Francine Rivers is an incredible author. The amount of research she does and her attention to the little details is amazing. This book is a collection of five stories on the five women mentioned by name in the lineage of Christ: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
I was challenged to think more about these women then I thought possible and found myself reading their biblical accounts deeper than ever before. One of the biggest view changes was Bathsheba.
I had always thought of her as a temptress and also a weak character but now I am inclined to think a little differently. For example, who would you say had the biggest influence on Solomon? I would argue that his mother did and I believe some of her influence can be seen in Proverbs 31.
While we don't know for sure, I tend to believe that King Lemuel was Solomon and that the godly advice was given by his mother Bathsheba. I have pondered on this thought and believe that the Virtuous woman mentioned here in proverbs is none other than Ruth, David's great grandmother. If you think about it for a moment it all fits both time wise and literally. Bathsheba was arguably David's favorite wife and it is possible that he would have mentioned the incredible story of how his great grandmother came to live in Israel and became one of them. Perhaps as Bathsheba listened she realized that this was the kind of woman she wanted for her son, a woman who would make a great queen. If you do some comparing you will find that Ruth matches the Virtuous woman almost line for line. "Her husband is known in the gates", Boaz was known for sure. "She works willingly with her hands", no doubt Ruth did that more than once. "She reacheth forth her hands to the needy" Ruth was a woman of compassion. In fact Ruth is the only woman in scripture that was given the title, "Virtuous Woman" which would then make sense for that title to be used to describe the kind of woman a good man should look for, especially a king.
Bathsheba's story is just one of five in this book and several of the others were also very insightful. While Francine Rivers adds dialogue and additional details I believe she strove to remain true to the biblical account and time period. She also leaves her readers with a thought in each story, like Bathsheba's. She was a woman who was sorry for her sin and sought to be forgiven and restored, a request that was granted by the One who remembers our sins no more.
There was once a fellow who, with his dad, farmed a little piece of land. Several times a year they would load up the old ox-drawn cart with vegetables and go into the nearest city to sell their produce. Except for their name and the patch of ground, father and son had little in common. The old man believed in taking it easy. The boy was usually in a hurry - the go-getter type.
One morning, bright and early, they hitched up the ox to the loaded cart and started on the long journey. The son figured that if they walked faster, kept going all day and night, they'd make market by early the next morning. So he kept prodding the ox with a stick, urging the beast to get a move on.
"Take it easy, son," said the old man. "You'll last longer."
"But if we get to market ahead of the others, we'll have a better chance of getting good prices," argued the son.
No reply. Dad just pulled his hat down over his eyes and fell asleep on the seat. Itchy and irritated, the young man kept goading the ox to walk faster. His stubborn pace refused to change.
Four hours and four miles later down the road, they came to a little house. The father woke up, smiled, and said, "Here's your uncle's place. Let's stop in and say hello."
"But we've lost an hour already," complained the hot shot.
"Then a few more minutes won't matter. My brother and I live so close, yet we see each other so seldom," the father answered slowly.
The boy fidgeted and fumed while the two old men laughed and talked away almost an hour. On the move again, the man took his turn leading the ox. As they approached a fork in the road, the father led the ox to the right.
"The left is the shorter way," said the son.
"I know it," replied the old man, "but this way is much prettier."
"Have you no respect for time?" the young man asked impatiently.
"Oh, I respect it very much! That's why I like to use it to look at beauty and enjoy each moment to the fullest."
The winding path led through graceful meadows, wildflowers, and along a rippling stream - all of which the young man missed as he churned within, preoccupied and boiling with anxiety. He didn't even notice how lovely the sunset was that day.
Twilight found them in what looked like a huge, colorful garden. The old man breathed in the aroma, listened to the bubbling brook, and pulled the ox to a halt. "Let's sleep here," he sighed.
"This is the last trip I'm taking with you," snapped the son. "You're more interested in watching sunsets and smelling flowers than in making money!"
"Why, that's the nicest thing you've said in a long time," smiled the dad. A couple minutes later he was snoring - as his boy glared back at the stars. The night dragged slowly, the son was restless.
Before sunrise the young man hurriedly shook his father awake. They hitched up and went on. About a mile down the road they happened upon another farmer - a total stranger - trying to pull his cart out of a ditch.
"Let's give him a hand," whispered the old man.
"And lose more time?" the boy exploded.
"Relax son. You might be in a ditch sometime yourself. We need to help others in need - don't forget that." The boy looked away in anger.
It was almost eight o'clock that morning by the time the other cart was back on the road. Suddenly, a great flash split the sky. What sounded like thunder followed. Beyond the hills, the sky grew dark.
"Looks like a big rain in the city," said the old man.
"If we had hurried, we'd be almost sold out by now," grumbled his son.
"Take it easy, you'll last longer. And you'll enjoy life so much more," counseled the kind old gentleman.
It was late afternoon by the time they got to the hill overlooking the city. They stopped and stared down at it for a long, long time. Neither of them said a word. Finally,, the young man put his hand on his father's shoulder and said, "I see what you mean, Dad."
They turned their cart around and began to roll slowly away from what had once been the city of Hiroshima.
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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