We are in the season of gifting. It is that time of year when we are searching for gifts to bestow on our loved ones, and soon the giving and receiving of gifts will take place. The following is a rerun. I think it worth looking at again.
In the fifteenth chapter of the book of Joshua we are told that because Othniel went up against Debir and conquered it, Caleb gave to him Achsah, his daughter, to wife. Tradition demands a gift to the bride. Caleb gave her land.
Achsah rode out to her father on her donkey, alighted, and confronted him. “ You've given me desert land, unproductive if it have not water. Give me water.” And so Caleb gave her springs of water, both in the upper region of the land and in the lower.
We have a saying in our day, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Achsah was much smarter than that. The completion of a gift is in the acceptance of it. The girl knew enough to know that the “gift” from her father was worthless in the incomplete state. So rather than a simple “thank you” followed by abandonment of the worthless property, Achsah chose to confront the giver of the gift with an analysis of its value. This yielded the desired result, for now the additional gift of water made the land valuable and the woman secured it as a valuable inheritance for her progeny.
How often do we offer a tepid “thanks” for a present, shrug and go on our way never utilizing the offering? Why do we do this? Well, because we “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” And we are “polite” to a fault.
Are there lessons in Achsah’s actions in this story? I think a deep spiritual lesson in the actions of this good woman in claiming her heritage is this. God offers us the gift of salvation, a good and perfect gift through the blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We must appropriate the gift by accepting it. Then it behooves us to ask for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit so that we can be productive citizens in the Kingdom of God. Without water, Achsah’s land is not productive; with water it is valuable and useful land. Filled with the Spirit we may be useful in the building of the Kingdom! On our own, we are nothing.
(Verse 18 says Achsah “lighted off her ass.” (KJV) We might more likely prosper if we, too, get off our asses. Just sayin'.)
Image: UMC Global Ministries