My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Have you ever wondered why individuals who lived during Old and New Testament times did things which we refuse to follow today? When is a practice of the past not wrong for that generation, but it would be foolish to continue it today? In fact, if we did it their way, we would find ourselves in conflict with our legal system! It might raise a few religious eyebrows too! Practices are discontinued and a change takes place that is wise due to the passing of time. Some biblical commands are tied in with a cultural practice predominant in the time it was written. Culture changes. The principle of the command may not change but cultural example used to perform it may be drastically different.
Abraham sent a slave to Nahor to find Isaac a wife. The slave asked God to bring a virgin to the watering place to speak to him and give him and his camels water. Keep in mind that virgin girls had social limits placed upon them in regard to such social meetings. Our society would not be familiar with those taboos. Isaac’s distant relative appeared. When she finished giving water to the animals, the slave asked about lodging. She introduced him to her parents. When he met them, he explained the purpose of his trip and why their daughter fit the requirements his master expected him to fulfill. Rebekah was to be given as a wife to Isaac, a man she had never met. Several days later they left to journey about 750 miles back home to Abraham and Isaac. Would you trust your beloved daughter to such a stranger under those circumstances today? When Isaac saw the camels and Rebekah found out who he was, she dismounted. Scripture states, “Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife.” (Genesis 24:67 KJV).
Isaac saw Rebekah for the first time when she dismounted. How many camels have you ridden lately to travel to marry someone you’ve never met? Isaac did not date Rebekah so she and he could become better acquainted with one another. Neither knew the other’s bad habits or unusual quirks. They did not discuss the pros and cons of marrying one another. He had no opportunity to “fall in love” with her nor she with him. Both married complete strangers. Both married a distant relative. Neither had the privilege or opportunity to decide who they wanted to marry or not marry. They did not plan a honeymoon. They did not speak of their future. Isaac did not go to the nearest Court House and pay for a marriage license. He did not summons his favorite preacher to perform the ceremony. A wedding ceremony was never mentioned. By-the-way, have you ever lived in a tent? Rebekah apparently goes from living in a house to dwelling in a tent. Wouldn’t that be backward progress? Who today would want to exchange places with either one of them?
Ladies, if someone showed up at your parent’s house looking for a wife for his employer’s son and the employee thought you would fill that void, would you have viewed that whole scenario as being “so romantic” and your dreams coming true? Would this be the answer to your future happiness? Prince charming would not ride into your life on a white horse, you would hop off a camel into his! One day you’re doing normal things a young lady does and a few days later you’re wondering if your dream is coming true or a nightmare is about to be revealed. You find yourself riding off into the sunset on a camel on a 750-mile trip to nowhere, to marry a no body, who is related to your parents that you have never met. They even waved goodbye to you as if this is the best thing that could happen to you. When you arrived in your future mate’s country, he meets you for the first time, and sweeps you off your feet by taking you to his mother’s tent. By that time, would you be thinking of giving your parents a few things to think about? If you were Isaac, would you be rolling your eyes a lot and wanting to have a serious discussion with your folks?
Ladies, if your folk’s Romeo took you into his mother’s tent in order for you to become his partner in life, would you go without questions, complaints, or hesitation? Would you be wondering how well you will get along with your new husband as well as your new in-laws? Would one of your questions be, “How long is it going to take me to fall in love with this country bumpkin”?
With our twenty-first century cultural views, would this four-thousand-year-old system impress you? Would you want dad and mom picking out a mail-order bride for you, or a distant relative as your spouse? Without the marriage license and validating ceremony, would you feel married? Would it cause you to think of yourself as a “common-law wife, or as a man to think of yourself as a “common-law” husband? Would you consider yourself to be married “in the eyes of God” without the marriage license and the following ceremony conducted by a Judge, Justice of the Peace, or minister to sign off on it?
Whereas Isaac and Rebekah’s union was blessed by the laws of the land, produce happiness with each set of parents, and was in harmony with the wishes of God Almighty in that day, would their practice and joy be welcomed or experienced by most in ours?
Culture changes. With that change substitutions may be required. We don’t greet one another with a holy kiss today but substitute a handshake. Women don’t wear hats into the church’s assemblies today. Most people aren’t immersed in a lake, river, or pond anymore. The Lord’s supper is not served in loaf form and passed among partakers with each breaking off a piece while folks are sitting around a table. Church buildings, which are a necessary expedient today, weren’t in existence in the first and possibly second centuries. We use the word “worship” in ways never utilized by first century saints. Change? It has been happening since the first century. Being human, we don’t always identify those changes correctly nor appreciate them when they are introduced.