The book is heavy. It is bound in a dark blue leather. The sides of the pages shine, slick and golden. It is read from left to right. It is called the Chumash: the five books of Moses.
I discovered a similar copy at my dear friend's house. In awe I opened the beautiful tome and wondered at the Hebrew text that fill the right side pages. The left side translation was my mother tongue, my heart language. It was the scriptures I knew from childhood, but through a distinctively Jewish lens. I had to have a copy of my own. I used a gift card from a student which didn't cover the entire price... I believe it is worth every penny.
So today I read my favorite Bible Story (or at least Torah story,) how Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, goes to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham had just taken Isaac with him to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him to the Lord. We know that God halted him with knife flashing in mid-air, ready to slice his "son, his only son," 's throat. We know that God provided the ram in a nearby bush that "just happened" to be there. What I learned today is that in Jewish tradition (unlike in the old movies like The Bible,) Isaac was 37 years old! [...which is a good age to find a wife. My husband was that age when he married me!]
God knew Abraham was devoted to him because he was going to sacrifice his "son, his only son," even though he had waited almost 100 years for him! And here begins the great analogies that give us life and grace today: Abraham now knew how God would feel a couple of thousand years later.
Here's where it gets interesting.
Abraham calls Eliezer to him to send him to his brother's house to get a wife from his own people for Isaac. Here the Jewish commentary says: (and there is a LOT of commentary!) when the text says "lay your hand on my thigh and swear that you will do this," thigh refers to his "loins" (euphemism for penis.) So, I'm thinkin' woah, Abraham, this is really serious! But it doesn't seem to phase good ol' Eliezer. He promises, he goes back to Haran, where Abraham came from and looks for a kind girl, one who will not only think of his but of his camels' welfare.
To me the analogy began to flow. Jesus, God's son, His only son, has a forerunner, Isaac. God wants a bride for His son! He sends his servant, one who is willing to believe for the best, and look for the best possible wife. Do you see Believers here as Eliezer, the servant who has traveled a long way to find the Bride for God's Son Jesus?
Throughout the Scriptures God has painted picture after picture of His plan of salvation for His lost. My pastor friend preached a great sermon about that last Sunday when I visited the Vineyard. I have gone 2 weeks in a row just to hear these sermons on Loss (going through quite a bit of that now.) Here's the link to these great messages: http://houstonvineyard.org/podcasts/feed.xml Restoring God's Loss 7/18/11.
Back to Isaac/Jesus and Rebekah/the Church, the Bride of Christ--we are both Eliezer, the servant. when we seek to introduce others to Jesus; and we are Rebekah, the bride, once we accept the Son.
When Isaac saw Rebekah from afar off, he had been "supplicating"--praying, waiting for his wife to be brought to him. She "inclined" which the commentaries say means leaned towards him (from atop her camel) and put on her veil, preparing herself for him.
"Then he took her into his tent, and made her his wife." They knew each other intimately. Precious and beautiful, don't you think? Even if you are a guy, you could get that part if you see it from Jesus'/Isaac's point of view.
More on this later...