ADOPTION (Part 2 of 4)

Esther was a Jewish orphan adopted by her uncle before the Jews were carried into Babylonian captivity. Eventually, she became the queen of Persia (Esther 2:7). Her Persian name, Esther, means star, the planet Venus. Hadassah, her Hebrew name, means myrtle, a flower.

Esther is best known as the heroine of the Old Testament book named for her. She was the niece of Mordecai, a servant of Ahasuerus, whose queen she became after Vashti’s banishment for disobedience. Using her influence as queen, Esther managed to avert the persecution of the Jews planned by Haman (Esther 2:7 to Est. 9:32).

FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

The book of Esther and the book of Ruth are two books in the Bible that bear the names of Hebrew women. While the book of Ruth begins and ends in poverty, the book of Esther begins with all the splendor of the kingdom of Persia. Persia was the wealthiest nation ever to exist in the history of the world, and Nebuchadnezzar had carried the Jews away from Jerusalem to be bondmen in foreign lands. According to Jeremiah, Jerusalem became a land of desolation (Jer. 9:9-11; Jer. 25:10-11). Esther, the heroine, is first seen as a lowly orphan child brought up by an uncle; yet, to the spiritual eye, she rises to a position of power and service to her people because God put her there for His work among the good figs.

When Esther lacked courage to put her life in the balances in order to save her people, Mordecai used the phrase, “…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14). Yet for all the work given to Esther, if she had not cooperated with God’s plan to do it the way He wanted it to be done, He would have raised up another deliverer from another place and destroyed both her and her house (Est. 4:14).

In addition to Esther’s love and respect for her adoptive uncle, consider a few other important facts associated with this short book:

  • Esther is apparently the only Jewess ever to sit on a foreign throne.
  • Training in respect for her “parents” manifests itself in Esther’s respect for and obedience to Mordecai in spite of her position as queen.
  • We also see that Esther had respect for her husband and the laws of the land even though she was doing her best to find a way to repeal the unfair law that would destroy her people.
  • The accuracy of the accounts of the Persian Empire and its palaces and rules is unsurpassed in secular history.
  • Ahasuerus also, known as Artaxerxes, in secular history for anyone who doubts the authenticity of the account.
  • The Jewish Feast of Purim gains credibility under the Hebrew Old Testament Law because of the explanation found in the book of Esther.
  • “Pur” from which the word Purim comes, means “a lot.” The lot was cast to see which would be the most favorable day for the Jews to stand against their enemies.
  • Even today the Jews respect the “law” given by Esther to remember the Feast of Purim on the fourteenth and fifteenth of March (Est. 9:32).

Did Mordecai tell Esther that she alone could save the Jews (Esther 4:14)? Some men preach that God cannot get his work done unless we do it.  They say, “God has no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet . . . ,” etc. Read (Isa. 55:10-11 and Luke 19:35-40).

ONE LAST EXAMPLE OF ADOPTION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:

King Saul originally promised to give his elder daughter, Merab, to David, but later he gave Merab to Adriel the Meholathite. After David’s success in battle against the Philistine giant Goliath, King Saul became jealous and therefore connived to destroy David through a marriage to his younger daughter Michal (1 Sam. 14:49). When he invited David to marry Michal, David replied, “I am a poor and lightly esteemed man”, meaning that he was unable to provide a bride price. King Saul offered to accept the foreskins of 100 Philistines for his daughter’s hand in marriage. David immediately killed 200 Philistines, and brought double the number of foreskins to Saul.

Later, we see Michal’s compassionate heart when she chose the welfare of David over the wishes of her father. When Saul’s messengers searched for David in order to kill him, Michal sent them away while saying he was ill and laid up in bed. After Saul’s men left, she let David down through a window and arranged a ‘body’ in his bed as a decoy.

While David hid from King Saul for his life, Saul gave Michal as a wife to Palti, son of Laish. Later, when David became king of Judah and Michal’s brother, Ishbosheth, assumed kingship over the rest of the nation of Israel, David and Ishbosheth made peace, but one condition of peace was that Ishbosheth return his wife Michal. Ishbosheth complied, despite the public protests of Palti. David had indeed paid the bride price twofold for Michal.

After Michal returned to David, she despised him in her heart (1 Chr. 15:29) when he supposedly danced naked (unclothed), while he and the priests were bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:14). Actually, David wore an ephod like the priests wore and thus was not literally naked. David rebuked Michal, and she never bore children until the day she died (2 Sam. 6:20-23). Nevertheless, she was still mother to her sister Merab’s children (2 Samuel 21:8). During that time, Michal had showed great compassion in ‘adopting’ her older sister Merab’s five sons for her. Merab’s husband was Adriel (1 Sam. 18:17-19; 2 Sam 21:8). Nothing is recorded to explain why Merab did not raise her own children, but likely, she had died.

The account has a very sad ending for Michal, when the Lord required David to take vengeance on King Saul’s house because he broke Joshua’s covenant with the Gibeonites by killing many of them. The Gibeonites required the seven of King Saul’s grandchildren be hung.  Thus David was required to take “… the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.”  After that God was entreated for the land and removed the famine (2 Samuel 21:1-4).

ADOPTION (Part 1 of 4)

IN THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES, WHERE IS THE FIRST INDICATION OF CHILDREN BEING ADOPTED?

“And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir” (Genesis 15:3).

LATER WE SEE CLEAR EXAMPLES OF ADOPTIONS IN OTHER PASSAGES.

In an all-time irony of how the LORD works his purpose (Rom. 8:2829), Moses the savior of the Jewish people, was reared in the house of the enemy of the Jews. Moses was the son of Amram and Yochebed of the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe. Miriam and Aaron were his brother and sister. He was born in Egypt during the period in which the Israelites (Hebrews) had become a threat to the Egyptians simply because of their large population. The Pharaoh had ordered that all newborn male Hebrew children be cast into the Nile to drown. Two things would be accomplished by this action: 1. The murder of the Hebrew male children would diminish that nation. 2. The Nile River god would accept the sacrifice at the same time.

Amram and Yochebed took their newborn son, placed him in a waterproof basket and hid him in the tall grasses of the Nile. Meanwhile, his sister Miriam hid and watched over the baby from a distance. A group of women and their servants were bathing nearby. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him when he was just three months old. Moses’ parents did not want to give their child to the Egyptian princess, but if they had tried to keep him, they knew he would have died because of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s decree, that no Hebrew male child could live. The Pharaoh’s daughter, hearing the baby cry, found and rescued him. She named him “Moses,” meaning, “drawn from the water.” Her desire for a son fulfilled, she made certain that he had the best of everything, including education (Exo. 2:1-10 KJV).

Moses was brought up in the splendor of the Egyptian court as the Pharaoh’s daughter’s adopted son. Grown to manhood, he was aware of his Hebraic roots and shared a deep compassion for his oppressed relatives. He became furious while witnessing an Egyptian master brutally beating a Hebrew slave, and he impulsively killed the Egyptian. Fearing the Pharaoh’s punishment, he fled into the desert of Midian, becoming a shepherd for Jethro, a Midianite priest whose daughter Zipporah he later married. While tending the flocks on Horeb Mountain in the wilderness, he saw a bush burning yet not turning to ash. He heard a voice from within the bush telling him that he had been chosen to serve as one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. God told Moses to declare the unity of God to his people. At that time most Israelites were worshipping the many gods of the Egyptians. Moses was to tell them that there was only one God (Exo. 3:12-15).

The tremendous responsibility of Moses’s task, his feeling of inadequacy because of his own position as a shepherd, and his inability to speak well, brought forth a hesitancy and lack of confidence. The Divine answer was “Who made man’s mouth?” He was then assured that Aaron, his brother, could speak well and would serve as his spokesman both to the children of Israel and to the Pharaoh. The promised destination for the Israelites’ journey was a “land flowing with milk and honey.”

What was the “time” in which Moses was born? What political events had transpired? Stephen in Acts 7:1-60 gives those details precisely.

“But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live 20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: 21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:17-22 KJV).

What cruelties did the children of Israel endure at the hands of the Egyptians?

“…. And they (the Israelite slaves) met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all” (Exo. 3:6-9Exo. 5:6-23 KJV).

ULTIMATELY, MOSES REJECTED HIS ADOPTIVE FAMILY. CONSIDER FOR A MOMENT TWO REASONS FOR HIS ACTIONS.

  1. Is there any reason to believe Moses disliked his adopted family?
  2. Had he been abused or neglected?
  3. Did he want to leave Egypt for material advantage?
  4. Why did Moses choose to leave Egypt?
  5. Did he know he was adopted and simply want to go back to his own people?
  6. What was the stated reason for his rejecting his adoptive family?

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:24-25 KJV).

He first chose God’s people because of the Egyptian slave driver, who made him to flee from Egypt into the land of Midean. Later, Moses deliberately chose his people because they were God’s people. God planned to bring the Christ through the nation of Israel.  He must have learned from God himself about the eternal reward God had for his people or he would not have had respect unto the recompense of the reward.

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

by Lisa Wingate

This is a novel of intrigue and heartbreaking injustice, based on the real-life scandal of a Memphis, TN adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the United States. It involves a family of wealth and privilege coming to terms with a buried secret that is revealed when the daughter of a US Senator has a chance encounter with an elderly woman she’s never met before. This encounter leaves her deeply shaken and takes her on a journey through a history of stolen children and illegal adoptions. This is both a sad and uplifting tale that reminds us that the heart never forgets where we belong.

See also: STORY OF LOST FRIENDS

Disclaimer: I have taken the time to read both these books as far as was possible online. The first book does expose a particularly evil adoption scheme out of Knoxville, Tennessee, and I would agree that those children would have memories that make them love and want to reunite with biological family.

However, there are other ways of adopting children. About a year and a half into our marriage, we adopted Denise, a young Native American girl, when she was almost ten.  Because of the filth and disease found where she lived, Government welfare officials had raided the family home and actually burned it to the ground while a fire marshal and the police chief watched. Our son Brett was just six months old at that time. The welfare representative who asked for help with Denise said she must live separately from her siblings because of her cruelty to and domination of them.  She was third in line of seven. Did we or DSS even consider that she might also be cruel to Brett? We had asked to adopt at least one other sibling to make her adjustment to our family easier.  Being almost ten that summer, she had learned many things from the “streets.” Besides having a severe personality disorder and low IQ, she and several siblings tested positive for TB and more than one STD.  She gave us joy at times, but also made our lives miserable at other times. We endured because we wanted to fulfil our part of helping her to grow and change if we could. We were young and naïve back then.

Other children came to us via the Welfare system— several hundred different ones over the years, as I remember.  We never took money to take care of them.  What we did, we did for the love of children.  Some stayed two or three days until they could find a mother or someone else in charge, while others stayed longer. We got along well with all of them. We even kept a teen-aged boy named Harley, who was convicted of attempted murder of his father and uncle. The welfare system wanted him to stay until he graduated from 12th grade so he could have “good school memories.” Because he was an Episcopal child, he would later go from us to another state to live with an Episcopal Priest. That was a while before there was much controversy about such arrangements.

Then after our daughter Ferah was born, I miscarried four babies during my third month of pregnancy. One doctor counseled us to wait for seven years and then perhaps my body would have recovered enough to carry another child.  Meantime a doctor friend of ours in India, P.J. Alexander, said that a baby boy had been born in his hospital and was available for adoption. He asked if we wanted him. His mother was a friend of their family and had become pregnant while she was away in college. The family was RCC, so there was no thought of abortion like Hindu families do. He became our Matthew of course. We accepted him sight unseen, knowing that we would trust God to give us a child that would be for our good and his. Courts in India approved the adoption and a Texas Senator helped us to secure a visa for your entry into the United States.  I was already a few months pregnant with Isharah when we agreed to adopt him, but that did not deter our resolve to continue. Several tried to discourage us in that decision, but my answer was always, “How would I be different than the first mother who rejected him?” We have never been sorry for that decision.

Can you see why I would be so opposed to having any child read only one side of the adoption story?  Nevertheless, there are those who will whisper in an adopted child’s ear and say, “They really are not your people.”

Even though some may have said that to our Matthew, I think he knew he belonged forever. Colin Kaepernick is an example of an adopted child who rejected his Caucasian parents for fame and for “the current cause.”

The second book, STORY OF LOST FRIENDS, fosters hatred and prejudice against one ethnic group in particular like nothing else I have seen. It also encourages the uneducated and ignorant woke culture and their mentors today to keep on beating that same drum. Humanist authors are chosen well and are great at presenting one side of a story in order to convert—much like the liberal media does.

No matter what the topic, there are always at least two sides. My Facebook entry about slavery (https://helpmeettohim.org/2017/01/28/slavery/) shows that there were other nations and other ethnic groups that endured unmerciful treatment as slaves at the hands of evil men.

It would be good to research Texas history and a man named Colin McKinney (see also that Colin McKinney is listed in Restoration Leaders) as a possible slave owner. There seems to be ample proof that his slaves begged to come back to his home place to live and work for wages, after the war (testimony that he was not a brutal boss). There were others in Texas who related accounts of the same arrangement.  You might research poverty in general, after the Civil War. In addition, there is plenty of history to say the South withdrew from the Union, NOT because of slavery, but because of States Rights.  Study about Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the first shots fired there. Slavery was really not the issue as many in the Union army owned slaves.

Child labor laws were not a southern issue. Those laws were passed for two primary reasons:

  1. Manufacturing companies in the North offered cheap labor for immigrants and their families, but most Americans considered long hours of child labor abusive.
  2. John Dewey wanted kids in public schools all day for their humanist indoctrination.

Study the inventions of Eli Whitney and see how the form (dye) for making guns in assembly line fashion plus his invention of the cotton gin really set up the country for a Civil War.

So much more could be said about all this, but I’m working on ADOPTION (part two), which is based in scripture.

Beth

RETURNING EVIL FOR GOOD

How does God view those who return evil for good? 

Returning evil for evil is a natural response for most men. God requires a higher standard of his children, commanding us not even to return evil for evil (1 Thess. 5:15).

In fact, we are commanded to return good for evil even to our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45), and in so doing, overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

On the other hand there are those whose hearts are ready to return evil for good. The Lord warns those who return evil for good that “evil shall not depart from his house” (Pro. 17:13).

Another kind of heart feels fully justified in speaking evil of what they do not understand (2 Pet. 2:12). The Jews in Ephesus believed they were fully justified in teaching the Law, but they did not understand either what they said or what they affirmed (1 Tim. 1:7).

Still others speak evil of God’s favored and anointed. David was plagued with this kind of people. “False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. 12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul” (Psa. 35:11).

David, on the other hand genuinely loved the souls and testified that “…when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting and my prayer returned into my own bosom.” David further testified:

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. 15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: 16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth (Psa. 35:14-16).

Though we may think that David had an easy and prosperous life in killing Goliath and winning all the battles, nevertheless, he testified that many spoke against him.

For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. 4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. 5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. 6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. 7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin (Psa. 109:2-7).

David comforted himself by his faith in God. First he describes those who love evil and then declares God’s judgment on those same souls.

Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp rasor, working deceitfully. 3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. 4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. 5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah” (Psa. 52:2-5).

The prophet Isaiah warned those who perverted judgment. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isa. 5:20-21).

Is it possible to know the real hearts of these people? Jesus declared:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (Matt. 7:16-18).

God promises to judge us by our words.

36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).

He encourages us to turn away from evil to do good and promises: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Pet. 3:10-11).

He warns us that those who hate cover their hatred with good words.

24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. (Proverbs 26:24-26)

Again our Heavenly Father warns us about gossips. Those who flatter us are likely to be the same ones who are speaking perverse things behind our backs.

19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips (Proverbs 20:19).

What should we be doing?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

If we are truly pleasing to God, we will have a tongue that is choice silver. “The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom” (Pro. 10:20-21).

We should never be like the person whose tongue is like the piercings of a sword.  “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. 19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Pro. 12:18-19).

Do we want to have a wholesome tongue?  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Pro. 15:4).  “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. 24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath” (Pro. 21:23-24). “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Pet. 3:10).

–Beth Johnson

Women’s Studies

Muliebral Viewpoint

Articles and Books by Beth Johnson

HELP FOR OUR HUMAN FRAILTIES

In Mark 9:14-29, we read of the boy that Jesus healed, who had a deaf and dumb spirit and who often had fits.  Jesus asked the father whether he believed the boy could be healed and the father cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Words could not express that piercing emotion—that deep-seated need for help to overcome his human frailties.

I have often thought of the pitiful concubine in Judges 19 whose frailties caused her to run away from her husband and back to her home.  In her father’s house she had affection and familiar things that made life easier, but the Lord says she was unfaithful.

Did she make vows when her father sold her?

What happened that caused her to run away?

We are not told those things, but we know she was at least “unfaithful” to the covenant her father made with her new owner.

She did not run off with a lover.

She ran home!

Not only did she lack faith, but she also was not submissive.   Judges 19:2 says, “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah and was there four whole months.”

Those strong words define the frailties that made up her character.

On the other hand, Sarah was blessed to have a “familiar friend” and a brother who became her husband. The new land and the people were strange to her, but her husband was the solid rock that brought her through it all.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

THIS is yet another reason why one’s life companion must be chosen carefully and must be a disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 6:4). Many young people find someone who is “in the church,” but fail to realize that not all church members are children of God (Matt. 13:38-40).