Summary: Events 900-years apart have similar reasons. Elijah and Jesus performed miracles that now call us to action. What need is right in front of us?
June 9, 2013
Tale of Two Sons
The Oklahoma Conference Leader Bishop Hayes is returning home after a speaking engagement. When his plane arrives, there is a limousine there to transport him to his home in Oklahoma City. As he prepares to get into the limo, he stops and speaks to the driver. "You know," he says, "I am almost 50-years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?" The driver says, "No problem." Bishop Hayes gets into the driver's seat, and they head off down the highway. A short distance away sits a rookie state trooper operating his first speed trap. The long black limo goes by him doing 70 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone. The trooper pulls out, easily catches the limo, and gets out of his patrol car to begin the procedure. The young trooper walks up to the driver's door, and when the glass is rolled down, he is surprised to see who is driving. He immediately excuses himself, goes back to his car, and radio’s his dispatcher. He tells the supervisor, "I know we are supposed to enforce the law, but I also know that important people are sometimes given certain courtesies. I need to know what I should do because I have stopped a very important person." The supervisor asks, "Is it the Governor?" The young trooper says, "No, he's more important than that." The supervisor says, "Oh, so it's the President." The young trooper says, "No, he's even more important than that." The supervisor finally asks, "Well then, who is it?" The young trooper says, "I think it's Jesus, because he's got Bishop Hayes for a chauffeur!!!"
The world is full of important people, however in Bible times the most important person to a woman was the man of the house, whether he was a husband or son. To have a full understanding of these scriptures, it’s important to comprehend the roles of men and women in societies of the time. While nine-hundred years separated stories of two young men who were raised from the dead in First Kings and Luke, society had changed very little. For contextual reasons and not to bemoan women’s roles in the Bible stories and society of the times, we rarely see information about an “average” woman. We certainly know about queens, saints, prophetesses, leaders and prostitutes, yet for the most part, women were invisible.
There are only 188 named women in the Canonized Scripture. Such an imbalance would be offensive to most in modern society, yet there are some in Christianity who continue elements of separation or roles in keeping with societal norms of life two and three-thousand years ago. We have major religions with radicals practicing today that still proclaim women as property, and even kill them under the name of “honor.”
The Hebrew Bible, the Torah, with its on-face interpretation, has set the standard for women’s place in society, which in turn became the basis for both Judaism and Christianity, and in turn, in Western culture. Even legal status for women was shaped by these ancient cultures for millennia.
These understandings, or misunderstandings, were greatly influenced by mistranslations or lack of authentic translations of the ancient Hebrew language. For example, Adam is understood in the ancient Hebrew to mean, “Faculty of intellectual wisdom,” while Eve means, “emotional nature of love.” Focusing on Eve as the one who gave into temptation from the serpent, which forever sealed her place in society, overlooks the important role of human emotion and the ability to nurture love among mankind. So, while the male spirit, as understood by the ancient Hebrews, was intellect and wisdom dominant, women had the balancing power of the very nature of love as allowed and needed in human emotion. And, we know that woman was made as a partner and not to be subjected by men. Ephesians 5:25 then is quite correct when it reads, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved his church and gave himself for it.” Where are we in the decision making processes when we lean only on intellect and forget emotion? Or, how many decisions have been wrong that were made on emotion alone, forgetting intellect? Obviously, the balance and recognition of both is critical to a life of success and prosperity. This balance must not be only between marriage partners, but in each of us, whether male or female. God was and is right in the words he gave to Moses. Someday, God willing, humanity will come to fully understand and behave accordingly.
Edith Hamilton writes that the Bible is the only book up to the 20th Century, which looks at women as human beings, no better and no worse than men. She holds that Old Testament writers considered them just as impartially as they did men, free from prejudice and even from condescension. However, it cannot be said that society and culture of the Old Testament times were consistently favorable to women.