A Champion of Righteousness
How is God acting in your life to show He is with you—even in the waiting?
Military life provides many opportunities to wait for a promise to be fulfilled. God promised Abraham a son, and after ten years there was still no child. Abraham believed the Lord even in a situation that looked hopeless, and so was in a right relationship with God. Look for opportunities to cultivate a life of waiting well and allow God to sustain you in the process.
About This Journey
God desires for women to take a step of faith and discover their place in His plan. For Military wives, dedication to Christ translates into dedication to our husbands and to Military life. In “Dedicated to God’s Plan”, we trace the steps toward a dedicated life through the journey of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis.
This Week's Readings
In Need of Rescue
So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.-Genesis 14:11-16
“The military is like a big family!” said a new military wife to me after her husband’s first few months on active duty service. My response to her was a resounding, “Yes, it is!”
I did not know what it was like to live in community until I became a military wife. I remember looking out my window at one assignment to see dozens of children playing in our backyard. The neighbors followed an unwritten code to watch out for each other, especially when it came to the children. The result of living so close was an awareness of needs. At times that was a little uncomfortable, but it was more about helping than getting in each other’s business. The blessings outweighed the frustrations. If I was ever in a jam, they came to my rescue.
Abraham’s nephew Lot found himself in a jam. The choice he made to take the best land for himself led to consequences that put him in danger. Can’t you see Abraham shaking his head in frustration over Lot’s predicament? I would not blame Abraham if he had said, “He got himself in this mess and he can get himself out.” But instead he gathered his troops and went out to rescue him.
Lot’s situation was an extreme case, but the dedication Abraham displayed towards him is not unlike a military wife who has the opportunity to help others in her community. Jesus commands us to love others as he loved us (John 15:12–13). Each of us has an occasion to show Christ’s love every day.
Look around your sphere of influence. Does anyone need rescue? Is there someone who might need to be rescued from loneliness? Invite her for coffee. Is there a young mom who might need to be rescued from isolation? Offer to babysit one afternoon. Is there a new military wife in the neighborhood who needs a rescue from unrealistic expectations? Take her on a tour of your favorite places in town and affirm her strengths.
Make me an instrument of your peace today, Lord. Help me see the needs of others and take action to help. Amen.
An Unexpected Testimony
After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.-Genesis 14:17-20
Abraham found himself in what amounts to an international incident. Words like insurgency, revolt, conquest, and raid can all be used to describe the situation here in Genesis 14. Without going into details about the battle, we see that with 318 men Abraham successfully attacked and defeated his enemies. That makes it sound like Abraham brought about the defeat. But the hero was not Abraham—the hero was God. God’s role in the victory was confirmed through an unexpected source.
After the battle, Melchizedek, king and priest of the city of Salem, met Abraham with a victory meal. His blessing and declaration of the Most High God’s victory (v. 19–20) is not something we today would expect from a Canaanite king.
I did not know what to expect when my husband became a soldier. I grew up in a sheltered environment. I had no context of where God fit into military life. I certainly did not expect to find the finest Christian people I have ever had the privilege to know. Not having had any exposure to churches other than my own, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many military families who testified to the greatness of God.
When have you heard or received an unexpected blessing? How can you be an unexpected messenger of encouragement to someone as Melchizedek was to Abraham?
Father, keep me faithful in serving you. Fill my heart with your love and use me to share that love with others today. Amen.
And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”-Genesis 14:21-24
Selfless service is a term that conjures dramatic rescues in the face of life-threatening danger. Dramatic rescues and life-threatening danger, however, are not everyday occurrences. What part can selfless service play in everyday life?
I read a story in 2013 about a young Army specialist’s wife who inadvertently became the leader of her Family Readiness Group (FRG) when the commander’s wife was not interested in the job. The young woman worked hard to make the FRG a support for other military spouses in the unit. The challenge came when a new commander came in—and his wife was interested in leading the FRG. Great potential for drama!
The new commander’s wife could have strong-armed her way into what was rightfully her position. Instead, she met with the young FRG leader and got to know her. The article affirmed both women for their selfless service as they worked together to put the needs of soldiers and their families above all else. They were willing to listen to each other rather than compete for position. The young wife remained the leader of the group and the commander’s wife became the adviser. The new commander stated, “Both women should be commended for the humility they demonstrated in handling a delicate situation. They put the needs of soldiers and their families above all else.”
Selfless service is an act performed without any expectation of reward. It is the type of service that Abraham exhibited following the victorious battle in Genesis 14. The king of Sodom offered Abraham a portion of the spoils of war. Abraham had every right to take the plunder, but he chose not to accept the offer in order to remain above reproach in the eyes of his Canaanite neighbors. He surrendered his rights and refused personal gain in order to keep God’s name untarnished.
What is your motivation for service? Would you continue to serve in an area even if you were not recognized?
Lord, I want to live a life that points others to you. Help me never tarnish your name by my words, attitudes, or actions. Amen.
Dedicated to a Promise
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.-Genesis 15:1-6
Aren’t you impressed when you see a chest full of ribbons or medals on someone in the military? Each has a story. Each represents a mission. Some medals represent completion of time in a job while others represent hazardous duty or exemplary service.
We occasionally read about people who display ribbons they did not earn. In an effort to appear more brave, accomplished, or advanced they may purchase ribbons at the Clothing Sales Store. Such ribbons count for nothing. Only medals presented by a legitimate leader count as a true reward.
Call me crazy, but Genesis 15 reminds me of a military ribbon ceremony. Think about it: Abraham has just fought a successful military campaign and he stands before his Commander, who tells him, “I will give you a great reward.” Abraham’s reward was not for leading a victorious battle, because God was the one who brought the victory. The reward was for his faith.
The only reward that would mean anything to him, though, would be a son—and that was impossible at his age. Abraham questioned God. He reasoned that the reward of an heir would have to come through one of his servants, which in his mind was like going to the Clothing Sales Store and buying one of those fake ribbons for his chest. I don’t blame Abraham for such thoughts. Wouldn’t you question the idea of becoming a first-time father if you were beyond the age of a grandpa?
God did not place any stars of award on Abraham’s chest or shoulders, but he told him to go look up at the sky and try to count the stars. Abraham’s reward would be that great and it was going to start with his son—his very own “born-in-his-old-age” son. Do you know what Abraham did when God said this to him? He believed. He believed. His journey had brought him to a place where he trusted what God said. He believed it even if he did not see it.
Recall a time when you had doubts about Gods plan for your life. How did you respond? Do you have doubts about Gods plan now? As you learn about Abraham and see his faith develop, how might that develop your faith?
Lord, you revealed more of yourself to Abraham in the midst of his doubts. Help me to believe you are at work in my life, even when I do not see you. Amen.
When it’s Hard to Wait
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.-Genesis 16:1-3
True confession: I can be impatient. I do not have to think hard for examples. There is the time I drove 45 MPH in a 25 MPH zone and had to endure the humiliation of military police traffic school. (Does a car even register the 15–25 MPH speeds posted on military installations?) And I cannot count the many outfits I could not wait to buy, only to find them 50–75 percent off the next week. Impatience has cost me both time and money.
Waiting is hard. In the case of Abraham and Sarah, a decade passed after God promised an heir. Who could blame Sarah for taking matters into her own hands? God said there would be a child and Sarah’s biological clock had stopped ticking. Surely God needed a little help.
Before we get too critical of Sarah, it is useful to know that the customs of the day allowed for surrogate motherhood if there was an infertile wife. Survival of an agrarian family depended on sons to carry on the work. It may have been an accepted practice, but was it part of God’s plan? Sarah was Abraham’s wife. She and Abraham were one flesh. The promised son was to come from her.
God’s timing frequently requires waiting. Getting ahead of his plan has consequences that become evident as the scene in Genesis 16 plays out. Sarah’s impatience resulted in a loss of respect and confidence. She lost confidence in Abraham’s dedication to her, Hagar lost job security, and Abraham almost lost the son Hagar bore him.
Opportunities to learn to wait are built into military life, from the simple act of going to the commissary on payday to the emotional experience of deployment. Take advantage of such opportunities to cultivate a life of waiting well, and allow God to sustain you in the process.
How has military life helped you learn patience? Are you prone to wait patiently on God or take matters into your own hands?
Lord, I often find it hard to wait. Its easy to get ahead of your plan. Deepen my trust in you during times when I long for what can only come in your time. Amen.
Resources & Info
Resources to help you and other military wives in your community.
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