No Turning Back

Several of our children have brought joy to my wife by skydiving. For you sane readers who know nothing about this activity, it is the peculiar habit of jumping out of perfectly serviceable aircraft. Of course, once you’ve leaped out into the vast blue void there is no going back. I am sure that as one’s stomach lurches with that first sensation of weightlessness, many wish they could return to the airplane. However, going back up is not an option. You are totally committed to keep going until you hit earth; gently, one hopes.

While Mrs. Lapin was giving birth to those children in the first place, I recall thinking that it was probably a good thing that God didn’t give women in labor the option of returning to not being pregnant. Once labor begins, you are totally committed to keep going until you’ve brought your baby into the world.

Total commitment is why everyone who leaps from an airplane hits the ground sooner or later and why babies get born.

One of Scripture’s model marriages was Abraham and Sarah. It is perplexing that immediately after Abraham is plucked from obscurity to become the portal to Jewish history (Genesis 12:1) he does something quite extraordinary. He asks Sarah to lie to Pharaoh:

…please say that you are my sister…

(Genesis 12:13)

This became awkward when Pharaoh discovered the subterfuge. (Genesis 12:18)

Yet, on a visit to King Avimelech, Abraham does it again! Speaking of Sarah, he says:

She is my sister…

(Genesis 20:2)

As if that wasn’t enough, Abraham and Sarah’s son, Isaac, repeats the same dissimulation.

And the men of the place asked him about his wife; and he said, ‘She is my sister’…

(Genesis 26:7)

Why does the Torah relate three similar scenarios?

Here are two permanent principles of ancient Jewish wisdom:

1) When a pattern is repeated three times, its spiritual significance soars way above the narrative.

2) The Torah is not a history book; it provides contemporary real-life guidance.

Two of Israel’s founding fathers announce that their brides are their sisters.

Does that remind you of anything? Does this help?

…my sister my bride…

(Song of Songs 4:9; 4:10; 4:12; 5:1)

Abraham and Isaac did what was necessary to save their lives during encounters with utterly amoral people. But the detailed accounts are to teach us a timeless truth.

The biggest difference between a wife and a sister is that regardless of circumstances, geography, or conflict, one’s sister always remains one’s sister. Unfortunately, conflict, separation, and divorce can terminate the relationship of wife. Abraham and Isaac related to their wives as also their sisters; we should make every effort to do the same.

In every marriage there are times when stress suppresses harmony and pressures banish passion. Emphasizing that one’s wife is also one’s sister—a forever commitment—greatly helps us to endure the difficult periods.

In Torah nomenclature, times when one feels trapped by circumstances and hardships are referred to as Egypt. We all experience Egypt in different ways. Marital woes are only one example. Egypt can be pressing economic stress, business reversals, an unrelenting addiction or anything which keeps one from freely fulfilling one’s potential.

When Cortez sailed to the Yucatan in 1519, legend has it that he burned his boats, teaching his soldiers total commitment. There would be no going back. When God led the Israelites across the Red Sea, He made the waters flow over the pursuing Egyptians before the Israelites had even finished crossing. (Exodus 14:28-29)

The Israelites were in fact being propelled forward by the closing waters. There was no going back. When we seek deliverance from our own Egypt, whatever its source, rule number one is total commitment to the way forward.

Other techniques for defeating personal hard times emerge from the Exodus. I teach three practical and effective strategies in my audio CD, Let Me Go: How to Overcome Life’s Challenges and Escape Your Own Egypt. Many have employed these powerful tools to bring deliverance into their lives and I pray you will too. Please go ahead now and take advantage of 50% off for online orders and commit yourself to reaching your own promised land.

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