Would you trust God enough to leave your friends and family and go to another country?
After the Israelites escaped from Egypt, Moses sent 12 men, to spy out the land of Canaan - the Promised Land. After exploring for 40 days they came back and told Moses that the land was good but that the people were strong and like giants and the cities had walls around them. This report made everyone afraid. But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb brought back a positive reply. Caleb, said, "Don’t be afraid of the people in that land. We can defeat them. They have no protection, nothing to keep them safe. But we have the Lord with us, so don’t be afraid!" The people were angry and wanted to kill Caleb and Joshua. Then the glory of God appeared and said that because the Israelites had been disobedient (again), none of them would enter the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua.
Life Lessons: Don't listen to the doubters when God tells you to go.
Saul was the first king of Israel. He was 30 years old when he became King. The Israelites had been ruled by judges but they wanted a king like the other nations around them. In 1 Samuel 12:14-15 Samuel told the people, Both you and the king ruling over you must follow the Lord your God. If you do, it will be well with you. But if you don’t obey the Lord, and if you fight against his commands, he will be against you.
So God chose Saul to be king. He was very tall and handsome. He wasn't thrilled about being king and hid when the prophet, Samuel, wanted to anoint him. In 1 Samuel 11: 6 it says that "the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him." Saul raised an army of 300,000 men and defeated the Ammonites who were threatening the Israelites. Unfortunately after this he began to disobey God - he didn't wait for Samuel to offer sacrifices, made a foolish vow, he kept the best cattle and sheep of the Amalekites when God told them to destroy them all and he consulted a witch. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and he suffered episodes of madness. He was jealous of David and tried to kill him. In the end, he was critically wounded by the Philistines in battle and killed himself. It's like something you'd see at the movies.
Life Lessons: If you do your own thing and please yourself, you cannot expect God to bless you.
Jael's story is closely linked to Deborah's. You can read about it in Judges chapter 5. In a nutshell, the prophetess and judge, Deborah, told Barak to gather an army and fight against King Jabin as he had been oppressing the Israelites. Barak said he would go but only if Deborah went with him. She did and they won. Because Barak wouldn't go without Deborah, she foretold that the commander of Jabin's army, Sisera, would be killed by a woman and not him.
This is where Jael comes into the story. Sisera fled from the Israelite army and Jael offered to hide him in her tent. Her husband's tribe were allies of King Jael. He hid in her tent, had a glass of milk and fell asleep. Then, Jael took a tent peg and a hammer and nailed it through his head - gruesome right!
Life lessons: Have courage, God is with you - he can use the weak to defeat the strong.
John was a fisherman before he became a disciple of Jesus. His brother, James, was also a disciple. He was one of the fisherman, along with James and Peter, who had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Then Jesus told them to throw their nets over the other side of the boat and they caught so many fish they couldn't fit them all in the boat. Jesus told them they would become fishers of men - they would bring people into the Kingdom, not catch fish. Luke 5:11 says, The men brought their boats to the shore. They left everything and followed Jesus.
I find it amazing that they left everything to follow Jesus. We hold on too tightly to our reputation, our achievements, our friends, our families, wanting to live life our way, wanting people to like us... We need to forget all that, leave it behind, and follow Jesus.
CHALLENGE: What is something that you need to leave behind and follow Jesus' way instead? Is it bad language, lying, gossiping, complaining, being selfish?
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.