Friday, August 4, 2017

FRIDAY: WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR LOVE?



Oh my Gosh, it is Friday, again. So today I am presenting yet another throwback blog post. I am trying to find a better word than "throw back" because it seems to imply that these posts were not worth reading. But they were, and if you are just reading them, or missed them the first time around, then they are new to you. So today I asked the question: What would you do for Love?    
We are all looking for love, and even if we are in relationships, or marriage, or even looking. The world makes it so hard to love doesn't it? The most benign but no less powerful love is that of a seemingly simple friendship. Remember when we were kids, and it was so easy to make friends, right.? 
Oops I feel a story coming. When I was a kid, I tended to attract other (interesting) kids to me, particularly one kid named Gregory. He was such a poindexter, he had a habit of "biting". I dunno why, maybe he was teething, even at the age of five. He was psychotic when it came to biting. All of us kids would be having fun at the park, swings, slide, teeter totters. We would play "car". You know, with a big box and a homemade steering wheel, and we would be just "play" driving along and he would haul off and bite your neck, This was not just a nibble, it was a full on bite, that would draw blood. After that every body out of the car, we all ran home crying to tell our moms. I was done with that, and I felt I had to put a stop to it. My mom advised me to "bite him back", but my Dad, well he was the diplomat. He had been teaching me how to box, and particularly how to land a punch right where you wanted. He suggested that I "land a punch". So the next time we were all playing "car", and Gregory started in with his "fangs" . I took up my best Muhammad Ali stance and landed a punch right in the "kisser". Of course I was the bad guy, but that is another story. 
My post today is from the book of Genesis, concerning the family of  Issac and Rebekah, and even the in-laws Sarah and Abraham. Infertility in a covenant marriage. Sometimes infertility is not the absence of babies, but the absence of faith. After all , faith in one another builds trust, and trust builds love.

ISAAC AND REBEKAH...infertility in a covenant marriage
Brian Kershisnek
Fertility in a covenant marriage; you could say that the obvious evidence of fertility in any marriage is children. But I would raise that bar and say that the evidence of fertility is also spiritual “off spring”.
In Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived
(What does it mean to be entreated? It means to be kind and just and reasonable and self-sacrificing in one's attitude toward others.)

Isaac married Rebekah when he was 40 years old, there was no age given of Rebekah, so it is always assumed that she was at least 20 years younger. For the first 20 years of their marriage, Rebekah was unable to conceive. The scriptures seem to designate this condition as “barren”. It is such a harsh word, and the connotations imply an unfillable emptiness or a void-like a black hole, something that can’t be filled up without divine intervention.  

I don’t think that Rebekah was initially infertile, this was her blessing as she left her home to marry Isaac: Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Sarah and Abraham also struggled with “temporal” infertility in their marriage, in the context of their respective biology. There is an emphasis on how old they were, and specifically in a post menopausal Sarah.  And in light of Abraham and Sarah’s promises of “posterity” that would equal the stars in the sky, and the grains of sand. Their faith was stretched to the breaking point. Abraham complained to God that “he wasn’t getting any younger, and if he had to wait any longer, he would have to legally adopt his most senior servant “Eliezer of Damascus”. Sarah had to take matters into her own hand, and had enacted or acted on a Hammurabi law:  “Throughout the Ancient World childlessness was considered to be a serious problem.  If a wife failed to bear children she might give her maidservant to her husband.  If the maidservant produced a baby it counted as the wife’s child.  If such a maidservant started to take on airs and act the equal of the wife she could not be sold but she would be kept strictly as a slave.  If neither wife nor maidservant produced a child a man was permitted a second wife but again she was not allowed to be equal in status to the first wife.  If his wife acquired a long-term illness he could take a second wife but he must continue to look after his first wife for as long as she lives.  She could take her dowry and return to her father’s house if she wanted to do so: the choice was hers.(144-149). 

Sarah gave her slave Hagar to her husband Abraham, to act as surrogate for her. And the plan was to raise the child as her own; sounds like a soap opera. Abraham’s response was conspicuously ambiguous. When he was confronted by a desperate Sarah concerning the behavior of Hagar; (it seem s that Hagar was aware of her rights in the law also), his response at first seem’s flip, but in accordance with the “temporal” law of procreation they had invoked, his reaction was according to that law: He said, “She is your hand maid, do with her what you will.” 
This caused a delay of about 25 more years before Sarah would become pregnant. ( Yes 25 years, meaning that Hagar's son was at least an older teen, around 19 to 20 years old when they were cast out into the desert. There is  pattern here, Issac was also a young man between 25-30 when he was almost "sacrificed. There is a pattern here) 

Where is the infertility? It is not so much in her body or in Abraham’s body; because the Lord promised that “nothing is impossible for Him”. But the infertility represented here is that barren seed of faith, and the “stony unfertilized” ground of the heart, where the sower can’t sow the seed of faith.   

In this infertile moment; Abraham and Sarah decided to “fall back” to a different time and place and in their life, and utilize it to bring about a wished for event.  Many years before, Abraham and Sarah made a brave decision to serve the Lord at all cost. They were told to “leave their fathers house because he was an idolater”, and they were told to leave their “kinfolk” because they too were idolaters and would only hinder their goals. And last, the Lord “entreated” them to come to an unknown land, and live there, and start a family, and become a people; and they were entreated. They were to leave the prescribed laws of the land, and follow the law of God, no shadow of turning.

So, back to Isaac and Rebekah, who seemed to be going down that same road of barrenness. But their approach was one of faith. The Bible does not mention any sister wives, or concubines. Genesis 25:21 {And} Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  I think that Isaac’s prayer, a husband’s blessing; where they both knelt together; gave Rebekah a spiritual boost to her faith. More than babies were conceived, the faith that with God all things are possible, was born also.
 Psalms 113:9 Amplified version: mentions this concerning the “barren” woman:  He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of [spiritual] children. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
I really love this record, because lately I am those women. I am Sarah, even Hagar. Hagar I a sure willing agreed with Sarah, they were friends after all. Maybe she wanted a husband of her own, and not to have to share with Sarah. Rebekah, her husbands first love, loved her  so much that he entreated the Lord so that she could conceive. That implies a sweet and tender love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son...
This is an example of a divine entreatment.
    
NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love - 7/21/2016 - Paste Studios, New York, NY
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