“And they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She said, ‘I will go.'” (Genesis 24:58)
Rebekah would be seriously chastized in the church today. What a silly, irresponsible girl! No sensible Christian woman would enter into marriage with a guy she has never met. She did not go through a checklist from a Christian magazine telling her how to discover whether the prospective suitor was godly enough for her. She did not follow her family’s advice and delay her departure a little. What did she do? She said, “I will go.” To a land far away. To marry a herdsman still living in his deceased mother’s tent (nothing strange there). No, we would definitely take her aside and have a talk with her, dissuade her from recklessly throwing her life away.
I love the heroines of the Bible. Their strength and faith is so humbling. Rebekah’s “I will go” seems to foreshadow the faith with which Peter, Andrew, James and John will leave their nets on the beaches of Galilee to go follow Jesus, to eventually become the Bride married to the Christ.
I am not suggesting that Rebekah’s actions are to be exactly imitated or that arranged marriages are superior to “Western” marriages. I am certainly exaggerating a little. I suppose I am just tired of a culture that is obsessed with information and oblivious to thought, prayer, and faith. We are a culture that looks to politicians, pastors, and experts first to form our opinions. We need our magazines, websites, classes, and support groups first.
We do not often kneel as individuals before God and seek Him first. Rebekah saw the servant’s manner and eagerness to please her relative. She knew he had prayed. She perceived God at work. She herself had already shown a kind, serving and receptive nature (which is a prerequisite for faith–Mark 4). She believed that this new development was from the Lord. She observed, thought, probably prayed, and believed. This does not diminish the spontaneity of her faith; it merely shows its richness. Remember, she had very little time to do all of this.
Perhaps it is the influence of Calvinism (determinism) on North American culture, coupled with our materialism, insatiable curiosity, our bureaucratic checklist-oriented, propaganda-soaked minds, but it seems we are losing the ability to do the things that Rebekah did: to walk blind.
Rebekah did not see hundreds of miles of waterless wastes. She did not see hundreds of angry camels getting out of line. Or exhausted servants. Or dangerous highways infested with warlike tribes and bandits. She did not see a nondescript husband who might be frightening or churlish. She did not see 10 tips she heard somewhere or a checklist of things to remember when evaluating her potential mate. She probably did not recall her most recent lady’s Bible class or youth group session. She did not see all the cultural, dogmatic and economic clutter that obscures everything so much today. Rebekah was blind to these things. What she saw was the greater picture; the work of the Lord in her life.
Blind faith, one might object, belongs to fanatics, heretics, and the misguided. It is something we wish to avoid. We can look to the Gospels for proof: “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14). Jesus, however, is talking about a different kind of blindness, a blindness that comes from being unable to see with faith and reason. The apostle Paul shows us that there is a holy kind of blindness: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). This is when we should become blind to the wind and the waves, and only see Jesus: “But when he [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 14:30-31). Was Peter seeing correctly? Surely he was observing!! I would say no. What Peter saw were not the wind and the waves that they were already walking on; Peter saw the wind and the waves through his fear and lack of trust in God. To observe correctly, we need to be looking to Christ (Matthew 6:22-23).
In order to see clearly and walk by faith, we need to be blind to many things, the things of the world that would tempt us away from observing, thinking, praying and living in devotion to a trustworthy God. When I look back on all the mistakes I have made, I know that they originated in the wrong kind of blindness and an absence of holy blindness. I was not Rebekah. I was oblivious to reality, I was not listening to the Voice of Scripture, and I was not spending time in
devotional prayer or meditation on the Word.
It is true that often, especially when we are young, it is hard to think for ourselves and to live without getting advice. I do think, however, that our church cultures and broader North American culture has crippled us to
some extent with the result that we are all looking for the answers in Bible class workbooks, youth group meetings, in worldly magazines, and in blogs like mine! We are programmed into thinking that we need to seek approval and guidance. The only guidance and approval that we need comes from the Lord, but I don’t think we will find it without deep devotion and holy blindness.
I meant to say more and say it more clearly, but time has run out for today. Forgive my generalizations and exegetical fallacies. And may God help us to see Him in our lives rather than the mirages we tend to follow.