Rivka is the compelling story of a first-century community experiencing the joys and sorrows that life brings. Their story demonstrates how our loving God through His Word and Holy Spirit gives us strength for the present and hope for the future. This 12-part series is designed to help women (and men) grow in their relationship with God.
【Video1】In the Family
Rivka is a friend and mentor to a family as they deal with political and personal conflict. Mariam, a young girl, and her brother Noah run to Rivka's home for help. Laila, Mariam's mother, is sick. Rivka prays to God in Jesus's name for Laila to be healed. Rivka assures Mariam that God cleanses people with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Anyone who accepts Jesus is at peace with God. Moussa, Mariam's father, comes in to check on Laila. He's disappointed to see Rivka there and tells Mariam that Rivka should go. Mariam wonders if God could accept someone so selfish. Rivka tells her the story of the prodigal son. Rivka says God receives any lost person the same way, with open arms. Rivka tries to assure Mariam that there is hope in hard times.
Mariam and her friend Daliyah visit Rivka. But Rivka and her husband fight over his work as a tax collector. Rivka apologizes and asks to walk back with Mariam.
Rivka and Sara talk while they clean wool. Sara explains that she is tired from being pregnant and she and her husband Ayoub had hoped to move closer to his family. She's frustrated because she feels stuck waiting, and far from God.
Rivka assures her that even Jesus's disciples felt alone sometimes. She mentions the time when the disciples were in a boat with Jesus. A storm came up over the lake and Jesus stayed asleep. The boat was taking on water and the disciples were about to die. So they woke Jesus up and asked if He cared about them. Jesus calmed the storm. But He rebuked them for having little faith. It was okay to be afraid. But they had doubted whether He cared for them.
Soldiers knock at the door and have a summons for Moussa. He's to report to Beirut for work. Mariam insists on taking the summons to Moussa in the fields. Sara says this is one more thing to worry about and wonders where God is in all their troubles.
Rivka uses the dirty wool to illustrate. Sara sees dirty wool now, but she also sees the beautiful rug she'll make from it. Rivka says God sees us now, but He can also see what we will be. She says Paul, an apostle of Jesus, calls us God's handiwork.
Mariam eats in the fields with Dawud. When she walks back, she spots a young man named Yacoub struggling with oxen in the field. But at home, Moussa tells her that his cousin has proposed a marriage.
She tries to tell him a marriage to Enoc wouldn't work. But he doesn't understand. When Moussa asks why, she answers that Enoc doesn't follow Jesus. Moussa gets upset and says he doesn't claim to follow Jesus either. Will she disown him too?
Laila tells Mariam the Word is their hope and nourishment. Mariam wonders how to live in faith. But Laila says God will provide that too.
Mariam is concerned because people are saying the attack may have been because they follow Jesus. Everyone must choose, like the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he had to do to get eternal life. Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him. Noura says she's heard what the town is saying but declares that she will stand with the family. Mariam says she will continue to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. Rivka and Noura talk in the courtyard. Noura says she's been thinking about Jesus and finds herself believing that Jesus is the Messiah. Rivka asks if she's ready to give her life to Jesus and follow Him.
【Video5】The Wind and the Wells
Rivka and Laila board up the well of a widow, Amira. Sara asks why Laila continues to help Amira. She and her kids keep drinking the bad water from their own well and get sick. They could come and get fresh water from the town. Rivka says they used to. But it was a lot of trouble.
Later Noura asks about the meaning of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's presence. Though they can't see Him, He's there like the wind. Noura says she doesn't feel Him all the time. But Mariam points out that if they felt Him all the time, they wouldn't really be living by faith. But that He's always there.
When Mariam walks with Rivka back toward Amira's, they talk about how drawing water from a good well or a bad well is a choice. No matter the circumstances, people can choose whether to follow the Spirit or to follow their own way.
Like the wells, we choose which nature to go to. We're able to confess our sin at the moment we're aware of it and thank God for His forgiveness. Then we can choose to surrender control of our lives to Jesus and rely, by faith, on the Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence and power.
In the midst of trials, Mariam asks Rivka how to stay calm in troubled times. She says Jesus prayed even more during tough times. Jesus was on a mountain top praying. A man brought his son to the disciples to be healed. But the disciples couldn't do it. When Jesus came down from praying, He rebuked the disciples. He said, "This kind only comes out by prayer." Rivka says spending time with God, praying, learning from His Word, seeking His will, and worshipping Him is a way of life. So when life becomes difficult, we're prepared. Spending time in prayer isn't an obligation; it's a privilege. As Rivka says, Jesus often went away to be by Himself. He set an example for His followers by spending intentional time with His Father on a regular basis. As followers of Jesus, we're assured God's peace when we pray. This is how followers of Jesus endure trials and suffering in life: communication and relationship with the One who made us and reigns sovereign over everything.
【Video7】、Friends and Enemies
A frustrated Sara talks with Rivka about her hatred for the thieves who hurt Ayoub and stole half their flock. Rivka encourages her to forgive them.
Mariam admits she hates the Romans. Rivka points out that Jesus said to love our enemies. She says forgiveness isn't a common thing in the world. And that Jesus forgave us, even while He was still on the cross.
God sets the example for us. While we were still His enemies, He did the most loving thing He could do: He sent Jesus to die for us so we could be reconciled with Him. Jesus also prays for and forgives everyone around Him as He hangs on the cross: "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing" (Luke 23:34).
There are many people in life we won't be friends with. Jesus actually promised us that as His followers, we would definitely have enemies. But like God the Father and like Jesus, we should remember to pray for them. We should forgive them because we know what real forgiveness is, thanks to God. And like everything else, we can't do any of that in our own power. We must be filled with the Spirit.
【Video8】、Cleaning the Lamps
Mariam worries about her parents and how to be a wife to Yacoub. Rivka tries to tell her that they will each grow as they submit to God. She points to the lamps they're cleaning and says they all have the same purpose: to shine. She says God thinks of us as lamps. We are to shine as God made us to shine. Rivka says she knows women that have had to shine in the darkest hours. They had to rely on God to fill them so He could shine through them. A girl's worth doesn't rely on her marriage status, instead, she should live to serve God with her gifts and talents. That's where worth is found. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can't be hidden. Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16). We're given unique personalities, desires and gifts to invest in the things God puts in our life. As stated in the parable of the talents, God expects us to use what we've been given to glorify Him.
As they prepare for Mariam's wedding, Noura encourages Mariam to cultivate her own relationship with Jesus. Yacoub won't be able to lend his own relationship to her. Sara advises Mariam to spend time with God and she'll find peace. In preparation for marriage, the women in Mariam's life give her advice that's actually good for everyone, regardless of status. "I know what it's like to not have what I need. I also know what it's like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12-13). Paul speaks about being content in everything because Jesus alone is enough. By making that relationship our highest priority, and recognizing it above worldly matters, we can find contentment in everything.