A Blog written by Rita Edkins
A village received a message: “Get things ready and be advised, and well prepared. Be sure to be as hospitable as you can, because the King is coming. He is scheduled to arrive soon, so don’t delay. He is on His way to the great city of Jerusalem and has decided to visit your village while He undertakes this journey. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for you all! So, spread the good news so that nobody misses out on being part of this great event. Yes, the King knows that you are not of the same nationality or culture, but He still desires to make you part of His journey. He cares much for you and will bring with Him the good news of His Kingdom with miracles and signs and wonders to follow. You are receiving this message well in advance so that you can be ready and well-organised and prepared for this once-off great opportunity of meeting the King face-to-face. Just imagine, you as residents will be able to tell generations after you, that the King of all kings came to personally visit you in your own village!”
The village did get this announcement, they got their organising committee together and decided on the plan of action and what decision was best for them. Hatred and prejudice won! The village committee sent word to the King and His followers that the King should not enter their village, as He was not welcome or wanted and there was absolutely no room for His presence in their village. Neither He, the King, nor His friends were welcome at any time. Two of the Kings friends hearted of this rejection and were shocked and horrified at such a rejection of the great I Am! I can well imagine their response. It might have been something like this: Can you believe this? Can you actually imagine somebody not wanting to meet with the King? I am sure that we have heard wrong! This is simple cannot be true. Then, turning to the messenger, they might have turned back to him and said: Would you please repeat what they said? Are you absolutely sure? Did you perhaps hear incorrectly? Can you speak the language?
Now, the King had taught them previously saying that if they were the bearer of the Good News to a certain village or house and there they were not welcomed, they should simply wipe the dust off their feet and move on. This teaching was very far from their minds at this inhospitable and hostile response, After all, this was not just them that were being rejected, this was the King Himself! So, they set up their own little suggestion box before they took this dreadful news to their King. They asked the King if He perhaps remembered that wonderful incident on Mount Carmel where the Prophet Elijah called down from the heaven. Well, yes, of course He remembered the event, but why would they want to remind Him of that now? Well, King Jesus, You see here’s the thing. That village You want to visit while we are on our way to Jerusalem, well they don’t want You there! Yes, we know it’s very rude, sad and arrogant and dreadfully foolish of them, but they are adamant that You and us are not wanted there – at-all-ever. So, we’ve decided that with Your permission and great power, we can show them a thing or two about Your greatness and power. Yes, and what is your plan of action? the King might of asked. Well, we want Your permission to call down fire from heaven and burn them all up! Please, can we?
The King, as always, takes them by surprise! He turns to them and gives them a very harsh reply to what they thought was a very fair and just response to His rejection. They wanted to retaliate, but His answer came as follows, “You do not know of what sort of spirit you are, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9 : 55 and 56. Ampl. Bible
Can I in all honesty unbosom my feelings here and identify with the disciples James and John? When I come face-to-face with cruelty that is just unspeakable, I want to shout out: “Can’t you just wipe such deliberately cruel folk out, why don’t you?” But The Holy Spirit quickly comes to my rescue and puts a stop to such solutions! Shame on me! It is in moments like these that I must fall to my knees and admit and acknowledge that He is so very much higher than I am and that His ways too are so much higher than ours. The apathy of the Church of The Master gets to me, but He is the Head of this wonderful Body, while I am just a little speck.
We were at an animal rescue centre when my eyes fell on her. She was in an appalling condition. She had been severely burned; injuries covered her limbs. Her ear had been severed and her eyes held no hope. I knew that she needed us and that I needed her. I asked them to please keep her for me. I returned home, paid her ‘ransom’ and this silent, suffering, saint came home. I named her Zillah, because she was a mere shadow of what she should have been. Zillah never brayed – she dared not to. I would sit quietly in her stable and just be there with her for a while. One day she turned and came to me; close up. She smelled and eventually nuzzled my neck. We were friends. We have trust for one another. I knew that Zillah would teach me many lessons, and she did. She still does. She taught me perseverance in the face of injustice. She taught me that forgiveness is possible, even when all common sense says: no! Daily, she shows me appreciation for the gift of life. Zillah survived her past; she now lives joyfully and quietly every day.
Zillah is a donkey. She bears a cross on her back, like all Jerusalem donkeys do. Donkeys are dear to our Heavenly Father. They are mentioned in the Bible some one-hundred-and-twenty-times, I found. An international rescue organisation has determined that they are likely to be the most abused animal in the world. They don’t seem to hold much or any value in our ‘modern’ and sophisticated world. Yet, it was a donkey that carried our Saviour King to His victory.
Zillah is my unbosoming friend. Like all other donkeys, she is highly intelligent, strong and inquisitive. Donkeys are considered to be stubborn. This is not so. They are simply underestimated and misunderstood. They are, in fact, highly intelligent. They are perceived as being stubborn because when they are confronted with a new or strange situation, they first want to stop a while and assess the new situation, They then like to freeze until they have assessed the situation and while they like to simply to be given the time and opportunity to themselves to ‘think’ about how to best handle the situation. People in their impatient and cruel ways then perceive these beautiful, humble creatures as being obstinate and then beat, main or burn them into obedience. Their so-called obstinacy is actually a Creator in-bred characteristic which assists them, with their own self-preservation. They are also playful and mischievous and utterly adorable! They thrive in a peaceful way of life. So, consider the donkey – abused and misunderstood and falsely accused, like many of us.
So, when these moments of ‘calling down fire from heaven to burn them up’ thoughts come along, the lesson from the book of Jonah often springs to life and thankfully takes precedence! Jonah wanted God to wipe out the entire great city of Nineveh! Here is God’s reply: “But Nineveh has more than one-hundred-and-twenty-thousand people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” Jonah 4 : 11 NLT
When I am with Zillah and her friends, I know the truth of God’s will: “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains; Your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.” Psalm 36 : 6 NLT.
And so I unbosom myself to Him. That we may reflect Him, in my prayer.
Blog written by:
African Blessings Missions Director
Adapted from: Sitting in His presence.