

It occurred to me that I would need to tell my parents. My sister. This unexpected news might bring them to their knees … cause them to question my account of Gabriel’s message. I couldn’t help but wonder if father would do the most despicable — beat me. I had heard of such things occurring in other homes but never experienced this kind of violence myself. If he raised his hand, who could blame him. Gabriel’s message could potentially bring about shame and disgrace. In situations like this, women were stoned to death, or cast out.

I gathered myself and tried to invoke reason. Had I dreamed or made this up? Given the hour of the day, it was too early to have dreamed anything in broad daylight. Because of the brilliant blue sky, it was unlikely Gabriel’s radiance was a figment of my imagination. As for my father, he would never do such a thing … never beat me. He was a god-fearing man, full of gentleness, kindness, and love.

Joseph, on the other hand, would not be obliged to show mercy. How would I tell the man whom I love that I haven’t been unfaithful?

Fear got the best of me, and I couldn’t stop shaking. When my nerves and mind finally calmed down, I valiantly stood before Gabriel and declared, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

For me to give birth to a son, would be a miracle like none other. It’s been centuries since miracles like this have materialized. But wait …

Months ago we celebrated with my cousin, Elizabeth. Had not an angel of the Lord come to her and Zachariah and announced they, too, would give birth to a son?

I knocked over my jar of water and hurried home to pack. I needed to see Elizabeth … to share my good news … to compare the miracles we now share. She was eighty-eight and three months away from giving birth to a son. Being with her would give me comfort. If anyone could appreciate my good news, it would be Elizabeth.

I’ll never forget how she greeted me once she heard my voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Yes, Elizabeth, “Why am I so favored?” I was just ordinary.

Not every day was joyful. The Roman Empire was a thorn in our flesh. Herod issued an edict, ordering every male child–newborns to two years of age–killed. No child spared. Wails swept throughout Bethlehem and surrounding towns and lingered in my ears all the way to Egypt. I woke up in a foreign land, in the wee hours of the morning to mournful cries filling the sky. What were we doing in Egypt among a people who hadn’t treated us kindly? Shouldn’t we return to Bethlehem and help my people?

I cuddled Jesus close to me and kissed his small hands. Caring for my two-year-old helped ease the sea of hopelessness we left behind. Like our great-grandmothers before us … mothers who walked this Egyptian soil … we would not soon forget our misery. Neither did the Romans waste time reminding us they would exercise rule and control over us. After Herod died and we returned to Bethlehem, there was a stench of death in the air, getting stronger as we approached the city. Along the horizon was a long row of crosses standing beside the road. Most who hung there were dead. Those who were not, begged to die.

It was trying times. A time when we ached for the Messiah.

Little did I know how difficult things would become … what it would be like to be entrusted with raising a child of God.

When Jesus was about seven or nine years of age, bizarre things began to happen. The sick, miraculously healed; prayers answered in what seemed like an instant. After one of our evening meals, we prayed for a father who had nearly drowned while fishing, later coming down with a terrible fever. Before our prayers ended, there was a knock on the door. The father’s adult son announced he was healed. Joseph questioned the son four times regarding the hour of his father’s healing. “Only moments ago,” he said. “Only moments ago.” As soon as the son left, we turned to Jesus, but he had slipped away. We heard him repairing a bench he had promised to deliver the next day.

On a separate occasion, Jesus went missing. How do you lose a twleve-year-old? Our frantic search led us to the temple where we found him teaching the elders. Losing a child is a mother’s worse nightmare. Fortunately, for us, we were spared a painful separation. From that point on, if I was busy churning butter, kneading bread, or weaving cloth, Jesus often slipped away on long escapades to preach and teach strangers in the city. Once, we found him about five miles outside of Nazareth, standing on a hill, preaching to a crowd of children. Ha!! As I look back on it, I’m certain it was his way of practicing before a live audience.

We tried to ignore the miracles, but it became increasingly evident Jesus had a special connection to God.

God was not only with him, but in him.

I questioned him once about all the good works he had performed, but he immediately silenced me. “Quiet, Mother. It’s not time yet.” Hmm. Not time for what?

Too often I found myself sitting on the riverbank pondering this question. I must admit, my conclusions were all wrong. I was a lot like his followers, in the beginning, thinking he would establish an earthly kingdom … that he’d come to rescue us from slavery … that he’d come to replace the Roman Empire and reign supreme. We were too carnal minded and unprepared to address our dreadful, spiritual state … too feeble minded to accept spiritual truth to understand him then. Brings to mind what a righteous man once said to me, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” I had no idea what he meant. His words rang hollow.

I never had special powers. I wasn’t a prophetess. I wasn’t capable of spiritually interpreting those words to mean I would lose my son to evil, brutal men. Hard to fathom losing a child. Harder to lose a son to despicable people bent on crucifying the innocent.

Yes. I admit it. I was warned. But those words weren’t enough to prepare me for the gravest burden ever–his death.

To watch him be taken because of rumors and accusations, jealousy and envy, money and power, to a merciless crucifixion was too unbearable for words.

They took hold of my son and flung him around as if he were fodder for their mindless games. Parading him through the wicked arms of the chief priests … watching as they appealed to Pilate for his death was horrendous. Many in the crowd had witnessed him healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving sins. Yet, there they stood shouting and hurling insults. Their treatment of him resembled the cruelty many go through when thrown in an arena waiting for the lions to pour in and devour you.

They cried out, “CRUCIFY HIM!!”

“Crucify him?”

This is MY son!!! My first born. The one to reign over the house of Jacob forever. “Tell them, Jesus. Tell them how you will rule the earth … that you are the Son of the Most High. Don’t let them do this to you. I have seen what you can do. You have healed and blessed and turned water into wine. For crying out loud, you walked on water. This is the time to reveal yourself … your greatness. Jesus. Please! Show them who you really are.”

Those words remained trapped in my throat, never to escape my lips.

Roars of the maddening crowd were heard all around me. Laughter and heckling drowned out everything I wanted to say. Seething anger pressed me like a cake of figs. Loud voices raged. Then they did the unthinkable. The massive crowd inched forward toward Pilate and bargained for Barabbas.

How dare they do this–trade my son’s life for that of a thief. Do they not have children of their own? Can they not see his suffering? They are about to spill innocent blood. Is there no compassion in the world anymore?

John and Mary of Magdalene held me up because I was too weak to stand on my own. Pools of tears blinded me and I could no longer see my son standing before a herd of vipers, or see the jagged edges of torn flesh streaking across his body — flies feeding off him, sweat burning him, spittle caked to his nose … on the side of his face.

I hear the whip lashing his back. Can you hear it? Can you? When was the last time you heard those lashes … the groans … see how the pain distorted and deformed his face?

“Let it be me,” I said inside my soul. “Let me take his place.”

No one heard me. Evil forces clamped my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

Great halls and huge pillars couldn’t … wouldn’t bear his pain. The earth shifted and moaned with him. Rocks cried out and crashed to the ground! The disgruntled sky resembled pillows of smoke. When they pressed the crown of thorns on his head, I gasped … held my breath as blood poured from him like a swollen river. Anguish and terror released from me, and I cried out, “Yeshua! Yeshua! I’m here, Yeshua!” With all my might, I tried to push pass the soldiers, but they hemmed us in. I pleaded, “He’s my son. Let me through.” Our voices, mere whimpers among the soldiers’ scoffs.

Their minds were set. Yes! They were determined. Hearts hard as stone. Hands stained with blood. My son’s blood.

The. Worse. Day. Of. My. Life.

My family has never cried so long and hard. My second oldest, Simon, was angry. Joses wanted to fight everyone involved in his brother’s death. James couldn’t stand it and ran off to sulk in his pain. Several disciples wrestled Judas to the ground to keep him from barging through the crowd to attack the soldiers. My daughters wailed. (Mary’s family – Mark 6:3)

Together we made the unbearable walk to his tomb. Many times I faltered, too reluctant to make another step toward our final goodbye. After placing his body in the tomb, I wept for two days, stealing off to a nearby river to weep, and to allow Jesus’ childhood memories to take hold of me.

Wasn’t it yesterday when he fell and bruised his knee and I thought he’d walk with a limp for the rest of his life? Silly me. Before concern swelled inside me, he was like new again.

I remember his gentleness when correcting neighborhood children on misinterpretations of scripture … how baffled they were at his knowledge. He never missed an opportunity to speak to teachers of the law, speaking with authority–without one day of schooling. He did everything with such humility and patience.

Not long after he died, I prepared his favorite meal–I couldn’t help myself–lentil soup with loaves of fresh Bread, a bowl of cool cucumbers, and roasted corn. I sat them on the table and closed my eyes, remembering how famished he was after a long day of making cabinets, tables, and benches. I ruffled his hair then patted his hand to slow him down so he wouldn’t continue to eat like a hungry animal. My hand patted the table instead. It was clear. He was no longer with me.

A hole filled my heart. I was bruised. Wounded. A sword had sliced through my soul and left me for dead. I couldn’t move … could faintly hear. My pain, too deep to soothe. An anguish too inconsolable.

Why kill my son? What crime had he committed? Who did he wrong?

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, kept watch over me night and day. I couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep. If I closed my eyes, I’d see my son’s bloody body and flinch each and every time that whip struck his back.

I still see the blood on my hands … on my clothes … the deep lacerations … long thorns embedded in his brow.

No. No mourning feast for me. Nothing can bring me comfort. Solace forever eludes me.

The only modicum of comfort I received was knowing the women with us would move forward to properly embalm my son. They debated who might roll away the stone. Though they never determined who would help them, they plowed ahead to the tomb anyway.

That’s when everything changed.

Mary of Magdalene burst through the door and announced, “He’s risen! The tomb is empty!” We looked at one another in disbelief. In unison, the disciples asked, “How can this be?” In meticulous detail the women explained how an angel of the Lord declared Jesus had risen from the dead. After inching their way inside the tomb–fear and disbelief in their eyes, a glaring light streaking through the cave, the morning heat warming them–their senses came alive.

The tomb was empty.



Mary of Magdalene recalled she carefully lifted a corner of the burial cloth, her eyes filled with awe and wonder. Others patted the linen cloth as they circled where Jesus had laid. No one spoke. No one attempted to explain.

Upon hearing the women’s account, I immediately thought someone had stolen my son’s body. Why would the soldiers do this? The disciples dismissed the women’s account and left to go home, or go fishing. But John and Peter raced to the tomb to see for themselves if what the women had said was true.

As crazy as it sounded, I still hadn’t fully convinced myself that someone hadn’t stolen his body. I wondered if I was just an overwrought mother still grieving the loss of her son. Oh, how I wanted to see my son. In truth, I didn’t care how crazy the women’s report sounded. I would do anything, believe any report if it meant I could see my son again.

It wasn’t until Cleopas, my sister’s husband (John 19:25) and his companion rushed through the door and told us they had seen him. I retreated to a corner of the room, wondering if they had fantasized as we had done or if it was indeed true. These last few days have been hard and long. Wouldn’t my son have pity on me and come reassure me how things really are for him? Wouldn’t he be sensitive enough to ease my soul from this indescribable pain?

Then it happened.

He did not knock and walk through the doorway. He did not call out from the heavens. He did not send messengers to alert his coming. He appeared–standing among us to ease our burning hearts and help us accept truth.

Hadn’t he warned us? Hadn’t he told us on many occasions that he was “about his father’s business?” That he’d come to “seek and save the lost.” That in three days, he’d rise again? I, for one, thought the number three was symbolic. It never occurred to me he literally meant in three days he’d be alive again.

Jesus, the Son of God, had risen from the dead.

Jesus, the Son of God, stood here in the house with us. In the flesh. In the Spirit. Three Persons in One. Alive. Breathing. Flesh and bones. Thomas’ misgivings about the Christ gave us an opportunity to see my son’s wounds for ourselves … the holes … the scars and lacerations … to see they were real.

The reasons we concocted for his arrival in this world were wrong. He subjected himself to a lowly birth and became human in a fallen world so he could reconcile us to God. He came to bear the weight of our guilt and shame. It was our sins that made the earth shake, the sky darken, the dead to rise and walk the streets.

This understanding demolished our confusion.

Healing eased our pain.

Joy replaced our anger.

Confession eradicated blame.

Every one of those 40 days he was with us was indescribable joy. I was never so happy. I must have rubbed his head, hugged his neck, and kissed his cheek a thousand times. I’d walk beside him, squeeze his arm, just to reassure myself he was flesh and blood … again.

When he left us for a second time to ascend into heaven, a part of me wanted to go with him. As he rose, I reached for him, my tear-filled eyes pleading for him to stay and allow me to hold him one last time … to cup my hands and memorize the contours of his face. But in that moment, it became evident, he no longer belonged to me alone. He was God in the flesh, spiritually transformed for us all. He looked into my eyes and gave me comfort. Then he said,

This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power on high.

While he blessed us, he left and was taken up into heaven.

I don’t have enough words to describe the impact of his promise and the indelible imprint he left on my life. I am indeed a blessed woman of all women. I thank God for finding favor and choosing me to give honor and glory to him, and an opportunity to live out the mission he set before me.

As ordinary as you are, he has designed a mission for each of you … a plan tailor-made which will bring glory and honor to Him.

Listen and Obey.

May our God who knows all grant you peace.


by Donna B. Comeaux

one in a billion women who love the Lord our God

Abigail – Confrontational Relationships

Lesson 3 of 6

March 2, 2022

It’s spring.

Sheep shearing season.

Somewhere near the Jezreel Valley, close to the northern mountains of Judah lies an estate belonging to a wealthy Calebite named Nabal, a descendant of the Tribe of Judah. His estate is in Carmel, seven miles from Hebron, at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Don’t confuse Carmel with Mt. Carmel which is near the Mediterranean Sea.

Years ago twelve men spied out the Land of Canaan. Two were convinced Israel could conquer the land. (Numbers 13:23-33) Caleb and Joshua were the faithful few while the other ten waddled in doubt. God wasn’t pleased and made the Israeli nation wander the wilderness for another 40 years.

The whole family suffered the consequences of someone else’s sin.

Personally speaking, I would be one hot mamma if these ten men caused me to wander the wilderness again. Going without conveniences is no fun — no home to call my own, no modern amenities to make daily life easier to bear, no fresh seasoning for cooking. HA! Instead of grumbling about returning to Egypt, I’d get a frying pan and pop those rascals over the head. You can’t convince me the Israelite women didn’t want to lay hands on them.

Yet, there’s something sobering and familiar about their way of thinking. They, like us, suffer from unbelief.

Abigail is surrounded by men just like this … men who struggle to walk in obedience … men who–no matter how much of God’s power they have witnessed–choose to doubt.

As an example, take a look at King Saul, Nabal, and David.

King Saul is enraged over David’s popularity. The killing of Goliath haunts him. Aware God has taken the kingdom from him aggravates his situation and his jealousy of David turns to hatred. His hate is so overpowering he is willing to kill. Spilling blood hardens his heart and to his unawares sin becomes a slow burn, then an all-consuming fire which engulfs his soul.

The king has gone from innocence and obedience to ruthlessness and murderous conduct. He’s gone from following God’s lead to succumbing to his own desires. When Jacob foretold each tribe’s fate, he described the Tribe of Benjamin this way:

“… a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.” (Genesis 49:27)

In other words, all day long this spirited and warlike (strong and daring) tribe of Israel will prey upon and plunder their enemy to enrich themselves. As further evidence of this tribe’s character, read Judges 19-21. The read will cause you to sit up and pay attention.

King Saul is from the Tribe of Benjamin. He is living up to Jacob’s prophesy.

Nabal is not much better. Though I have no idea what led to his sinister and selfish behavior, one thing is very clear. He possessed enough arrogance to cover a mountain range. He’s described as being, “… surly (hostile, arrogant, mean) and mean in his dealings.” His servants say of him, “He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

Nabal is no Caleb. He reminds us not everyone born into a good family will walk in full obedience. Undoubtedly, Nabal has either forgotten the story of his family lineage, or accredits himself for his success and flatly refuses to acknowledge God.

Either way, he’s in spiritual trouble.

David, is not thinking straight. His men haven’t eaten and he’s desperate. Nabal’s refusal to accommodate him with food doesn’t make him look good in front of his men. Honor and pride are at stake. He’s in a pickle; justifiably angry, wants to avenge the wrong done to him, and feels the pressure to “do” something to remedy Nabal’s disrespect. He’s not exhibiting the mindset of a future king, but more like an ego-driven man in search of a kill.

The plot thickens because he and Nabal not only know each other, but they’re from the same tribe–the Tribe of Judah–and are distant cousins. If David is successful with his plan to kill Nabal, he could possibly taint his reign on the throne. It never occurs to him that he’s about to replicate King Saul’s murderous behavior and bring God’s wrath down on him.

Abigail is surrounded by three men.

From the same nation.

From two different tribes.

Serving the same God.

People from the same family determined to destroy each other.

All engaging in destructive behavior.

No matter what Abigail chooses to do to save her servants, she could be killed.

King Saul could kill her during his pursuit of David, intercepting her on her way to bring David food then accuse her of helping David escape like he accused the 85 priests he slaughtered earlier. (I Samuel 22)

Nabal could accuse her of being too sympathetic and kill her for extending kindness toward David.

David might kill her for merely being Nabal’s wife, blaming her, in part, for Nabal’s selfishness; giving her no opportunity to explain her position and plea for her servants’ lives. Or worse, he could ignore her pleas and let her watch as he assassinates everyone with his sword.

This beautiful and intelligent woman is the complete opposite of the men around her. She’s brave. Understands the danger before her and still presses forward to save her servants, with no idea how this will end.

What must have gone through her mind when Nabal’s servants reported what he had said to David? Fear had to turn her blood ice cold. Her knee-jerk reaction may have been, “Idiot!” I see her calculating how much time before a barrage of David’s soldiers burst through her door to cut down every man. Images of dead people all over the floor cloud her brain. It unnerves her to think of children whimpering for their mothers, death looming through the thick night air, the horrible stench reeking along corridors.

“This can’t happen,” Abigail says to herself. Before contemplating her next step, fear takes a turn and invigorates her, moving her swiftly through hallways, in and out of servants’ doorways. She rattles off one order after another, pushing people to move faster; snapping her fingers, clapping her hands, commanding them to pull out more grain, gather more figs, feed and water the donkeys.

I see the frenzy of activity … the coordination involved to prepare the load: “… two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seats of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, …” (I Samuel 25:18) [five seahs are equivalent to: 9 quart; 8.5 liters; or 144 medium size eggs]

Soon, a quiet desperation overtakes Abigail and she visualizes standing–no–kneeling before David, the future king of Israel. “My lord,” she whispers. God’s anointed. Her hands tremble. Acid rises and burns her throat. Abigail coughs. Coughs again. Rips off her headdress. Claps her hands. Servants rush in. “Help me get in more comfortable clothes. I’m going to meet the future king of Israel.” Those words weaken and buckle her knees. Her servants catch her right before she hits the floor. Still, they waste no time to find suitable clothes for her.

Abigail talks to herself, cautions herself not to ask, but to plea with David to not destroy her people.

“What do I say to a king?” In a split second, she whispers, “Nothing. You beg, Abigail. Yes, you beg. Say whatever is necessary to save these people. Exchange your life for theirs if it comes to that.”

So, she paces back and forth, back and forth, practicing her lines.

Confrontational relationships are difficult. You’re constantly on guard. Defensive. You lie to yourself and assert, “It’s me! I need to change.” You go about working harder, praying longer, giving more, only to wake up exhausted, confused, and lost for words. You’re lost for words because you’ve said everything you can think to say to God.

But that’s not entirely true. Is it?

You were never honest. You didn’t tell God how you hated these people who did you wrong. You never told him how bad you wanted to leave. Why would you? You’ve been programmed to accept punishment because you “deserve it.”

What are you to do?

You try again. That’s what you do. You make every effort to please, but again, you’re unsuccessful. You go from doubting the individual causing the discord to doubting yourself. Confidence erodes and you’re forever in search of a moment of peace.

I see Abigail hiding away in one of the many rooms in Nabal’s large estate, trying to appease her disdain for him. How many times was she interrupted by grumbling servants who needed her to intercede on their behalf?

What a dreadful state to be in … to bear the weight of responsibility for a people; and be subservient to a terrible master.

What was it like to sit across the dinner table to watch her husband eat like a glutton and bark orders like a selfish, mindless dog? I don’t think for one moment Nabal’s refusal to give David aid was the first time he had denied anyone food. Yes, he’s done this time and time again. At each unbearable meal, Abigail listens to his misgivings of people who can’t provide for themselves. Never once does he recognize the power he has to help them.

If I were Abigail, I’d escape for a long trek across the Jezebel Valley and not think of returning. The slow journey would provide much needed peace.

But I’m not Abigail.

For whatever reason, Abigail didn’t seek refuge. Was she comfortable? Perhaps. Did she feel a burden of responsibility for her servants? It’s likely. We may never know.

We can, however, relate to what it’s like to be cornered in relationships with people who turn out to be evil doers. We want to distance ourselves, but don’t know how to do so in a godly manner. We don’t want to seem rude. CAUTION: Joseph ran from Potiphar’ wife. Some situations call for drastic action–rude or not. Running might be necessary. There’s no shame in it.

Waiting certainly wasn’t a part of Abigail’s DNA, at least not as far as this story goes. Scripture specifically states, “Abigail acted quickly.” (ESV) “Abigail lost no time.” (NIV)

No sitting and praying and meditating on Torah.

No seeking the counsel of others.

No more pacing the floors in frantic displays of hysteria.

No second-guessing herself.

This woman is on a mission and comprehends what ought to be done.

I love this part of Abigail’s story. She moves with precision, while having no idea if her plan will work or if she will die in the process.

Think about what’s going on here.

The political climate is hostile. The region is on edge. There are fighting skirmishes everywhere. The Amalekites want to kill the Jews. The Philistines want King Saul’s head. A chapter or two ago, King Saul slaughtered the chief priests and about 85 men who wore the linen ephod (priests of the Lord). In addition to killing the priests, he annihilated the city of Nob, including women and children and livestock. (I Samuel 21) WHY? Why would he do such a thing? Because he thought they had helped David escape. All of Judah knows Saul is after David and he will kill anyone who gets in his way. The smell of blood is in the air. Everyone is afraid.

King Saul should have shied away from spilling innocent blood. In a weird sort of way, the blood fueled his hatred rather than curtail it.

Abigail isn’t a woman isolated from the world. She’s up-to-date on the latest news; mindful of the conflicts within the region. She’s made privy of the hot pursuits and skirmishes of war. What she doesn’t know firsthand, her servants are sure to inform her as soon as news arrives.

Too often our Christian brotherhood is lured into thinking they either need to hide away in their homes or should button up and shut up.

This method of survival is short-lived and dangerous. Dangerous because it offers a false sense of security. It allows too much distance between us and the world and weakens opportunities to spread the Word. We can’t show the world how to live out the Word if we don’t interact with them. You can’t be an example to a people with whom you have no contact.

No, Abigail was never on the run. She knew exactly what was happening outside of her home, and keenly aware David would reign over Israel.

Beginning in I Samuel 25:23-31, Abigail shares some of what she knows.

  • 1. Abigail and Nabal, along with their servants, knew David before he requested food. God had declared David the next king of Israel through the prophet, Samuel, and word spread among the people.
  • 2. Abigail is smart and humble enough to greet David as if he’s already a king. (see v. 23) She acknowledges him as superior to her (see v.24) Her humility reveals her willingness to die.
  • 3. After Abigail begs David to listen, she pleads for her life. WHOA!! Where did I see that verse? Look in v. 25. Why do you think Abigail says, “And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent.” What is Abigail saying? If Abigail wants to save her household, there needs to be a clear distinction between she and Nabal. Abigail probably thought that if David sees her as a mere extension of Nabal, he might kill her. Abigail knows she can’t save her household if she dies before she’s had a chance to plea for her servants’ lives.
  • 4. Abigail is smart and strategically redirects (shoulder) blame when necessary. Her goal is to diffuse David’s anger by diverting his attention from Nabal to her. (see v.25) She sees David as powerful and capable of wiping out Nabal’s household.
  • 5. Abigail recognizes God’s sovereignty and relationship with David. (see v.26) “Now, since the Lord has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, …” This is interesting because God has not kept David from doing anything yet. Let’s hold this thought for a moment. We’ll come back to this.
  • 6. Abigail is convinced God will make David’s dynasty a lasting one because David fights the Lord’s battles. (see v.28)
  • 7. Abigail wisely helps David see his wrongdoing if he goes through with his plan to destroy his kindred (Nabal). (see v.28) HA!! So, Abigail knows David’s lineage … that David and Nabal are from the Tribe of Judah; that they are distant cousins.
  • 8. Abigail knows David’s reputation. (see v.29) “Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling.

Notice she uses the word sling in this verse. If David isn’t telling Abigail his story, how does she know about David and Goliath? Let’s not forget the songs sung about David: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (I Samuel 18:7)

David and Goliath’s encounter was a big deal and news spread all over the world. And though David is older now, the stories of his victory are not soon forgotten. Wars won by our God are never kept secret.

The eight things I previously mentioned were taken from Abigail’s plea to David in I Samuel 25:23-31. I want to draw your attention to something you may have missed. Consider what I’m about to say as one of your bible nuggets.

Out of all the things Abigail said, can you distinguish what she knows from what she hopes?

How did she come to know these things?

The majority of what Abigail said are “not” things known to her.

That’s right. She didn’t “know” half of what she said.

You probably think I’m insane. Trust me. She did not “know” most of what she said.

It wasn’t factual.

It was FAITH.

Read the passage of scripture again. Diligently.

Abigail’s plea to David was based on FAITH. She didn’t “know” anything beyond what was common knowledge to her people. She didn’t have the mind of God. She couldn’t see the future. She’s no prophet. Not a priest. Not an angel.

Unlike the ten Israelites who spied out the Land of Canaan, along with Caleb and Joshua, Abigail believed in God and recognized his power and what was possible through him.

Abigail began her plea of mercy–and that’s precisely what it was–a plea of mercy spoken as if it had already come to past. Abigail is bold throughout her petition, hoping but unknowing, for an outcome yet to unfold.

This was a plea spoken in FAITH.


Print out the diagram below. If you can’t print it, draw one. Reread I Samuel 25:23-31. As you read scriptures, on one side of the chart, fill in “What Abigail Knew” and, on the other side of the chart, fill in “What Abigail Hoped.” This is a nice exercise to do with a friend.

While doing this exercise, constantly ask yourself: “Did she really know this?”

MORE THAN LIKELY, you have concluded most of Abigail’s pleas to David were borne of FAITH, not knowledge.

You can’t help but respect the way Abigail navigated through all that was going on around her. Oh, we could say she was trying to save David’s life or trying to prevent his kingdom from being tarnished, but we know full well she was more interested in saving her people. David’s welfare was secondary.

You know what’s intriguing about this story? God had options. He could have gathered a thousand angels to prevent David’s plan of attack. He’s been known to unite an army to fight a battle. At times, he’s used as few as fifty men to fight an enemy. In this story, God uses one person. A woman. Someone who was smart enough to safeguard her plan to save the lives of others. Someone whose need far outweighed David’s thirst for vengeance. Isn’t it amazing how everyone’s need collided, yet God’s plans are uninterrupted?

Abigail’s god-given ability to strategize leave no doubt in my mind that she also used her beauty to capture David’s attention. She could have sent her servants in her name. She chose to go in person.


For one thing, her beauty made David pause; softened his anger. For another, knowing God had approved David’s kingship helped Abigail appeal to David’s sense of reasoning and the possibility he might fall from grace if he acted on his plan to kill Nabal.

Whatever strength she had; whatever tenacity she possessed was derived from the one and only Savior. I’m certain her daily struggles with Nabal equipped her with the necessary boldness to face David. How much worse can it be than daily interactions with a cantankerous old fool?

Trials and tribulations have a way of preparing you for battle.

James 1:2-4, reads: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Nabal was Abigail’s trial. Nabal sat on Abigail’s last nerve, ripping and shredding those synapses into little bitty pieces. God used that evil man to temper Abigail and make her ready for the situation she found herself in with David. For me, Abigail is our first Esther.

There are commentators who look at this story from a different angle, taking the position that Abigail slighted her husband … disrespected Nabal by not sharing her plan to appeal to David. Of course, most of those commentators are men. They imply, “men tell us everything.” Really? What planet do they live on? I like to think Abigail exhibited wisdom by not telling Nabal that she was rushing off to give food to David and beg for the lives of her servants. If Abigail had shared her plan, who’s to say Nabal would not have turned on her and killed everyone.

The man had the understanding of a goat. He’s mean. Hot-headed. Stingy. Arrogant. Wealthy. Intimidating. Insolent (downright rude and insulting). Think about it–if he’s bold enough to give David a piece of his mind–the future king of Israel, then we must conclude he wasn’t about to withhold his evil tongue from his wife.

To reveal Abigail’s intentions is a lot like disclosing a planned attack to your enemy.

Proverbs 10:14 and 12:23, read: “Smart people don’t tell everything they know, but fools tell everything and show they are fools.

Scriptures warn us we will encounter people like Nabal. It’s spiritual warfare. The Father has written we should ready ourselves for this fight. In Ephesians 6:13, it says: “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

If Abigail had gone to David in any other way than with the spirit of humility, we would not have the opportunity to learn from her story.


Because she’d be dead!

Not every battle is or should be fought with a sharp tongue. It’s unnecessary to scheme and manipulate … lay awake fretting over the misdeeds of others. This battle belongs to the Lord. (II Chronicles 20:15)

You will not fare well, however, if you deny your pain. Emotions may go silent for a time, but trust me, they don’t go poof and vaporize.

To heal, we must admit truth. Your truth. Let God heal.

No matter how ugly you feel toward someone, admit it before God. He won’t leave you. He won’t turn his face from you. Instead, he’ll rescue you and heal you from the poison growing inside you. He can do immeasurably more than you can imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

So, FIGHT BACK! Fight back with OBEDIENCE. OBEY! Even during your trials … in your toughest moments … when confrontations are at their worse, FIGHT BACK!


FIGHT BACK with obedience. Be holy as he is holy. FIGHT BACK with spiritual obedience!!

What type of fighter are you? One who stands ready and prepared? One who will obey even when you don’t want to? (Matthew 21:28-32) Or perhaps you’re someone who likes to peep between the curtains and wait for someone else to do the dirty work? Are you more like David and likely to draw your sword and cut off the heads of those who have offended you? Or do you crave to be more like Abigail, using grace and tenacity, wisdom and patience?

To mimic her, you’ll need to:

  • 1. Know your enemy and the danger imposed by them.
  • 2. Appeal to God.
  • 3. Create a plan before you act or react.
  • 4. Be willing to prostrate yourself to bring about peace.

If you’ve done this, then all you must do is WAIT ON THE LORD.

What have we learned from this lesson on Abigail?

  • 1. Nothing wrong with Brawn (physical strength), Beauty (pleasing to look upon), and Brains (intelligence). Don’t conceal your intelligence and leave only your beauty to be magnified by the world.
  • 2. Understand the world around you. Don’t shelter yourself to the point of ignorance. Stay apprised to the new fads and world events so you can help your family navigate around spiritual and physical danger. You can be holy and aware rather than unholy and consumed.
  • 3. Maintain integrity and poise during adversity. No screaming and hollering or going ballistic on others. And stop cursing/cussing. It sounds awful. It’s sinful. You are becoming worldly. Rather, you are called to peace. Don’t react as the world does. No overreacting in private. No overreacting in public. Ever. If you see a sister doing so, consider yourself and correct her with gentleness.
  • 4. Failing at point #3–to maintain your integrity and poise during adversity–won’t encourage others to listen to your testimony. Temper yourself so others will consider your faith. Think of Abigail and how she would have been received by David if she were to react like Nabal.

Confrontational relationships are not easy. In your confusion, you don’t know which way to go, or what to say. Close communion with God determines how well you’ll listen to his voice. A lack of communion increases our potential to spiritually fail.

Where there is a slack in obedience, there is sin. Sin grows. Like a roaring lion, it crouches and waits for an opportunity to devour you.

Let God do what he does best. Love. Heal. Forgive.

Don’t aggravate volatile situations. If you do, you may be the one who suffers the consequences for someone else’s bad behavior.

WAIT ON GOD. Even if it means you might appear to be the one in the wrong for a time. WAIT ON GOD. He will vindicate you.

Feed off God’s Word. Let it nourish you so you can spiritually grow stronger to ward off the devil’s evil schemes. Fear not! For if God is for you, who can be against you. (Romans 8:31)

Walk in His ways and remain OBEDIENT. Keep in mind that you are not the only one who will suffer from your sins. Continue to do wrong and your entire household will suffer … the entire family of God will suffer. Remain OBEDIENT.

Go in peace.

by Donna B. Comeaux

another woman out of billions who love the Lord our God



Thursday, February 3, 2022

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Every hour of every day we pray the pandemic will disappear. We’re tired of living in a carbonated bottle that’s about to explode. People are angry, disgruntled, pumping their fists out of car windows, yelling obscenities, pointing accusing fingers, arguing over any and everything that matters to them. 

No one is compromising. 

Most mornings we wake agitated. The last thing we heard before going to sleep was the nightly news. 

We have no control over the world.


It’s your life. Take it back! Consider each day a new beginning. The world may be blazing all around you, but you can choose to engage in a deep reading of God’s Word. God is with you, using his rod and staff to direct and comfort you. There may be days when you don’t feel God’s presence, but it doesn’t mean he’s not with you. HE IS. He’s holding you. Believe it!

PRAYER: Dear God, please give me a sense of peace. Refill my mind with the holy scriptures. 

IMAGINE God lending you a hand as he lifts you from your knees and places you in his loving arms. 

READ Isaiah 41:10


Donna B. Comeaux

One woman among billions who loves the Lord our God.

Leah – Imperfections Don’t Alter God’s Plan

Lesson 2 of 6

February 9, 2022

God has shown he is more than capable of doing great things through sinful people. He is magnificent, glorious, and his perfect plan of salvation reconciles the penitent to himself. His very nature exposes our sinful state. Rather than recoil at our nakedness, he lets us know Imperfections Don’t Alter His Plan to love and care for us.

Whoever he chooses to use for his purpose, be reassured no one comes perfectly packaged together.

Like us, Leah is flawed, and so is her family–parents, in-laws, grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, alike.

Inside Leah’s story are the complex dynamics of two families whose distinguishing traits are a lot like your own. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you might yearn to read a story about better people.

There are none.

Perhaps there’s a slight tendency to suggest God should have shaken his head in disgust and moved on to Plan B.

That’s not what he did.

He chose deceivers, liars, and thieves–jealousy linking these terrible idiosyncrasies together like glue.

One of the greatest lessons learned from this story is Leah and Rachel can’t sin their way out of the path God has laid out for them. No amount of bickering, stealing, manipulating, or lying can sway God from carrying out his will for mankind. Yes, some will be saved; some will be lost. After all, there are rewards for the saved; doom and destruction for the disobedient.

Like the contrast between the obedient and disobedient, there’s a striking differentiation between Leah and Rachel.

Leah had weak eyes, and from her moaning and groaning, you witness her low self-esteem. Can you blame her? She was abandoned. Chosen last. Unloved. Excluded.

Rachel was a shapely woman, beautiful, and strong–her strength very much in line with her duties as a shepherd.

Are we saying Leah’s story is all about outward appearance?

Let’s not kid ourselves. God is not shallow minded. He doesn’t make decisions based on appearance. He rightly judges the mind and heart of man.

Perhaps what we need to do is dig deeper … go behind the scenes … return to the beginning to uncover the depth of understanding necessary to appreciate what God is saying in Genesis 29-31.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …

He made every kind of animal, beast, creeping things, and fowls of the air … male and female he made them … commanding all to populate the earth after their kind.

In the beginning …

One Wife. For Life.

Let’s imagine Leah whimpering, praying, and crying out to God for love. Share in her agony as travelers enter her father’s home, sitting around a fire, everyone ignoring her. Leah’s tendency to shy away goes unnoticed. Excluding herself from decisions is never questioned. To please his guests and attract a husband for his daughters, Laban sends for Rachel, insisting she lay down her staff and leave her sheep to serve his guests. He’s assured the men will cast flirtatious glances at Rachel, but she is not interested and serves the men in haste.

Once Jacob arrives, everything changes. Rachel is smitten by his presence. So is Leah. And before Leah has a chance to showcase her domestic abilities to make blankets and cook stew, Jacob watches Rachel’s every move. Leah sulks. Wishes she was as beautiful … as strong … as pleasing to the eyes as her sister.

Somewhere deep in her gut, life for her has ended. The handwriting is on the wall. Jacob will marry Rachel, taking her away and leaving Leah to her hopeless end. She’ll never marry. She will die a lonely death while weaving blankets for her father … while cooking for her hungry brothers … while thirsting for what she can never have–a family of her own.

When Jacob asks for Rachel’s hand, it stands to reason that Laban had to meet with his daughters to share his deceitful plan to marry Leah to Jacob. How else can this deception unfold? This didn’t happen in a vacuum, right? They had to know. They know the scheme is wrong, and Leah had to feel bad about it. What is she to do? Entangled and sucked into a web of right and wrong, there’s something about her father’s devious plan which prevents her from speaking up. The lie they’ve woven will help her escape the void in her life … that emptiness too deep to touch … too large and all encompassing to grasp. This chance at marriage is the glimmer of hope she desires. Taking a stance for truth will leave her wanton, and any hope for a family will be wiped out.

Against her better judgment, Leah says nothing to her father; less to her sister; her familiar look of timidity masking fear eating away at her soul. Her hands tremble as she fastens her earrings. Her knees weaken as servants tug and meticulously wrap scarves around her waist. It’s a struggle to be joyous while preparing for her wedding … Rachel’s wedding. Hard to ignore the tears puddling in her sister’s eyes.

She loves and hates her so.


At this moment, Leah loves Rachel more than ever. She’s drawn to memories of her teenage sister looking up to her … how she taught little Rachel to weave her first blanket … how she watched the toddler’s first reaction to stories of Noah and the Ark … how she rescued her baby sister from a snake which had made its way inside their home.

Leah bit the inside of her lower lip, releasing a salty, metallic pool in her mouth–a reminder of what she was about to do to her sister. She can no longer look at Rachel who is on her knees smoothing Leah’s garment. “Don’t give in,” Leah says to herself. “This is my only chance. Rachel will one day marry. She’s strong. An excellent shepherd. Beautiful. Men love the sight of her. Even in simple wedding clothes, she’s more beautiful. I’m nothing. If I wait, there won’t be a second chance for me.”

So, beauty and hate, like vinegar and oil, separate these two, and Leah digs in deep to claim the day as her own. During the wedding ceremony, through her colorful veil, Leah sees the joy in Jacob’s eyes, hears the laughter of satisfaction in his voice. On their marriage bed, she’s pleased with his satisfaction, his declaration of love, his promise to give her children.

But during the night when Jacob has long gone asleep, Leah remains focused on the sound of sheep off in the distance; highly alert to movements across the land; skittish with the uneasy stillness that comes later in the night. Desperately, she pines for the darkness to remain, to veil her, unrelenting to the dawn. It seems like moments after their wedding daylight bursts forth and snatches away every ounce passion. Harsh rays of light begrudgingly reveal a stark reality, one she will not soon forget. Something bitter, and rotten, and foul is about to unfold. Suspicions of a boisterous uproar is about to disrupt her joy, and never ever will it return to her again.

Unexpectedly, Jacob stirs. Reaches for his bride.

When he discovers the family’s deceitfulness, Leah is forced to accept the awful consequences for her failure to speak truth. She’s convinced it is punishment … a death sentence as her father declares Rachel will marry Jacob at the end of Leah’s bridal week. Out of all the possible repercussions from her deceit … their deceit … this is the most dreadful.

Unable to contain her anger, many heated battles with her sister ensue. Tearful days elongate sleepless nights. Nothing pacifies the loneliness which finds a home in the center of Leah’s soul. Nothing soothes her longing for Jacob.

If I’m writing this script, which I’m not, I think at this point I’d get out my red pen and do some heavy editing to recast these misfits. They are not turning out to be good examples of God’s people. In my mind, they ought to be law-abiding followers, anxiously waiting on God to unfold his plan, and less tempted to take the bull by the horn.

However, if they followed my idea of how they should conduct themselves, I’d be pulling the log out of their eyes and keeping it wedged in my own.

What are we to do when we encounter people like this? People like us?

Snub them?

If that’s the case, I should be the first to go.

I’m just like them.

And so are you.

God is a stickler about his commandments. Wouldn’t you if you had taken the time to sit on a mountain with Moses to write each and every law? He didn’t write these laws for his good pleasure. He wrote these laws to keep you from harm and to reconcile you to him. He’s also a stickler about how we treat the weak and feeble; the old and frail; the lost and abandoned. God did not like Jacob having more than one wife. And neither is he pleased with Jacob’s favoritism toward Rachel.

Yet, he doesn’t rewrite either of their stories. He allows their deceitful ways to play right into a script he’s already read.


He sees the whole picture.

What appears right and good, pure and perfect can often be misleading. The opposite is also true. What seems dysfunctional, ill-fitted, and misaligned can be the very thing God uses for his purpose.

Let’s look at a video clip to prove my point.

[NOTE: Begin video at precisely 4:27 minutes; end at 5:35 minutes. Return to the beginning of the video and run for 35 seconds.]

(This video is having issues pulling up. Just click on the link above to get to Youtube to see it.)

If you saw Itzhak Perlman (It Zok) on the street for the first time, your first reaction would be, “Oh my, that poor man.” But as you watched him on this video, in his element, unaware of his physical limitations, you immediately expected a grand performance from a well-fitted individual. It wasn’t until you watched him struggle to get seated that you gained a new appreciation for what he “can” do with that tiny violin, rather than what he “couldn’t” do with his legs.

Imperfections Don’t Alter God’s Plan. They ENHANCE THEM. REVEAL them. EXPOSES God’s greatness, power, glory, and goodness.

Leah isn’t looking at what God can do for her. All she sees is what he’s “not” doing. She doesn’t have the love of her husband or the comfort of children to sustain her.

Like for so many of us, there’s a large schism separating Leah’s feelings from spiritual reality. She’d rather focus on her hatred toward her sister than find hope in God’s promises.

As a result, the rivalry between these two sisters is unleashed with fury. Their love for Jacob puts them at odds with one another and increases their determination to win their husband’s affection.

We quarrel with one another because we are struggling to measure up. Our comparisons to one another grows out of control. We’re blinded and unwilling to recognize that every single time you align yourself alongside another imperfect individual, the result is a slightly curved measuring rod. No matter how much you tap that yardstick to get it straight, that curve remains.


Because: Imperfection + Imperfection = Imperfection

We create quite a bit of misery and trouble for ourselves when we choose to live a life based on our comparisons to someone else. And let’s not ignore the hatred and bitterness soon to follow.

Spiritual truth is this: God turned Leah and Rachel’s fierce competition into a blessing. He wasn’t pleased with the way they behaved. He didn’t like it. But he wasn’t confined by it either.

Months after God opened Leah’s womb, she became a delighted and proud woman. She now had bragging rights.

She names her firstborn, Reuben, then says:

“… because the Lord has seen my misery.” (Genesis 29:32)

She conceives again and names the second child, Levi, and says in deep agony:

“… for surely my husband will become attached to me now.” (Genesis 29:34)

Can you hear the desperation in Leah’s voice? She has two healthy sons, children she always wanted, and she’s still not happy.

The third time Leah conceives she names her son, Judah, and declares:

This time I will praise the Lord.” (Genesis 29:35)

What has happened to Leah?

She changed her focus — from Jacob to God. Though this transformation took some time, Leah continued in her spiritual growth.

Whining over Jacob’s inability to love her was getting Leah nowhere. She turns to God, her everlasting peace … the one who does not fail her … the one who truly knows and loves her.

Why now?

Why didn’t Leah turn to God four sons ago? Think on this for a moment.

It’s true–Leah was never favored by Jacob. She lived most of her married life selling and buying back the services of a husband who didn’t affectionately love her.

I can’t imagine coming to you and using a cake of figs or a roasted lamb, or mandrakes to bargain for my husband’s bed for the night. That’s just crazy to me. God’s original intent has always been “one” wife for life. If he wanted man to have two wives, he would have made another woman to work alongside Adam and Eve.

And mandrakes? What in the world are mandrakes?

Let’s take a look at this video.

In this video, you can see mandrakes are fleshy, green-colored (unripe) berries that have an outward texture a lot like a nectarine. They are barely two inches in diameter. They grow from September to April and bloom glossy green and violet flowers. They have medicinal benefits: alleviating stomach ulcers, colic, constipation, asthma, hay fever, convulsions, arthritis, whooping cough; trigger vomiting, sedate, reduce pain, jaundice, inflammation, varicose veins, depression, spasms, arouse sexual desire, and controls maniacal behavior (wild or maniac).

Their roots are a lot more interesting than the edible fruit. The roots and leaves are poisonous. In ancient days, witches and sorcerers boiled the roots. This sweet-smelling root is intoxicating, having aphrodisiac and hallucinating properties often used to charm or stimulate fertility. In other words, it’s a modern-day Viagra, of sorts.

If you wanted to exhibit more sinister behavior, all you had to do was pull up the root, rather than WAIT on God, boil these roots, and allow their narcotic properties to intoxicate your victim.

Could Leah and Rachel have done such a thing? It’s not too far-fetched. They are idol worshippers, and there’s no telling which idol practices they used to sway the outcome they desired. They are bent on having the attention of their husband who is about 84 years old. We know from their bickering back and forth that these two women would have gone to any length to have children. When they couldn’t or didn’t have babies in a timely manner, they concluded God needed extra help, using their handmaidens to do just that–Help.

Help, however, was not what God wanted.

He wants OBEDIENCE. If that means WAIT on the Lord, then I suggest you WAIT on the Lord. Otherwise, like Leah and Rachel, you will cause yourself a lot of heartache and misery.

Flawed people have flawed thinking, and each time we try to lend God a hand, we end up making a mess of things. It doesn’t occur to us to be still. What seems sensible and right to us is far from what God intended.

Why didn’t Leah turn to God the moment her father concocted his deceitful plan against Jacob?

Why are we flawed in this same way? Something to think about.

Many years pass and everything has changed. Jacob’s family has grown. His flocks have increased as well.

Strange how that happened.

Laban, the mater of trickery, convinced Jacob to continue to work for him, and as payment he’d give him all black, spotted, and striped sheep. On his way home, Laban must have laughed his head off and called Jacob an idiot. Over ninety percent of Laban’s flock is white, and the ten percent that were blemished he separates from Jacob so they can’t be accredited to Jacob as his own. Let me be clear — Laban was bent on having Jacob start with nothing and end with nothing. Laban is absolutely sure God is blessing him as long as Jacob stays with him, and Laban plans to milk this train for as long as he possibly can.

God, however, saw Laban’s crafty ways. What Laban didn’t know was he couldn’t out-fox the Father.

When the sheep come to drink water from the well, Jacob would strip slivers of bark from poplar, almond, and plane (sycamore and chestnut) trees, creating a striped pattern in each of the branches. He’d place them in water, letting the healthy and strong ewes eat the twigs and drink the powdery substance that emitted from the twigs and into the water. To distract the healthy ewes, he faced them toward the blemished sheep who also came to drink water from the same well. The blemished animals served as a distraction for the healthy ewes who drank from the trough. While drinking from the trough, male sheep came from behind and mated with them.

This passage puzzled me, so I dug deeper to find the answers to my nagging question: Why is Jacob putting striped twigs of poplar, almond, sycamore, and chestnut trees in the water?

Poplar, almond, and plane (chestnut and sycamore) trees have medicinal value and are known to cure inflammation, uterus infections, promote health and fertility, and fight off infections. During a scientific study, scientist separated sheep equally, feeding half the sheep with the medicinal properties found in these branches; then feeding the other half of the sheep with regular feed. The sheep fed with the medicinal properties from the tree branches increased in weight, were healthier, and produced more multiple births (twins) than the sheep who were not fed with the medicinal properties of the trees.

To this day, the medicinal properties found in these trees are used to feed sheep and other animals.

Does this mean God did not miraculously increase Jacob’s flock?

Of course not.

Keep in mind God used the wind and fire to hold back Pharoah’s Army and to keep them from killing the Israelites. God used creepy things to pester the Egyptians. He can use anything he chooses to attain his goal. He’s God of the universe, over the living and the dead, over the firmaments and the earth.

Jacob eventually sees there’s no end to his uncle’s dishonesty. He’s ready to go home, but patiently waits for an opportunity to escape.

By early spring, the time is right.

It’s sheep shearing time.

Let’s look at this video clip on sheep shearing.

Begin video at 4:05 minutes.

Laban has an enormous herd of sheep, and Jacob calculates sheep shearing will keep Laban and his servants busy for several days.

Sheep shearing season is a festive time of year. People all over the region come to settle debts and celebrate their profits. The wool is sold, but some is set aside to be cleaned and woven into blankets, clothing, and saddles. Women were busy extracting lanolin from the wool, carefully placing it in jars to later use it as moisturizers to be sold at market. Revelry and boisterous laughter are heard throughout the city, along the hillside, as everyone is in high spirits because of the profits they will receive from the wool. Marriages are hastily conducted. Slaves steal off in search of freedom.

It’s a great opportunity to get away.

Because Laban has an enormous herd of sheep to be sheared, Jacob concludes he’ll be long gone by the time Laban realizes he and his family have escaped.

And so it came to pass that Jacob left Laban’s household.

There’s a penalty for their dysfunctional behavior?

A stressful family unit.

Jacob doesn’t appreciate Leah for many years. Her beauty never intensifies. He could no more expect Leah’s beauty to increase any more than we can expect Itzhak Perlman to walk without crutches. Matter of fact, we appreciate the violinist even more because of his handicap.

Despite all this, Jacob is blessed. So is Leah.

What does Leah’s blessings spiritually mean?

Though Leah wasn’t Jacob’s first choice … though he made her feel abandoned by favoring her sister, Rachel, God remembered and blessed a whole nation through her.

God never forgets the abandoned.

Reminds you of what verse?

So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16)

Take a look at us … here at this church. We are a big congregation. Not as big as some mega churches, still we’re large in number.

Here you sit. One of many. A dot. Insignificant. Nameless.

And yet, God knows you by name.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)

In the beginning, I’m sure Leah felt like you … like she was left on an island.

See, if you believe you’re on an island, then you’ll act as if you’re on an island.

It all begins with our belief system and our daily interaction, or the lack thereof, with the Father. If our spiritual belief system is not strong enough, our potential to spiritually fail goes up. We act as if we need to be cornered with no way out before we look UP in search of God. We have this tendency to converse with everyone on the planet, seeking help by any means necessary until we exhaust every avenue available to us before realizing the Father knows us best … before realizing all we need to do is ask him for what we need, then wait on him.

Your belief system is like a battery. As long as your battery is charged and in good working order, you function just fine. If you stray away from the Word, your spiritual battery is slowly sapped of energy.

Get in the habit of checking your spiritual charge, or you’ll wake up one day and not know or understand how you fell in the pit.

On some level, Leah finally understood the Father loved her.

How? How did Leah know God loved her?

Since her trickery has whittled down and she’s had all the babies she can have, there’s no need to compete with her sister anymore. At some point, Leah became wise, slowed down and focused on matters of importance–spending time in contentment with God and being thankful.

Leah had a lot to be thankful for.

This is Leah’s real story.

From this woman’s womb, a nation was born.

The bad things that happened to her and by her did not negate God’s love for her.

She was abandoned AND God blessed her.

She was unloved AND God loved her.

She was alone AND God gave her six sons and a daughter to raise.

God even made provisions for Leah’s burial.

Rachel died first, while giving birth to Benjamin and is buried beside the road to Ephrath (pronounced–Eff wrath), which is called Bethlehem.

Leah dies later and lays in a burial place Abraham bought from Ephron, the Hittite. Before Jacob dies, he instructs his sons to bury him next to his wife, Leah.

Did you hear that?

His wife.

Think on it.

Before Jacob marries Rachel, he marries Leah, first. A week after he marries Leah, he marries the woman of his dreams–Rachel. Out of tradition and hardship, come a blessing.

Here at this place, you might be unnamed. You might feel insignificant among these massive amount of people, but you are not forgotten. You are not being ignored. God sees and hears and knows your pain. He feels your loneliness.

We may feel left out, but IT’S A LIE! Don’t believe it. You are a child of the King. You are not forgotten. You are not less than anyone else. You are not more than anyone else. You are included. Set aside your worldly status, your financial gain, your emotional turmoil, your neglectful parents, your bullying co-workers, and your abusive spouse, and reflect on God’s truth–

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; …” (Isaiah 43:4-5) [Emphasis mine.]

Don’t be fooled: your real family are those in the body of Christ … those in heavenly places … those who are at rest waiting for your arrival.

Don’t allow your circumstances to define who you are, but rather who you belong to. You were bought with a price. Don’t waste his blood. Let it cover you … drench you … pour all over you. Allow God’s grace to be active within you. Do not fight the Holy Spirit. Obey him. Listen to him, for,

He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is to come.” (John 16:12-13)

Leah was not perfect.


Not one speck of darkness can be found in him. He’s come to save us and cover our sins … to clothes us like he clothed Adam and Eve.

Think on this:

Above the Ark of the Covenant is the Mercy Seat (the lid), and underneath the Mercy Seat are Aaron’s staff, tablets of the Ten Commandments, and bowl of manna. God is hovering over the Mercy Seat and a law we could not keep. Without Christ being the Mercy Seat, we are forever separated from the Father. But Christ as the Mercy Seat is our perpetuation — our go-between to get to the Father. Come to God’s Mercy Seat. Give up your manipulative behavior, your white lies, and your bad attitude, your political view, and everything that separates you from Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the saints. Come rest and let God’s Mercy be enough.

We can’t perfect our way out of our struggles. Imperfections Don’t Alter God’s Plan for you.

IN SUMMARY, what have we learned?

  1. Our failures have no power over God’s purpose for our lives.
  2. We are to be in full obedience to our Father, but dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” shouldn’t be our full focus. We are not called to legalism. The Mercy Seat — Jesus Christ covers our failures.
  3. Sharpen your listening skills. By listening to the Holy Spirit, you are reassured he will “never” steer you wrong.
  4. Don’t minimize God’s power to miraculously turn your plans into a blessing.
  5. Though most of the time we make choices according to the flesh, God is not confined by them.

Let’s pray.

Father-God, help us to listen … to really listen to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead. We know you love us, but we often need to be reminded just how much you love us … how you continue to sacrifice for us. Help us remain OBEDIENT and walk in your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Donna B. Comeaux

Another woman out of billions who love the Lord our God.

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