BARRENNESS: The Gift of God
My awesome big bro, Sean Smith, shared a recent sermon of his with me entitled "Your Spark is Coming Back!" that he preached at the SHE Women's Conference at The Rock Family Worship Center. In it, he reminded me of something I'm very familiar with: barrenness. And it also reminded me of a Note I posted on Facebook a while back. It resonated so well that I wanted to re-share it with you all here. So, enjoy and be encouraged!
Now before you start declaring me a false teacher and mad woman, let me first acknowledge that generally speaking, barrenness is a curse--absolutely not from God. There, I said it. And now for the purpose of this post.
What did all of these women have in common? They were all barren. While society and the women themselves thought they were under a curse, God knew otherwise.
Sarah panicked and gave her hubby her maidservant and brought us the problems we have today in the Middle-East. But God specifically shut her womb until they were in the Promised Land. He didn't want an Egyptian or a Babylonian (Chaldean) to birth Israel. He wanted a son of promise.
I'm sure God had His reasons for shutting up Rebekah's womb, even though it's not elaborated upon in the Scriptures.
Rachel's womb was shut so that Joseph would be the favoured child of his father Jacob, so his elder half-brothers would hate him, sell him to the Midianites and Ishmaelites to the Egyptians, so Joseph could eventually rise to power and save Israel alive.
Hannah was plagued by her sister-wife, Peninnah, and grieved her husband with her own grief, yet God needed a child to be consecrated to His service so he could usher in the next Era of Israel.
Elizabeth's womb was shut up so her divine pregnancy could overlap with Mary's and thus, be an encouragement to her. Liz's son, John--in the Spirit of Elijah--had to prepare the way of the Lord, but he could not precede his divine Cousin by many years, otherwise the momentum needed to introduce Christ's ministry would have been lost.
But there's another forgotten barren woman no one ever talks about. Her name was Bithiah, the adopted mother of Moses.
And Mered’s wife bore Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. (His wife Jehudijah bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Sochoh, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah.) And these were the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took. (I Chronicles 4:17, 18)
Now frankly, I don't know what happened to the natural-born children of Bithiah, but I do know what happened to her adopted son. He composed, by divine revelation and wisdom, the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) and set the stage upon which the entire Old Testament was hinged. The Law of Moses was in effect until Jesus came along and upgraded it. But Moses never would have been the man He was had it not been for his adopted mother.
Bithiah was barren. God shut up her womb and to add insult to injury, allowed her husband to die. All hope seemed lost. That is until she was in the Nile performing a ritual bathing and God sent her a bundle of joy floating in a reed basket. Had Bithiah had children of her own, she most likely never would have been in that literal position to receive the basket and who knows what would have happened to the unnamed infant. But she reared him, her father raised him up, they educated him, and caused him to know great things. In short, they trained him to be the ruler of a great people--and that was exactly what he became, just to a very different people than they'd all expected.
When Moses returned to Israel, God executed judgment on the gods of Egypt, and the people of Israel left Egypt with the plunder of the people in tote, Bithiah went with her son. She married Mered, of the tribe of Judah, and God blessed them with one daughter and two sons. She got more than double for her trouble! And let's look at how amazing this is, really!
Moses was 40 when he left Egypt. 80 when he returned in the power of God. Let's be conservative and say Bithiah was 20 years older than her adopted son (although it was honestly probably more like 30 or 40.) So that means, when Moses returned to Israel, Bithiah was ~100 years old. The Bible doesn't provide us with a time frame remarking how long it took the 10 plagues of Egypt to manifest, how long the Children of Israel were encamped by the Red Sea before it parted, how long it took Mered to marry Bithiah, nor how long it took her to give birth to their first child. So while all this amazing attention is given to Abraham and Sarah (and rightfully so), Bithiah deserves at least as much attention--if not more for being 100+ years old and giving birth to not one, not two, but THREE children!! In the middle of a million-person caravan crossing the desert! My Gawd!! What a miracle!! :) God shut up her womb ON PURPOSE to give Judaism and Christianity one of the greatest heroes of our faith!
I think this is also an appropriate time to say, "black don't crack!!" No it don't baby!! lol
Seriously though, if you are in a season where you feel barren. If you, like me, feel you have travailed for years, yet not accomplished any deliverance (Isaiah 26:18), if you have not seen any breakthrough--and you KNOW that it's not because of some sin you've committed--then take heart. God has shut up your womb on purpose. You are not like everyone else. What you birth when you finally birth it will not be like anyone or anything else; it will be the offspring of the mind and heart and will of God Himself. IN HIS TIMING. And when the set time arrives, you (and I) will be so grateful that nothing we travailed over in the past came into existence when we *thought* it should.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8, 9)
I'll leave you with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
"Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman," says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:1)