e·nig·maiˈniɡmə/nouna person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.
God tests his children with enigmas. God expects us to have faith even when we do not fully understand what God is doing. Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or it would result in death. They had never seen death, but they were required to love and trust God enough to obey him despite their lack of full understanding. They failed. Job was tested with suffering. He asked God "Why?" God never gave him an intellectually satisfying answer. But Job passed his test by trusting the LORD in spite of his questions. I have been confronted with many questions in my life concerning God that made me intellectually uncomfortable. Some of the questions I have now had answered. Some of them I haven't. But I trust God even though I don't understand everything about him. Honestly, there are some things about God that I don't like. But I love him because he first loved me, and he has put a love in my heart for him that surpasses my understanding.
Consider this passage in which disciples were given the test of enigma. Notice that while some passed, most failed.
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60 ¶ Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
In this passage, Jesus deliberately said something that was repulsive and confusing. Jesus knew that when he said, "Whoso eateth of my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life..." there would be those that would be confused. He knew there were people who were wondering if Jesus was the messiah or just another crazy impostor. He knew that his audience was not fully ready for such a bold claim of importance. But he watched the crowd walk away rather than say, "Hey wait, please don't go. Let me explain and I will give you an intellectually satisfying explanation." Notice that not even the disciples claimed to understand what Jesus was talking about. The response of Peter wasn't, "I get it Lord. I understand all your metaphors and parables as soon as I hear them. I think I will stick around." Peter's response is, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life?" Peter trusted Christ more than his intellect. He was not going to let intellectual difficulties stand between him and the Lord.
How do you handle intellectual difficulties? Do you consider walking away from Christ every time another "expert" slanders God and his Word? Do scientists in white lab coats rank higher in your esteem than the Bible? Do you trust your intellect over God's self revelation? If so, it is only a matter of time before Satan steals the word from your heart and persuades you to follow the pied piper to your grave. But if you have been truly born of God's Spirit, you will come to the Son, and he will by no means cast you out.
It is not an accident that believers are referred to as sheep. Sheep are not intelligent animals, but they do exhibit faith in their shepherd. They trust the shepherd to know what is best.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
God's word places high value on strong women. Weak women are not praised, they are despised. Many cultures have seen women as mere play toys for play boys, but this not a biblical view in the least. Take for example this verse I read in Proverbs chapter 12 on this twelfth day of may.
Proverbs 12:4 ¶ A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
This verse teaches that a strong woman is a crown to her husband. That means she is his pride and joy. The word virtue here does not refer merely to good character. The word has changed in meaning in the last four hundred years since the KJV was written. The Hebrew word is "Chayil". It is a word that means strong and powerful. It is a word used elsewhere to describe Pharaoh's armies, a band of fighting men, wealth, and Davids mighty men of "valor." To be "Chayil" is to be strong, influential, persuasive and competent and able to endure hardship.
This proverb praises the woman of strength saying that she is a crown to her husband. A strong woman isn't a pampered princess, she is a respected Queen who makes her husband feel like a King. She is a crown to her husband. A crown denotes status. We don't let mediocre men wear crowns. If the town black smith showed up to work wearing the crown of a King he would be ridiculed and questioned. "Who do you think you are wearing a crown that you are unfit to wear?" But men with strong and Godly wives are highly respected and praised. They are known in the gates of the city as men of influence.
On the other hand, a weak woman is compared to rottenness in the bones. I have never had rotten bones, but I did go through several years of pain in my joints. I am much better now thanks to my wife's studying diet and urging me to reform my eating habits. But the experience of daily pain in my joints has given me a good understanding of what this means. When your bones hurt, everything you do is painful. Bumping into things is painful, falling is painful, walking is painful, even sleep is painful. When I went through those years of pain I found that I even tended to slow down my driving for fear of getting bumped. A physically, mentally and spiritually weak wife, makes for a shameful and painful life.
As we approach Mother's Day 2017, I thank God for the strong women in my life. I have the pleasure of knowing a good number of them. I thank God for my mother who is still such a strengthening force in my life. I thank God for my wife that is such a competent manager of our home. She works diligently on a daily basis and has given me six wonderful children that are my treasure and joy. I also want to thank God for the many women I have the pleasure of knowing who live truly sacrificially. Mothers who put their God and family before their own selves are worthy of honor and praise!
Proverbs 31:10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies...26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I don't know if I could do it! I don't know if you could do it.
Say that you were in line to be the President of the company that you worked for. The boss was your dad, and it was the "next step" for you to take over and run the enterprise when the "old man" stepped down or died.
Then someone came on the scene who was the most capable person that you had ever met! His talent seemed unlimited! His strength of character was impeccable! And he was your best friend! Not just an acquaintance, but this man completely stole your heart, and it was a friendship unlike any you had ever known! Though you were older and more experienced in the business, you felt that he was your leader. There was no competition between you: just a real and lasting brotherly friendship such as you had never known.
But suddenly your father took an intense dislike of your friend! He said that he literally hated him and wished him dead! The father's will was to put your friend on a "hit list"! And that is when you knew that your dad was intent in his purpose. You took action, and sent your friend away to save his life! You knew that somehow, someday he would be back, running the company, but you did not care as long as he was safe. With great sadness you saw your friend walk away.
This is a fabricated story that tells of self denial and true self sacrifice. This is the ultimate test of love: denying your will and even your life if it comes to that. This fictitious scenario is well illustrated in the Bible Book of I Samuel, chapter 20 in the story of Jonathan's great friendship and self-sacrifice of his own future. Jonathan was King Saul's son, first in line to the throne of Israel. Jonathan was a seasoned soldier who saw an amazing young shepherd boy kill the giant Goliath with one stone from his shepherd's sling! Jonathan was there when David played the harp to soothe the mental affliction that his father suffered. He became fast friends with David, and verse 17 says that Jonathan "loved him (David) as his own soul." Knowing that David had to flee for his life, Jonathan assisted David in his escape. Saul was very angry at his son saying, (verse30) "You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die."
That's when Jonathan decided to send his friend away!
The New Testament gives us another picture of self sacrifice for a dearly beloved son. It is The ultimate sacrifice of God the Creator who gave His only Son as the supreme sacrifice for our souls! What love was this that loved us enough to send Christ into the world! What hate nailed that Perfect One to a cross, with the violent haters yelling, "We will not have this man to rule over us!" What revulsion at the scene when He breathed His last, and the earth quaked, the Temple veil was rent apart, and the darkness covered the land at the unholy sight. But then, on the third day, what incredible power rolled the stone away from the tomb, and Christ came out of that tomb, fully and eternally alive!
He did this for you and me! Not because of the blood of lambs or goats! But only the precious blood of the Sinless Savior, Jesus the Christ! The Great Love, inestimable in scope, is our hope for today, tomorrow, and forever!
If you do not know Him as your Savior, do not wait a moment longer! Ask, Seek, Knock until your heart knows that He is your own! Repent of your sins and turn your life over to the Savior! What we can never do for ourselves, or for that matter, for any other living soul, is to really save them! But when we give our heart, soul, spirit and strength unto Him, He is well able to save us! Can you do it? Will you do it? Come as you are! And leave as Redeemed!
(Get into God's Holy Word and read it for yourself! Let the beauty of the Word fill your heart and mind! It will be sweeter than honey or the honeycomb! It will be the scent of roses in May! It will be the brightest dawn that you will ever see! And the most glorious sunset that the world has known! Life! Breathe life and live through the Word of God!)