Obedient Child

By Sylvia Bambola Monday, 17 September 2012 15:42:00

As we continue following the footsteps of Jesus we next see him in Luke 2:21-52 (Amplified) being brought to Jerusalem by his parents when he is eight days old in order to be circumcised and dedicated to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. While there, a man named Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, takes Jesus in his arms and praises God for allowing him to see the Savior before he dies, the one who would be a Light to the Gentiles and bring “praise and honor and glory” to Israel. On the heels of that, the prophetess Anna, a widow for 84 years who never left the temple, also begins thanking God and talking about Jesus as the “redemption of Jerusalem.” By these two prophets, God makes it very clear that His mercy would extend to Jews and Gentiles both. And this on top of all the other wonderful revelations we’ve had about Jesus prior to His conception and at the time of His birth. So, before Jesus even utters one word, God has already openly and powerfully declared to the world Who He is and what His mission would be.

It’s interesting that our next encounter with Jesus is when he’s twelve years old and in Jerusalem with his family for the Feast of Passover, the time when Jews celebrate their deliverance from Egypt (a symbol of the world and sin) after they had applied the blood of a spotless lamb to their doorpost and lintels in Goshen so that the angel of death would pass over them on the way to slay all the first born in the land (Exodus 12:1-41). Numbers in the Bible mean something so we need to pay attention to the fact that it points out that Jesus was twelve. That Greek word for twelve is dodeka, and literally means two and ten, and gives us a wonderful picture. While the number two speaks of the duality of Jesus as 100% God and 100% man, the number ten speaks of Divine order, perfection, nothing wanting, and the law; thus illustrating that Jesus, the God-Man, was to be God the Father’s perfect fulfillment of the law and answer to the sin problem. As the spotless lamb chosen “from the foundation of the world,” Jesus’s blood is to be applied to the doorposts and lintels of our hearts that we, too, can be delivered from sin, and pass from spiritual death into eternal life

But what else can we glean from this story? Well, when the feast is over the family begins their return trip to Nazareth thinking Jesus is somewhere among the caravan. After they discovered He isn’t, they return to Jerusalem and find Him in the temple, listening to and questioning the teachers and astonishing them with His “intelligence and understanding and His replies.” When His parents confront Him, He answers, “How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary as a duty for Me to be in My Father’s house and occupied about My Father’s business?”

At twelve it is very clear Jesus is so exceptional that He dazzles the rabbis in the temple. It is also obvious that He not only knows who He is, but knows He’s on assignment from His Father, God. Yet knowing all this, Luke goes on to say that Jesus then returns with his parents to Nazareth and is “habitually obedient to them.”

Think of that! Jesus—whom the angels had already declared as God, Savior, King, Creator, then two prophets further proclaim Him as Light to the Gentiles and redeemer of Jerusalem/Israel—shows up in the temple at Passover, the very Lamb of God, but a lamb not yet ready to be sacrificed. And after blowing the minds of the learned rabbis, He returns home to a small inconsequential town where He learns carpentry and is “habitually obedient” to his parents. And while there, verse 52 tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Two things amaze me. One is how much God revealed about Jesus well before Jesus began His earthly ministry, and how detailed these revelations are. God certainly wasn’t trying to keep it a secret! The second is that God would endure the obscurity of a backwater town; would labor in meekness for and in habitual obedience to beings (no matter how wonderful) He Himself created. It all shows how much God wants us to know and understand who Jesus is, and how wonderful God is, too, for He did not think it abhorrent to walk and work among us; and in essence show us how to live.

Until next time,




God Can . . .

By Sylvia Bambola Monday, 10 May 2010 11:11:00

I love scriptures that declare God’s greatness and what He can do. One of my favorites is, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph 3:20 KJ)  Yes, God is able.  He’s able to do anything.  So why doesn’t He?  Why are there times that we think we hear from God, move out on His word, and then…nothing?


Years ago God spoke to me about writing a novel for the secular world. There was no doubt in my mind that it was God even though He sounded nothing like Cecil B. DeMille. So, for two years I worked feverishly until finally the great American novel was ready.  I had amassed a list of all the publishers I planned to favor with my submission.  There was no stopping me now.  After all, God said!  One last edit. then off to glory.  As I sat curled on the couch rereading my manuscript for the hundredth time, a miracle happened.  Scales started falling from my eyes like tears.  In fact, I began to cry as I saw, for the first time, how truly horrible my writing was.  It was stilted, cliched, and…boring.


“What happened, Lord?” I asked.  The answer came back, gentle, patient, “You never consulted Me.”  Never once had I prayed before writing nor asked the Lord’s direction.  The rolled manuscript made a nice size log and as I watched the fire disintegrate it and the two years of hard work it represented, I learned a valuable truth:  God can…if we partner with Him.


Two more years of hard work produced a second manuscript, with each and every page a work of prayer.  This time there was no long list of publishers I would favor, only a handful I had wrenched in prayer. Still, instead of receiving letters of interest, one rejection slip after another filled my mail box. Then a small Christian organization that had nothing to do with publishing got hold of my manuscript and wanted to publish it. Now I was getting somewhere!  I ignored a nagging check in my spirit.  I was impatient for results.  Four years of work and nothing to show for it was four years too long as far as I was concerned.  Impatience is a slippery slope and I had started on a disappointing ride. The book was amateurishly published, stocked on only one Christian bookstore’s shelf because someone knew a friend of a friend, and there it proceeded to collect dust.


“What happened, Lord?” I asked.  “Didn’t I tell you this was for the secular world?” came a still, small voice. And what could I say in return? I had failed to follow God’s leading.  Now it was too late to do anything with this print version. The typeset was bad, so was the layout, plus it lacked an ISBN and Library of Congress number, without which it could never compete in the secular marketplace. As I dragged twenty cartons of books to the curb for garbage pick-up, I learned another hard lesson. God can…if we are obedient.


Another six years came and went as I waited and prayed for the Lord’s timing and direction.  I was determined not to move out prematurely.  Finally, the word came:  I was to publish a revised edition of the novel myself!  I could hardly believe my ears.  In fact, I didn’t believe them. I didn’t want to. That’s not how it was supposed to be.  I wanted simple-easy, not complicated-hard.  “But I know nothing about the publishing business,” I wailed.  “Learn,” was the reply. 


For the next year I studied, learned, worked.  Often I put in 12 to 14-hr days.  Finally, the manuscript was tuned into a hardcover book.  Then another year of studying, learning, working to market it.  It was the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life.  As the book orders came in I was stunned.  Instead of the hundreds I envisioned, they were onesy-twoseys.  This continued for months.  Inside, emotions were building.  I began to feel tired, depressed, discouraged.  It was only a matter of time before I would have a show-down with God.  Like the dike that could no longer be plugged, my thin veneer of self-control ruptured.  “Haven’t I prayed and sought Your Face?  Haven’t I tried to obey You in everything?” I grumbled.  I felt let-down, abandoned.  “You said!” I whined, trying to drive the point home, and show God how unfair He had been.  Self-pity has it own momentum and I was on a roll.  “You…You disappointed me!” I continued, forgetting the thousand times I had disappointed Him.


What happened during the next hours, days and weeks was miraculous.  Circumcision was going on, surgery of the most delicate nature, as God patiently and lovingly began to show me how His yardstick for success was totally different from the world’s measure.  As I lay prostrate on the floor before Him, I began to understand that we will never totally understand His master plan.  And then it didn’t seem so important anymore to have to.  What difference did it make if I sold one book or one million?  That was God’s department.  My part was to simply obey and let Him use the fruit of my obedience in any way He saw fit.  It was then that I submitted it all to Him.  I forgot my preconceived ideas.   It was His.  He was Lord.  Period.  Another lesson had been learned.  God can…if we are submitted.


After looking back at the those years I see something else too.  God has.  God has been working, pruning, refining.  While I have been concentrating on the here and now, He has been patiently doing kingdom work in me, the benefits of which will be harvested throughout eternity.  Now what is more important than that?  And isn’t that just like God?  To do more than we could ask, or think or hope?


Until next week,