And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
You and I might think evil is easy to recognize. But the truth is, evil much more often comes in disguise, pretending to be oh so good, oh so high minded.
She was held in his gaze, paused, at peace, at rest, then Jesus closed his eyes, and an audible groan rose up from voice after voice, as she rose to up on her knees, lifted the jar with both hands, and poured a golden green brooklet of ambrosial oil onto Jesus’ head. Narrow rills streamed through his hair, and over his beard, the perfume so potent it overwhelmed even the incense burners.
She carefully placed the jar in the nest of linen cloths that lined its cedar container, closed the lid, and resealed it with her signet. At the banquet, she would break this seal one last time.
Jesus received from Martha that night, and he received from Mary. Both worshiped in their ways, giving the Lord a rare blessing. In their working together, supporting each other, Martha and Mary’s love and honor to Jesus was multiplied.
Ultimately, though Rebekah paid dearly for the way she fought for fulfillment of God’s promises, she held steady as a woman of faith. Far more than Isaac, it was Rebekah who believed God and desired God’s will as well as God’s promises and covenant.
One of the more famous prophesies in the Hebrew scriptures, Micah foretold specific details that would identify the one God would send to deliver Israel, and ultimately rule victoriously.
Faced with the same evidence, some were moved to belief, and some were hardened in unbelief. And yet God’s purpose for Messiah still advanced. Even with free will, no person can alter God’s divine plan. As one commentator put it, Nothing people can do will thwart or alter the sovereign will of God, and nothing God does ever sets aside the free choice of people.
It is God Who creates new life within you and me, Jesus calls us by name and brings us out of death and into new life. Then God calls others to come help us unwind the old life from ourselves, all the things that had bound us in death.
Faith involves doing hard things. And obedience to God reflects belief in God and God’s word. Martha would have to put her belief on the line in front of her sister, in front of all those religious dignitaries, in front of all their extended family and people who had come down from Jerusalem.