Have you "met" Rizpah? Many years ago I heard about a woman named Rizpah. This mother literally guarded her sons night and day for months, beating off the predators that would desecrate the bodies of her boys. Rizpah was a concubine of King Saul and she bore him two sons. Seven sons, two of which were Rizpahs, were hanged to pay a debt to the Gibeonites. Their deaths were to make atonement between the Gibeonites and the house of Israel because of what the Lord called "Saul and his bloodthirsty house..." (2 Samuel 21:1-14).
Rizpah's story is recorded in just a few verses. These few verses are a summary of what I'm certain for Rizpah seemed a lifetime lived out in nightmarish conditions.
Rizpah's name literally means "hot rock." As her sons hung dead above her, she spread out a sackcloth for herself on a rock "from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven." Rizpah guarded the bodies of her boys, keeping the birds off by day and the beasts off by night.
Can you feel her pain...both physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally? Can you put yourself in her place...loving her sons even in death. Death could not sever the relationship between mother and child.
Rizpah went to great extremes to protect the bodies of her boys. To have the bodies ravaged by birds or wild animals was considered to be the worst possible insult and desecration of the dead.
And so, Rizpah denied herself the comfort of her home, to care for the corpses of her boys.
In what way will we deny ourselves in order to guard the bodies, spirits and souls of our children? I know that many times we deny ourselves sleep when our children are sick in the night. We deny ourselves things we need when our children are in need or in "want." We deny ourselves many times for the sake of our children.
But what we also need to deny is FEAR that threatens our FAITH. We must deny the lies of the enemy that question the authority and goodness of God. We must deny evil influence and ungodly access to the minds and hearts and bodies of our children.
We know the threats that exist in this modern world. Like Rizpah, we must make a place on a rock ~ the ROCK which is Christ Jesus. We must stretch ourselves further than we ever thought possible. We must stretch our faith and increase it through the Word of God. We must fight off the birds by day and the beasts by night.
Now almost 2 weeks in the hospital, my husband and I (and visiting friends and family) pray over our son as he lies in a bed with a tube draining spinal fluid from his brain. He battles headaches and dizziness and pressure behind his eyes. I tell him he is stronger than he has ever been and when he is on the other side of this, he will have a great testimony to share. He will have a great praise to lift up. He will tell others who may walk this same road, "I know how you feel" and it will be true.
We beat off the birds of depression and sadness from Andrew's mind. We beat off the buzzards that bring negative thoughts to rest on him. We beat off the beasts of infection and cancer. We bloody their noses and we kick out their teeth. We mark off a barrier that the birds and the beasts cannot cross. We have drawn a line. And we remain on the ROCK.