Ep. 5 - Abigail Duman WTDT S2

Train Up A Queen

When I read the familiar story of Esther, the brave queen most often arrests my focus. I ponder her behavior in a crisis and desire to possess her bravery to fulfill God’s purposes. However, far less often have I considered the important role that Mordecai and otherwise mentors in her young life played in this biblical story. In a small way, I first identified with Esther at age thirteen. During my growing up years, my parents nurtured the longings of my young heart to stay connected to God. I desired to do something great and noble for Him and imagined myself standing up to “the crowd” when it came to making right decisions, but I always found the security of my parent’s presence nearby in moments when I faced peer pressure—until one rainy Sabbath afternoon after a potluck.

Local youth leaders, in an effort to rally the church’s young people from a placid meal, organized a group activity. Before long, voices shrieked and the sound of footsteps pounded up and down the stairs of the house as the game ensued. Something about this game didn’t seem right to me—not for the Sabbath, anyway. I resolved in my mind that I would stay apart from the rest of the group to avoid being questioned about it, but a youth leader found me a short while later in the library. “Come join the rest of us,” she beckoned with a wave of her hand.

“No thank you,” I nodded with a smile and turned to look at the book in front of me.

“Come on, it will be fun. If you say no, I’ll be back to ask you again for a different answer.”

My inner nature desperately wanted to please. In the past, I shrank back from confrontation when at all possible. For a moment I wondered if half-heartedly participating in the game would be the easiest route to take. Would my peers think I was self-righteous for not playing? Maybe I could be a better witness if I simply joined in. Maybe God would give me grace, given that a church member in good standing required my participation.

No, I decided. This decision is about honoring the Sabbath and being true to conviction. If I don’t stand up now, how can I expect to ever stand up for God? When the familiar figure paraded into the library a second time, I gave her my reason and she nodded an acknowledgment. “That’s understandable,” she said before turning to leave. With a sigh of relief, I slowly wandered into the kitchen where several adults conversed in the corner. “Why aren’t you playing, Abby?” my younger sister brushed my hand with her own small one and gazed questioningly at my face.

“I don’t feel that this game is honoring God on the Sabbath,” I explained. “It’s a personal decision.” “If you don’t play, we won’t either,” my youngest sister chimed in. Just then, the familiar youth leader spotted us three there. After seeing that we wouldn’t be persuaded to join in, she pointed her finger in our direction and asked each of us the same question. “Are you going to be a bump-on-a-log and refuse to play?” When she reached me, I fought my nervous inclination to crawl into a corner. “Yes,” I responded with all the confidence that a young thirteen-year-old could muster.

All the while, a young man in his twenties sat on a stool nearby and listened to the exchange. The youth leader moved on and I took a seat nearby with my hands nervously clasped in my lap. It was then that the young man turned to me and said four words that would impact my young life forever: “I’m proud of you.” He said that it wasn’t easy to stand up in a crowd, that it wasn’t fair to be pressured to ignore conscience—but that God would bless me for being faithful. The young man’s words were a soothing balm to my soul. Little did he realize the powerful impact that his encouragement had on my heart. From that day forward, my desire to do something great for God doubled, and I realized that I would rather live like a “bump-on-a-log” with Jesus than to cave into my weaknesses without Him. 

This desire drove me to my knees in prayer and to my Bible for study; through teenagerhood, the promise of my heavenly Father’s blessing for faithfulness preserved me from a flood of evil. Ten years later when I found myself in the tropical forests of Africa fulfilling a personal mission for Christ, the impact of a few words to a thirteen-year-old was still with me. I am forever convinced of the power of godly mentorship and encouragement, especially for the young and often fragile of faith who could be changed forever by the power of a few words. I am inspired by the bravery of Esther to stand up for the right, but I can’t forget the quiet and effectual witness of Mordecai who encouraged her to fulfill her mission with faithfulness. 

Take a personal interest in mentoring young people in the faith. Encourage them to seek for heavenly blessing over peer approval. Remind them that no matter how alone one might feel—whether walking down a palace corridor to save a nation or standing up for conviction in a humble kitchen—God’s blessing is more than enough of a reward.

Ep. 4 - When Left is Right WTDT S2

When Left is Right

Anytime I read through passages from Judges, I have to agree with Dean. It is a very strange book indeed. With my very limited human brain, I try to make sense of a lot of these stories and end just as puzzled as when I began with the looming question, “Why did God feel the need to put that in the Holy Scriptures?” If we believe that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim 3:16), we must trust that there is a good reason. While the story of Judge Ehud is both puzzling and provocative, I think it is on us as Bible-believing Christians to prayerfully study with the Holy Spirit as our guide to glean from this unique passage. Bear with me while I try to extract some of my own points taken from Judge Ehud’s story…

1. As one who is particularly averse to aggression and violence, I struggle with many of the passages in the Bible that not only contain violence, but violence incited by God. One of my initial thoughts when seeing some of these challenging passages is “oh man, I hope I am never confronted by a nonbeliever and asked to explain this one.” There was even an instance several years ago when I saw a small poster in a bus quoting 1 Sam 15:3 when God speaks through Samuel, instructing King Saul to “go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all they have…kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child.” The poster had an obvious agenda in highlighting the fact that the God of the Bible must be an evil and bloodthirsty God to have said that. At the bottom of the poster was an endorsement by a “secular humanist” chapter in the city. Of course, what they don’t bother to elaborate on is the track record of the heathen tribes in Canaan. Despite numerous chances over generations, as God pleaded with them to turn from their Baal-worshiping and human-sacrificing ways, as they grieved the Holy Spirit, probation had to close for those people at some point. God used the Israelites and the judges to execute His will. It simply had to be done. 

2. Always striking that perfect balance between justice and mercy, let us not forget that God is a God of love. No exceptions. He has died for us so that NONE may perish. He has thoughts towards us of “peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11). Jesus died for King Eglon. He wept for King Eglon. Yet the wicked king eventually passed the point of no return, and God used judge Ehud to prevent King Eglon from inflicting more death and destruction on others, especially His chosen people. That still begs the question, why the entrails? I think that detail will have to flesh itself out another day.

3. A lefty? Really? Approximately 10% of people are left-handed these days. I am one of them. Growing up in America, it’s the closest my Caucasian self will ever come to being a minority. Ehud the judge is the only person in the Bible who is specifically mentioned as being left-handed. You may have heard stories from grandparents of schoolchildren being scolded or worse for using their left hand. I imagine the stigma and penalties were significantly worse in a society like Ehud’s, one that was riddled with frequent wars and so reliant on physical abilities for survival. I thoroughly enjoy the way God uses underdogs and those with apparent “disabilities” to carry out His will and bring glory to Him!

The account of Judge Ehud is indeed a unique and perplexing one among the characters in the book of Judges. As in the rest of Scripture, there are lessons to be learned and ways of understanding God’s character throughout. I hope you can extract some additional insight from this story and share!

Ep. 2 - Losing Your Fire Uncategorized WTDT S2

Losing Your Fire

I was not expecting this episode to tackle a question I had wrestled with for a while regarding the evil spirit sent from the Lord to Saul but was pleasantly surprised that it did. I appreciate that Why They Did That podcasts don’t neglect to recognize challenging passages in the Bible but make an intentional effort to dig deeper and provide Biblical answers. Adam Patel boldly explained that the evil spirit was permitted by God to be used as a weapon that tried David’s faith (similar experience referenced in 1 Kings 22).

When reading the story of David and Goliath (the starting point), we can be tempted to see it merely for face value—a young, ruddy boy taking down a giant and then running from King Saul who becomes jealous. We can also overlook the fact that David loses his “fire” after victory (as I had not noticed until this episode) and actually runs into enemy territory for refuge (1 Samuel 27). We praise David’s act of victory and the story fades right before us.

The sequential story shows us that our struggles—the highs and lows that David experienced, much like we do—can be explained in the light of the Great Controversy. Thankfully, the spiritual reality is beautiful in Christ—all things work together for the good of those who fear Him. Sometimes, however, like David, we forget that God is in control for our favor and we “run into enemy territory” because of our lack of faith. Let us not remove our trust in God. We wrestle with principalities and powers daily, hence our necessity to have on the whole armor of God, which He provides if we ask.

This battle armor is much different from the armor Saul tried to put on David—a spiritual battle requires spiritual armor and spiritual weapons. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” I’m thankful that we are not left to fight this battle alone, and I am thankful Christ has already won it so we can win it. 

Ep. 2 - Losing Your Fire WTDT S2

Under the Enemy’s Banner

I often catch myself feeling like the great men and women of the Bible are a special subgroup of superhero-like humans. When I compare my life to theirs, I can’t help but feel discouraged. More often than I wish, I find my character is more like Martha’s rather than Mary’s, more like the Laodicean church or the Children of Israel than the righteous saints that “keep the commandments of God and faith of Jesus.” The deep, self-sacrificing love my Biblical heroes have for God, their genuine faith and heart for aggressive service, often seem like another reality that I haven’t entered into yet. I must be a dud disciple right? One-hundred percent yes. But it doesn’t stop there. The Bible is full of very human experiences that share the struggles and failures, of average people like me, and the hope of change and victory that come from living a life fully entrusted to a loving God.

In episode two, Losing Your Fire, Dean and Adam unwrap the humanness of King David, once again highlighting the humanity, relatability, practicality, beauty and hope found throughout the Bible. Sure I am no king and I cannot relate to everything David experienced or struggled with, but I can relate to his inner heart-conflict described in 1 Samuel 27. The King of Israel doubted God’s ability to protect him from his enemy stating “in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul” (1 Samuel 27:1). Wait, what? Yep, David apparently struggled to believe in God. Except his unbelief wasn’t about believing in Gods existence but rather about believing in who He claimed to be. 

Back in chapter 17, David stood boldly before Goliath and unashamedly fought to protect the reputation of his Lord, acting on his belief in God’s protection and power to accomplish an impossible task. In chapter 27 however, David appears to have doubts about God’s ability to provide for his basic safety needs. It certainly wasn’t because of a lack of evidence regarding God’s trustworthiness as he had personal experience with the faithfulness of His character. Instead of continuing entrust his life to God, David chose to doubt and took his eyes off Jesus and found himself devising solutions to his own problems. The rest of the story in Samuel 27 gives us a panoramic view of the end result of David’s choice. In an attempt to preserve his own life, David ends up under the enemy’s banner going to war against the Israelites, a traitor to his own kingdom. The root cause? Unbelief. 

I don’t know about you but, ashamedly, I find David’s struggle is my struggle. One moment I happily put my trust in God and the next moment I relinquish my trust and find myself doubting and resisting His leading. Like David, I think I know what is best and seek to organize my life according to how I see fit. How often I focus on preserving my comfort or defending my reputation instead of considering how my choices impact the reputation and the heart of the One I claim to love and represent. 

Do I trust His character? With my lips I say I do but I have come to the painful realization that my actions tell a different story…the tale of an unbelieving, wavering, half-converted heart. And, like David, when I choose to distrust who God is, I find myself standing under enemy’s banner…fighting against God instead of working with Him. Even though David chose to doubt, God in His loving kindness did not forsake the treacherous king and provided a way out of the results of his doubt (1 Samuel 29). The same is true for us today. Even though I waiver in my trust in God, He stands at my side, patiently saving me from my own undoing and faithfully calling me to stand under His banner again (James 4:7-10).  

One of my favorite passages beautifully captures this inner faith struggle we see in David’s heart: “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:23,24). The battle boils down to a conflict over the identity of God. Who God is lies at the heart of this faith battle, David’s struggle and the Great Controversy. God declares He is love and Satan argues that He is not. Adam and Eve in very first book of the Bible had to choose between belief and unbelief. Would they trust that God loved them and had their best interests in mind or would they believe their own senses, experiences and the words of an intelligent snake? This age old question comes to us everyday. To each comes an opportunity to choose. Whom will you believe? 

“Just believe in His love, and take Him at His word. No suspicion or distrust is to take possession of our minds. No apprehension of the greatness of God is to confuse our faith. May God help us to humble ourselves in meekness and lowliness. Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, that He might associate with humanity, and show that human beings may be perfect. Clad in the garments of mercy He lived in our world a perfect life, to give us evidence of His love. He has done that which should make unbelief in Him impossible. From His high command in the heavenly courts He stooped to take human nature upon Him. His life is an example of what our lives may be. That no apprehension of God’s greatness should come in to efface our belief in God’s love, Christ became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The human heart, given up to Him, will become a sacred harp, sending forth sacred music.” —Letter 365, 1904

Ep. 1 - Running From God WTDT S2

Smelling the Nudge

I have an insanely strong smell recognition mechanism. You know what I’m talking about? Have you ever smelled ‘Grandma’s house’ somewhere other than at Grandma’s house and then all of these memories come flooding back? One day my friend tried to sneak into my dorm room on my birthday to hide a present under my covers. Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling to smell that your friend had been in your room knowing she wasn’t when you left. Okay, maybe I’m the only one…annnyway, hold that thought. Let’s go back to the belly of the…..whale, let’s start a little before that (see what I did there? 🙂 ).

The story of Jonah is a familiar one to most of us—too familiar perhaps. Obviously Jonah’s first mistake was not listening to the voice of God—and that’s the moral of most Jonah-themed talks. That’s great, and it’s a super important topic to discuss and cultivate in our lives. However, for me, the saying “listening to the voice of God” has become a bit cliche—a powerful phrase or lesson that has somewhat lost it’s meaning in the overuse. This year God has been continually giving me something I didn’t know I needed but am so grateful for now—meaning in the cliches. So, in order to really grasp this, I replaced ‘hear’ with ‘smell’ and ‘voice’ with ‘nudge’ because it interrupts the cliche brain wave that capsizes the message. It also puts a little twist on the meaning. Hearing the voice of God reminds me a lot of recognizing scents. It’s cultivated. It’s subtle. And it’s based on experience. I think that sometimes talking about hearing the voice of God can be downright discouraging. If you’re anything like me, you’ve read the story of Jonah and thought: “I’d love to obey God! I’m ready! Tell me what you want, God! Just *tell* me! If only I could hear what God wanted me to do and know for sure that it was Him saying it, I’d do it! Likety split.” And a lot of times, it’s not necessarily that we don’t want to *do* what God is telling us (sometimes it is and that’s an entirely other conversation), but we’re just trying to figure out *what* he’s telling us and how to make decisions that glorify Him. It’s difficult. Because while some people have testimonies about hearing the audible voice of God, and we read stories like Jonah’s in the bible—I’ve never experienced that before and I know many others who haven’t either. How do you hear the voice of God? Or rather, how do you smell the nudge? One word: trust.

Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Isn’t that so encouraging? This verse represents the loving responsibility that God takes. Notice He said “I know them”. There is something fundamentally beautiful about the relationship that God wants to cultivate with you. Often times, we stress and worry over making sure that we are exactly where God wants us. That part—the ‘exactly where God wants us’ isn’t a bad desire; it’s the other part—‘stress and worry’. Quote book time: “Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.” These fears and worries often lead to a stand-still life out of concern that we will choose the ‘wrong’ option. My friend, let me tell you something that has changed my life and my relationship with God forever: you cannot mess up God’s plan for your life while seeking Him. You are not that powerful. Jesus says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It’s a freedom relationship, a trusting, peaceful, secure relationship. Believe me, He wants the best for you even more than you do. If you remember nothing else from here, hold onto that one sentence. Just think about that for a moment. It’s not a matter of Him sitting back and watching you trying your level best to navigate life. Oh no! He’s in the thick of it with you. Do you trust Him to stop you when you might take a wrong turn? Do you believe Him when He says “I know the plans I have for you” and do you trust that He is working to fulfill those just as much as you desire them? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Just like I can recognize my childhood library or know the owner of that jacket because of the scent, the same subtle recognition can come when God nudges. Oh and the more I experience those little nudges, the more my scent recognition mechanism picks up. 

This isn’t a ‘how-to’ blog post where I tell you how to hear the voice of God and how to follow it. It’s an ‘If you resonate with this—I feel you, I hear you, and God does too. Be encouraged with this:’ kinda thing. One: Trying to “hear the voice of God” is a burden we often place on ourselves unnecessarily when He has already promised to guide us and lead us. Take steps towards the opportunities He has brought to you that promise to glorify Him. He wants the best for us even more than we want it for ourselves and He will do whatever it takes to get us there. Two: Realize that recognizing those nudges from God is a cultivated experience. Give yourself grace and be patient as you learn to discern His voice. Pause and take time to recognize it. “He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Blog Master Notes Greetings


Hi there! Welcome to the Why They Did That blog! I’m so excited about this. The possibilities are endless—the sky is the limit on the conversations, adventures, studies, insights, and wonders that this page will host and it has me happy-dancing all over. But oh my, where are my manners? Let me introduce myself—my name is Savannah and I’m very pleased to meet you.  I’m sure glad we ran into each other like this. I’d love to get to know you a little more so make sure to subscribe, leave a comment and tell us a bit about where you’re from, what you would like to see on the blog, and what you love about the Podcast! I guess they call me the blog master, but that’s just a shorter way of saying I’ll be hopping on here every now and then to share with you all— as well as introducing you to some of my friends who enjoy writing as well!

I love the casual conversation and the free-flowing thoughts that blogs breed. And that’s exactly what we’re going for here. We’ll be posting a blog entry that corresponds with each episode one week after it’s been released (this way you get a little bit of WTDT every week instead of every other!). One more thing. It’s really important to me that we keep things friendly on the blog forum. The internet has enough negativity as it is and platforms like this often house conversations of debate and strife—there is no place for that here. We have a noble plan—to speak of all the best we can—and we trust you do too. Our dream is that this becomes a safe place to go even deeper into God’s word and take it a step further. Everyone has a testimony, everyone listens to the stories and reads the bible with different ears and eyes. I love experiencing new perspectives and am so looking forward to that happening right here on a regular basis.