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Rizpah’s story is not one that most people know. Rizpah faced the worst that could possibly happen in her life with courage and resilience.

What do you do when things don’t go your way?  What do you do when things aren’t fair? We think a lot about justice when bad things happen and question God’s role in it! Rizpah’s story offers a glimmer of hope to all those who have been wronged. Here are a few lessons you can learn from Rizpah.

The backstory

Rizpah was one of King Saul’s concubines. She lost her two sons, Armoni and Mephibosheth, because King Saul went back on his promise to the Gibeonites. At first, he promised to spare the Gibeonites but later ordered his army to annihilate them.

When David became king, he had to right this wrong. King David agreed to the Gibeonites’ request to kill Saul’s children and grandchildren to avenge their earlier loss ( 2 Samuel 21:1–6). And so, the two sons of Rizpah and the five sons of Michal were put to death and hung at the sanctuary in Gibeah ( 2 Samuel 21:8–9).

However, Rizpah sought the honour of burial for her two sons. She ardently denounced their murder and the public display of their dead bodies. She kept an eye on their hanging bodies until they were removed and given a respectable burial (2 Samuel 21:13).

Rizpah is known for her brave and selfless act of protest against the killing of her two sons and for protecting their bodies from scavenging birds during the day and wild animals at night.

Here are three lessons we can learn from her story:

1. Compassion in a broken world

Rizpah reminds us that we live in a fallen world where sin brings about suffering in all dimensions of our lives- physical, emotional, and spiritual. It also affects the lives of people who did not do anything wrong. Realising this helps us deal with the hard things in our lives and try to live in a way that doesn’t make things hard for others.

2. Boldness in despair

Rizpah didn’t give up on her love for her sons or her faith in God, even though she went through a lot of pain and wrongdoing. She chose to remain quiet, to endure the loss, letting her through a prolonged grieving process.

Because of her calm but determined boldness in the face of the horrible things that happened to her and her unwavering faith in God’s power, she was able to make sure that her sons were buried properly and put an end to the hunger that was plaguing the area.

Rizpah spread out some sackcloth on a nearby rock (2 Samuel 21:10)

3. Resilience in uncertainty

Many situations in our life will be beyond our ability & strength, and the problems seem to grow with us overwhelmingly. Rizpah’s unbreakable spirit is a great example of how to deal with loss, grief, and other kinds of pain with grace and strength, based on our trust in God.

Rizpah is a great example of how to deal with loss, grief, and other hard things with grace and strength. Living life under God’s reign, and acknowledging His authority over all, helps us pass through the darkest moments of our lives with grace.

“…From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down…, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night.” (2 Samuel 21:10)

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We often ponder over the crises in our lives or those around us. We can learn to find hope in our lives from the story of Rizpah, a woman who overcame many challenges. Rizpah teaches us that it is important to admit that we are not perfect and to stay strong in the knowledge that God is in charge of everything in life.

Let’s remember these lessons for our lives that have been gleaned from this little-known story.

“We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.” 2 Corinthians 4:8

Jebaraj James is a contributive writer and is based in Chennai.