Monday, February 24, 2014

Tale of Four Young People Chapter 2

Tamar – Betrayed by all; so Why live on?
So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing a richly ornamented robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore.  Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
 Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman. 2 Sam 13:18-20 NIV
Most people believe that bad things only happen to bad people. It appears that Tamar was of this opinion. Immediately this happened to her, the first question was “what did I do wrong? I was good to everybody, obeyed my parents and loved my brothers and sisters. I did my best to help everybody and avoided every appearance of sin; that’s why I wear this special robe meant for virgins”.
Of a truth Tamar was right to feel betrayed. It looked like her whole family conspired against her. She was raped by her step-brother right under her father’s roof. She fell into that trouble because she obeyed her father and he did nothing to Amnon after his wicked act. Perhaps she hoped that her brother Absalom will step out immediately to avenge her but the way he spoke to her suggested that he did not see it as too bad an incident. Even after,
Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad                                             2 Sam 13:22NIV
All these were what other people had done to Tamar, but what did she do to herself?
Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
It is like Tamar did more harm to herself than her supposed enemies did to her. Her enemies meant to ruin her life; they only took one step each but Tamar packed-up herself. She put a conclusive end to her whole existence. It is true she was hurt, betrayed and abandoned. But that was only an incident in her life. There was no reason for Tamar to help her enemies to terminate her own life.
And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman.
Hear this; bad things happen to everybody. The difference between the overcomer and the defeated is what they do at the point of a bad incident. Joseph the son of Jacob found himself in the same condition; his father sent him to send food to his brothers who left home many days with the sheep. He went to care for them and bring back news for his father; but his brothers took him and sold him out to Ishmaelite traders. That resulted in many years of horrible experiences as a slave and latter prisoner. That was what the enemy did to Joseph, but Joseph put his life together in all this. He continued to express his spiritual gifts even in the prison. That opened door for him to appear before the king. You know the rest of the story; he became the prime minister of Egypt and all his enemies bowed down before him. This resulted because he did not pack up his entire life because of one incident.
Hagar, Abraham’s concubine tried to pack up her life because she was thrown out of home by a couple she had trusted and allowed herself to be used as a baby making machine. She and Her baby were thrown out of home. Her worries blinded her to the supply of water by her side. She was ready to let her son die.
When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.  Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
Gen 21:15-19 NIV
  Did you read that? Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. Water was not her problem contrary to her views; she had closed her eyes by her concentration on an incident that happened “yesterday”. She refused to see anything else. Thanks be to God who had mercy on her and opened her eyes.
Everybody knew Tamar was raped; even if every other person believed she was immoral, there will always be somebody who will accept her as she was. Rehab was a pronounced prostitute yet was mentioned in the genealogy of Christ.
Counsel: There are many ills that befall young people which are not their making: some suffer like Jabez, the father abandons the mother or may deny the responsibility for the pregnancy. That will mean suffering for what one does not understand. One may be falsely accused or even go to jail for a crime one knows nothing about. One may be carrying disease he inherited from the carelessness of parents. One may just fall out of favor in a family of many children, especially a polygamous family.
Don’t pack up your life because of one incident. Pick up the pieces of your life. Who knows, there may be a throne waiting for you ahead. Follow the example of Jabez (1 Chron. 4:9-10), turn your back on every other thing or person and cry out to God. The God who answered Jabez will answer you. extract from a book by Emma N J nwosu

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Prayer Network for Universal Revival: Tales of Four Young People Chapter 1

Prayer Network for Universal Revival: Tales of Four Young People Chapter 1: In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. 2 Amnon became frustr...

Tales of Four Young People Chapter 1

In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
2 Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man.  2 Sam 13:1-3 NIV
These four had royal blood, from the richest and most powerful family on earth at the time. They were under the roof of a globally recognized servant of God with god fearing priests and worshippers. There was nothing they lacked in any sense; yet, they failed. Two of them were princes and heirs to the throne, but died young and unmourned, leaving no children.
Amnon – Destroyed by obsessive compulsive drive (OCD).
One day Amnon noticed this pressure on his soul and will; he must have sex with his step sister or die. He called it love, and did not know where this pressure was coming from and could not resist it. Soon this pressure diminished all the opportunities and privileges around him. He lost appetite and interest on whatever else. This soon became noticed by his close friend and confidant who then suggested how he could satisfy this urge.
The victim of his beastly urge warned him-
Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing.  What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel.
2 Sam 13:12-13 NIV  
 What about you, Amnon? That was the least thing he wanted to consider then. That urge had come to destroy him, but he lacked sufficient will power to reason then. He was obsessed. In other words, he was mad. This madness was driving him by a compelling force to ruin his future and the destiny attached.
This can be the story a lot of young people. Once any young person comes under this influence, he does not want to see those that he knew could dissuade him from the path he has made up his mind to follow. At such time the youth begins to withdraw from his parents, guardians and teachers. The person the young person wants to listen to, is fellow youths that he knows would not stop him but encourage him on the path to self-destruction.
At times this comes as sexual urge; for girls it could be at a likely time to get pregnant. It could be urging for a particular fashion lifestyle. In the case of the prodigal son in the bible, it was urge to leave home and live independent. It could come as pressure to test alcohol or rape. The more fatal case is to attempt suicide. In Nigeria within the year 2013 more than four university under graduates committed suicide in four different cities.  They all cited that they were fed up with life. All of them were below twenty four years and their parents were still living.
After taking this self destructive step, they always recover, but then the irreparable harm is done. In Amnon’s case -
But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and get out!"
2 Sam 13:14-15 NIV
He thought he loved her, now he has done the irreparable damage to the girl and more to himself, he discovered he never loved her; he was only mad, which madness he could not resist until he had ruined his chance to the throne and earned himself a life time enemy in his step-brother Absalom which resulted in his death.
He died as a rapist, guilty of incest, self-condemned prince unfit for the throne. In Tamar’s words, he had become like one of the wicked fools of the land of Israel. Foolish could be excused but wicked was deserving of death. His father could not kill him because he was his son but judgment came through his offended step-brother.
Counsel- When young people come under such pressure, let they run to a more matured person and confess their condition. If Amnon had spoken to his father, mother, the priest or teacher about this; none of them would have made the satanic suggestion Jonadab made. It is not also wise to try to handle this alone. It was Amnon’s effort to handle this alone that resulted in his losing weight which brought in Jonadab.
The best person to talk to in such case is a pastor, or where available a youth counselor. Youths who have learnt to pray have an edge in such matter. But just like Amnon, most youths see praying as old fashioned, hence, do not join their parents in prayer. When such youth come under such problem he is helpless.
It is necessary to make mention that such pressure could be hereditary. In the case of Amnon, his father David had succumbed to such pressure earlier and committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. In this also parents should not be shy to confess their weaknesses before their children, and warn them of such pitfalls. Most parents boast before their children as perfect people, who have made no mistakes in life. When the children find themselves under pressure, they see themselves as never do-wells, considering their challenges only peculiar to them. That could be why Amnon kept his pressure to himself. If he ever saw that his father had faced such problems, he would have reached out to him for help.
Parents should open up to their children in such a way as to help them avoid the pitfalls to which they were victims.
Extract from a book by Emma N J Nwosu