Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sporting With Isaac

"And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and behold Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife, and Abimelech called Isaac and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife." (Gen. 26: 8,9)

Sound familiar? Like his father, Abraham, Isaac tried to pawn his beautiful wife off as his sister. And again, like his father, he was found out. In his case, he "blew his cover" by treating Rebekah in a way that a husband treats a wife, not like a brother would treat his sister. The verse says he was "sporting" with her. Now we could read all sorts of things into this, and quite possibly be right, but I'm not getting into particulars here. I’m merely trying to establish a principle. There is a kind of banter and frivolous exchange that should be reserved for husbands and wives.

The family in which I grew up (and my own family now) is notoriously known for teasing. Family gatherings are characterized by jokes, puns, quick responses, and absurd mimicking. This is all well and good within the family; and, frankly, I think a marriage without mirth would be like a pill without water: hard to swallow! But when I find myself verbally "sporting" with men other than my husband, on a regular basis, I personally feel I have gone beyond Biblical limits of discretion and good taste. I'm not suggesting other relationships cannot include laughter or joking, but Paul does talk about foolish jesting that is not "convenient," which I define as inappropriate.

You are free, of course, to do what you will with this little warning. I will trust the Holy Spirit to bear witness in your heart—if He sees fit.

"Let not then your good be evil spoken of." (Rom.14:16)

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