Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sheerah who -- did what?
1Chr. 7:24 His daughter was Sheerah, who built both Lower and Upper Beth-horon, and Uzzen-sheerah.
Ephraim and his family had been attacked by the people of Gath and many of them killed. Ephraim was horribly grieved by the attacks on his family and the loss of life. He has a son after the attacks whom he names Beriah, "because disaster had befallen his house." But out of the disaster comes a daughter who learns something from this experience. You don't have to sit around and be the victim over and over again. It was time to get the family out of the tents and sitting as targets before their enemies. It was better to live in cities with walls around them for protection. She has a plan that she believes will help her family and so she takes action. This girl oversees the construction of three cities. No, they are not major cities, but they are cities non-the-less and provide protection for a family that has faced much destruction. Three cities are built and one is named for her, "Uzzen-sheerah."
Sheerah, or Sarah, is an unusual woman who is tucked away in this one simple verse of the Bible. There is really no reason that a woman should be listed here as a city builder! First off, she was a woman!!! Women didn't do these kinds of things. Women were not construction workers or leaders who would help their community plan a project like this. However, not only did she help to plan one city -- she built three of them! Secondly, she came from a tradition of nomadic tent-dwellers. Why would she even be creative enough to come up with a plan for a city?
All we know about Sheerah is what is written in these brief words and yet they truly are remarkable words. They can inspire each and every one of us to think and to pray about the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I'd like to believe that Sheerah called on God in the midst of adversity and he gave her the strength and the courage to go out and do something that was beyond the imagination of those around her. Can you imagine the response of her family to her leadership in building three towns? I'm guessing the first time around there may have been skepticism but then, seeing that her work would save the family from future attacks, they were willing to trust her for future endeavors, and built two additional cities.
What might God be calling us to do? Do we allow cultural norms to keep us from being radically obedient followers of Jesus Christ? Is it more comfortable to fit into the expectations of others, rather than doing something that may be beyond everyone's imagination?
We are blessed to live in a day and age where many of societal barriers have been destroyed and yet we may not respond to the threats around us in the way that God intends. Today there are many marginalized people in the world who need men and women to stand up to the threats and take action to protect those who are weak. What will we, as followers of Christ, do to keep them safe? Are we willing to do something as radical as stepping out of our comfort zone, facing ridicule and criticism, and build the walls of safety that they need? God can use us to do unusual things because he is all powerful. Remember, it's not about us, its about him -- and he can do all things! Let's not be afraid of what God might want to do through us.
Lord, help me not to be afraid to build cities or walls or anything else you may challenge me to do for you in this life. Amen.