The Earth Trembles: When a Maidservant Displaces her Mistress

displaces her mistress

displaces her mistressProverbs and the earth trembling

Proverbs  tells us that there are three, yes, four things that cause the earth to tremble. The first one is a slave who becomes king. The second one is a fool when he is filled with food. The third one is  unloved woman when she gets a husband.

Last but not least, Proverbs lists a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. It does not work for two women to want the love of one man. This causes conflict among the women and thus dissension with them and the husband. We see that with Jacob, his two wives, and their maidservants. It affected the twelve sons born by these four women,who were the mothers of the Children of Israel. That conflict passed through their families and continues today.

We also see this with Abram, Sarai and Hagar. God promised Abram and Sarai a son in their old age. He assured them that nothing was too hard for Him. Sarai took matters into her own hands, and Abram went along with her plan. Hagar became a surrogate mother for them. Only things didn’t pan out the way Sarai intended. That’s where their story comes into this play.

Thousands of years ago, the older woman Sarai “gave” her Egyptian servant to her husband Abraham. Because she was not able to conceive, Sarai wanted to have a child through her maidservant. Abraham consented. Hagar became pregnant and had a child.

That is when trouble started, at least for Hagar. The problem was not what happened to her, but her response when she was wronged. This maidservant displaced her mistress.

displaces her mistressHagar displaces her mistress

This story gets me every time. Sarai connived to have the promised son through her maidservant. God specifically told Abram he would have a son in his old age, and Sarai apparently thought God needed help to complete the plan. She decided that her maidservant would bear a child for her. Sarai made a human attempt to implement the promise of God. She was out of her league and out of line.

Sarai’s reasoning was, “The Lord has prevented me from bearing children.” She had her reasons, but they were wrong.  Instead of doing the right thing, Abram consented. He was just as wrong. He was the leader in the relationship, but he allowed Sarah’s influence and badgering to get to him; he cavesd, had sex with the maidservant, and a child was conceived. The trouble really started with this couple, not with Hagar. The real conflict developed with Hagar’s response.

Scripture says when Hagar realized she had conceived, she looked with contempt on Sarai. I understand Hagar’s feelings and the temptation. She was used and abused. The conception of her child was done with no respect to her or her body. The child was not even going to be “hers” because it was going to be Sarai’s child. She was merely a surrogate mother without her consent. How fair is that?!

Sarai saw Hagar’s disdain and talked accusingly to Abram. He gave Sarai permission to do whatever she wanted to do with this person of property. Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar and the pregnant slave woman fled from her mistress. I can’t say that I blame her.

The rest of the story

God met Hagar and told her to go back to her mistress and be submissive. He promised that her son would father a great nation. She did not have a choice in the naming of her baby. Abram named him Ishmael. It has been said that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Many are the times I failed in the response department, and this was a time Hagar failed as well. Ishmael became the father of an Arab tribe, the Ishmaelites. Abraham always considered Ishmael his son, even though he was not the promised son.

It is apparent that Ishmael and Isaac did not have a close relationship. Their descendants are not in harmony with each other today. The conflict started when Sarai stepped out of line with her maidservant. Then Hagar displaced her mistress, which caused more problems. The boys did not have a good sibling relationship, and it started with their mothers.

How different things could be today had the events in this story not happened as they did. When we can trace the heartache and discord from thousands of years ago, we cannot deny that the earth trembles when a maidservant displaces her mistress.

maidservant despises her mistress


Photo credits: Andrea Rau/FreeBibleimages; Hans Braxmeier



The Earth Trembles: an Unloved Woman When She gets a Husband

unloved woman

unloved womanProverbs and the unloved woman who gets a husband

Proverbs  tells us that there are three, yes, four things that cause the earth to tremble. The first one is a slave who becomes king. The second one is a fool when he is filled with food. This week, we talk about the third one: an unloved woman when she gets a husband.

Many versions use different names for “unloved” in verse 23. Some of these are: bitter, contemptable, unloved, and odious (extremely unpleasant). Other verses cross-referenced use terms such as: brawling and contentious.

My first thoughts when reading this were, “But of course she’s a difficult person to live with; she is an unloved woman.” Yet, as I looked deeper, I found that the implication is she was unloved before and after her marriage because of her lack of character and pleasantness.

Nobody likes to be around a cantankerous child or adult. There’s something about being around a cantankerous woman that’s downright annoying, unpleasant, and despicable.  Charles Swindoll says, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond.”

Most of us know folks who grew up in the same home, yet their responses made them either better persons or bitter persons. There is no way getting around it: we can’t blame anyone else for our attitude because we dress ourselves in our attitude. Even if you are an unloved woman, there is no reason to punish everyone else.

There are people I avoid because of their attitude. They are miserable and are out to make certain everyone else is miserable, too. You know those folks. You might even be one of those folks, some days.

unloved womanThe earth trembles at the constant dripping

There are women I’ve done my best to stay away from. Some of them were coworkers.  Some were extended family members. Everyone had to tiptoe around them to keep the peace. When we had to be around the person, we kept the contact as minimal as possible because we didn’t want to stir up a volcano. She brought her problems to work and made everyone suffer because of her contentiousness. It was her way or the highway, and anyone who dared to suggest a different road paid for it the rest of the day.

Proverbs talks about women who are like this. It’s better, Proverbs says, to live on the corner of a roof than with a brawling woman in a wide house. There’s not enough room for her contentiousness, that’s what Proverbs says. So just get out of the way. Crawl up on the roof so you can have your peace instead of sharing space with this unloved woman!

That dripping faucet is like a contentious woman, Proverbs says. A constant dripping on a rainy day is just like a contentious woman. What a reputation to have!

When a woman is single, her brawling affects herself. When she has a husband and a family, she can change the atmosphere for her spouse and  her children. That contentiousness is fed into her kids and they assume that is the way a person should act and live. No wonder the earth trembles when an unloved woman gets a husband.

Checking your cantankerousness

  • Do you enjoying knowing you can wield your power over others in your home or at work?
  • Are you guilty of  deliberately “drip, drip, dripping” your way into a situation to have it your way?
  • Do others tend to stay away from you, especially in smaller settings where there is no one to buffer them from your cantankerousness?
  • Does your spouse acquiesce to you because he knows it’s not worth the hassle to try to stand his ground?
  • Have you discovered that your spouse takes a passive role at times, just allowing you to make decisions about schedule, the kids, or the house? Could it be that you’ve taken over and he thinks it’s not worth the fight to disagree with you?
  • Do others feel comfortable to ask you to help with projects or events, or do you find that you are seldom asked?

unloved womanHeart check honesty in the unloved woman department

Most of us know where we fit in this category. It might be hard to admit, but we know. If you’re cantankerous and bitter, you know. You also know if others stay away from you instead of wanting to hang with you. When you can tell that others notice your grumpiness, bitterness, or aloofness, you decide if you want to change. A pattern of life is hard to break, but it is not impossible! It must begin in the heart.

An unloved woman can become a woman who is truly loved and enjoyed by her spouse, family, friends, and co-workers. She can go from continual dripping to bringing sunshine into the lives of those with whom she lives, works, or plays.

An unloved woman can become a woman who is loved. Her response to life’s situations will change the tenor of her home and her work environment. Her response will either build or destroy. A woman who builds her house will become a woman who is loved.

Pinterest Earth Trembles Unloved Woman



The Earth Trembles: A Fool When He is Filled with Food

fool filled with food

fool filled with foodA fool filled with food

Proverbs  tells us that there are three, yes, four things that cause the earth to tremble. The first one is a slave who becomes king. The second one is a fool when he is filled with food.

Who is a fool? A person who acts unwisely or imprudently. An imprudent person is one who does not show care for the consequences of his actions. He is rash. A rash person shows lack of care or consideration of possible consequences for his choices.  A fool is someone who does not think before he acts, does not check his tongue before he speaks, and does not care about consequences. He is selfish, unwise, and full of folly. A fool does not have good sense. He lacks common sense. He is not fun to be around or to have for a friend.

Add a full stomach to the foolish person, and you have disregard for others or their needs, disdain for those who do not have what he enjoys, and lack of care for those who are hungry or in want. This person shows selfishness and an attitude of “living it high” while he knows others are suffering. A person who exhibits selfishness in the things he desires to consume is gluttonous and unhealthy. When a person is glutted with meat or drink, it dulls his reasoning. He has little regard for the care of his body and usually ignores the dangers from what he consumes.

fool filled with foodSelfish Templeton

When I think of a foolish person with a full stomach, I remember Templeton, the rat in the story Charlotte’s Web. While people are not animals, and a foolish person is not a rat, the characteristics of this pretend rat are exactly those of a foolish person with a full stomach. Templeton is a “greedy, greedy, gluttonous, lazy, and rather selfish rat who helps Charlotte and Wilbur, only when offered food.” In the end, he helps Charlotte save Wilbur from death, but mostly because he receives food in return. Templeton was a fool filled with food.

His motive is selfish and his disdain makes the other barnyard animals dislike being with him. Templeton has abilities that he uses to help Charlotte. Yet, his goodness is hidden by his attitude and actions.

No wonder Proverbs speaks disparagingly of a fool filled with food.

The rest of the story

Who wants this type of person for a friend or an ally? This is why “the earth trembles” when a fool filled with food makes his presence known.  Discord, selfishness, and rash actions affect not only the foolish person, but others. A person with lack of self-control wrecks havoc on those around him. He affects not only his family, but his workplace, his community, his church, and his world.

A selfish person looks out only for himself in the now. A person who bases decisions on the good of the whole will be discreet and a person of self-control.  That’s the type of person we should attempt to become.

fool filled with food




The Way of a Man with a Young Maiden

man with a young maiden

way of a young manOn a young man from Proverbs

There are three things, the writer of Proverbs says, that are amazing to him – four that he does not understand. Then he lists them, one by one. The first one is “The Way of an Eagle in the Air.” You can read that here. The “Way of a Snake on a Rock” can be found here. The third one, the “Way of a Ship on the High Seas” can be read here.

The young man’s power

This is talking about courtship. When a young man courts a woman in a gentlemanly way, there is purpose and power in his actions. He woos her and allows her to learn to know who he is. The young man also learns about the young maiden. His actions tell what his true purpose is – and she learns quickly whether he wants to exploit her or endear himself to her. Nothing is as powerful to a young girl than a man who draws her out  and cherishes who she is.

way of a young manThe young man

He is young, and he is learning, but he is full of ideas and plans. Young men are dreamers (as they should be). The way of a young man is to court the young maiden. He is preparing for marriage and wants to find a princess who will become the queen in his castle. It’s romantic, and it is real when he courts her in the way he should – and the way that is desirable for her.  When his purpose and intent is pure, the relationship is beautiful, and she wants nothing more than to be with him.

Lessons from the way of a young man with a maiden

When a young man wins the heart of a maiden by the way he courts her, he will keep her heart as he continues to court her and cherish her. There is nothing a queen will not do for her king when she is treated royally and with respect and love. Their innocence is beautiful and pure. With life’s experience, the innocence is gone; but in its place is a wisdom born of years and a love that threads its way deeply in their souls. It falls upon the young man to lead the way – whether in leading, wooing, cherishing, and protecting. She will follow when he is the man he should be.

After courtship comes marriage. In  marriage, the queen will continue to follow her king when he continues “the way of a man with a young maiden.” Marriage can be the beginning – instead of the ending – of a lifetime of romance.

Pinterest The Way of a Young Man

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The Way of a Ship on the High Seas

the way of a ship

The “way of a ship” from Proverbs.

There are three things, the writer of Proverbs says, that are amazing to him – four that he does not understand. Then he lists them, one by one. The first one is “the way of an eagle in the air.” You can read that here.  The second one is “the way of a snake on a rock.” Click here to read the second part.

A ship’s power

A ship sails into storms with the bow facing forward. It is designed for give and take as it wrestles through billows and storms. Cargo ships  try to stay well offshore when there is a major storm at sea. If the ship is too close to land, the storm can drive the ship onto the land.  Brian Anderson says:

If your ship is built correctly, . . . it’ll take the beating not by force, but by a calculated give and take.

Any massive seafaring ship worth its weight in salt is designed to flex through rough waters—. . . maritime engineers and architects who build these things  . . . [do so by] . . . calculations to allow big ships to twist slowly side to side like a sea snake on Ativan, and also bow up and down (this is what’s known as hog and sag.) If not for these applied mathematicals, the vessels would literally snap apart.

A ship is built to withstand the tempests it meets. It is built to transport passengers and cargo from one shore to another. Sometimes a ship is built for the purpose of defense or protection. No matter its purpose, it must be built to withstand the waves on the oceans. When it glides across smooth waters or moves in rhythm with turbulence, it is a sight of beauty.

The way of a ship on high seas

High seas are international bodies of salt water without jurisdiction of specific countries and shores. The water is open, free, and continually moving with the ebb and flow of the tides. The way of a ship on high seas is to slice through oceans of depth, moving from one continent or country to another. It involves transfer and time. The way of a ship on high seas is to bend and move with the waves, whether they be turbulent or calm. The ship is not changed by the storms or the calm; it merely responds without flexing resistance, riding out the storms. This is how it is sustained.

Learning from a ship on high seas

Ships are designed and built to charter waters, no matter how soft or strong the gale. Ships are designed to flex through turbulence, remaining unbroken. There is power in the way the ship is built – and even more power in the way it handles itself during turbulence, using its design to move in sync with the storm instead of against the storm. We are designed to withstand turbulence because our Maker is our sustainer. Our purpose is to continue to move through chartered or unchartered waters without breaking because we bend with the wind and come out strong. By keeping the bow facing forward into the storm, we remain strong. Our course is set by the Word of God. When we follow that course, we remain safe.

way of a ship