Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A courageous woman

Today's Old Testament reading, from Genesis 24, redefines "arranged marriage." What a story! Abraham is old, he's now a widower, and he wants to find a wife for his son Isaac. So he sends his chief servant to the land of his relatives. This guy, the chief servant, is a man of faith, though when he prays, he addresses the Lord as "God of my master Abraham" (Genesis 24.12).

But what strikes me is Rebekah's courage, her spirit of adventure. One evening she's doing her errands. She shows hospitality to a stranger, as was customary:
The servant hurried to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water from your jar."

"Drink, my lord," she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking."
Genesis 24.17-19
And the next day she goes with him to be the wife of someone she's never met. She hears what the servant says and she sees his gifts. But she really doesn't know anything about Abraham and Isaac, except what the servant has said. Oh, she knows that Abraham is rich; this guy shows up with "his men" (24.32), ten camels (24.10), impressive jewelry (24.30), and costly gifts (24.53). And she knows that the servant can speak well.

Is she adventurous? Foolhardy? Desperate?

Well, my grandmother was about 17 when she left her home to come to the United States, based on a photo, the promise of adventure, and religious freedom. Was she thinking about Rebekah when she made her decision? I'll have to ask her.

And I think my wife was only a little less adventurous when she threw in her lot with me. The pastor at our wedding said that the price paid by the wife is that of risk. Little did she know what her life with me would hold, back when she told me, "Yes."

posted 1/11
OOPS! Originally posted as 1/10 reading, then marked as 1/11 because I mistakenly thought it was from the 1/11 Old Testament reading. But 1/10 is correct....

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