01 (January 2017)

In sweet obscurity: learning from some of the Bible’s lesser-known saints

In sweet obscurity: learning from some of the Bible’s lesser-known saints
Richard Atherton The author is a retired solicitor.
01 January, 2017 1 min read

If it is true that reading Christian books is becoming a rarity in our churches, there is no lack of excellent books to help reverse the trend. This slim volume of 109 pages is fascinating. Seemingly obscure Bible characters like Barzillai and Jehosheba come alive as great men and women of God.

Do you know where in Scripture Jehosheba is mentioned? In 2 Kings 11, she preserved the life of the boy (later King) Joash from the murderous intent of Athaliah. If she had not done this, the royal line of David would have been extinguished and Jesus would not have been born ‘of the line of David’. Read all about it in the Jehosheba chapter.

What about Ebed-Melech? Who? Again, a courageous act is recorded in Jeremiah 38, when he rescues the prophet from death in a remarkable way. Get to know this obscure saint in the Ebed-Melech chapter of the book.

The aim is not just to tell exciting stories. We learn lessons for ourselves from the lives of these lesser known saints. Reflections at the end of each chapter make us ponder what we have read.

A recurring theme is the providence of God, as in the case of Jehosheba. In the chapter on Priscilla and Aquila, the latter is imagined as telling folk, ‘Years ago, Priscilla and I left Rome in shame and discouragement. The emperor threw us out of our home. We honestly wondered why God was doing this to us. Then we met Paul’ (p.92).

Running through the book is the theme that each of us, as lesser known, obscure saints, can be just as useful in God’s providence as these Bible characters. As for the significance of Barzillai, read the book to find out about him!

Richard Atherton


The author is a retired solicitor.
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