Do you remember the way we used to take pictures? We had a camera with actual film. Photographs were saved for major events— the first day of school, birthdays, weddings, etc. As you can remember (or can imagine), it took a while just to take all 24 or 48 pictures, but you had to wait even longer for your images to come back to you after you sent them off. All too often, eyes were closed, finger was in the way, or it was blurry. Some bad images still made it into the photo album though, because photographs were kind of a big deal back then.
In today’s digitally driven world, we are constantly taking photographs! We snap pictures of ourselves, our outfits, our food— anything and everything that we find ourselves doing from day to day! If something doesn’t look great to us, we can easily delete it and not give it a second thought! Eyes closed? Delete and retake!
My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this past March. We decided to take some time to look back at our photo albums. We saw pictures from our first date, our wedding, and many other milestone events, but we never saw any pictures of our first fight or any of our major disappointments. We really don’t want to even remember those times where we lost our temper or made poor decisions, much less take a picture of it, but those choices and other memories that we’ve shared together have helped us grow in incredible ways.
When we view people in the Bible, we are usually just seeing a snapshot of them. We see a small instance of their lives, and sometimes those images are very positive, but others are not flattering at all. Regardless, it was all written for our learning and comfort (Romans 15:4). Let’s look at a few “photographs” together:
Abigail is an interesting wife in the Old Testament. She was known as an intelligent and beautiful woman according to I Samuel 25:3. Her husband, however, was harsh and evil in all his doings. As we read the story of Abigail, we see how she prevented David from killing her evil husband by offering sound advice and doing good to David and his men. Part of her “doing good” to David and his men was found in the food that she prepared for them, which was certainly not an easy task.
“Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs.” (I Samuel 25:18 )
It wasn’t as if she could run to Walmart and get a few buckets of fried chicken and rolls— this took preparation and courage! This simple action showed who she was at the heart. Despite her husband’s evil living, Abigail was a woman of good character, and our snapshot of her life proves just that.
Another wife in the Old Testament for us to look at is Mrs. Job. I find it interesting that she is never given a name in Scripture, but her story lives on nonetheless. She was married to a blameless and upright man, one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). We know she was a wealthy woman with a large family because of what is told of Job. Sometimes we focus on all that Job lost on that fateful day, but we need to remember that Mrs. Job lost it all too— her 10 children, their servants, their livestock and their wealth. She also, in a way, lost her own husband. He couldn’t be there to comfort her because he was constantly being bombarded by Satan’s hand. The glimpse of Mrs. Job isn’t a very flattering one when we see her asking her husband, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). I’m sure that she desperately wished she could take those words back and not have our description of her be something so negative. Don’t you feel that way about some memories from your past? Words we could take back. Events we could change. Despite her husband’s righteousness, Mrs. Job’s “picture” show her sharp words and quick tongue.
Lastly, lets focus on a mighty couple in God’s Word. Aquila and Priscilla have multiple photos of their life in the Bible, and they are very encouraging pictures. We read about them beginning in Acts 18, where they first meet Paul while working together as tent makers. They were a hard-working couple for the Lord, extremely hospitable (Acts 18:3,11), teaching others (Acts 18:26), and even risking their lives for Paul’s life (Romans 16:4). The church even met in their home (Romans 16:5). We may not know all the details of the rest of their story, but enough of these two is shown that we know that their strong marriage supported their strong work in the early church, a picture that we should continue in the ages to come.
If we’re being realistic, we know that there will be down-sides in our lives. There will be pictures that we just want to delete and forget forever. However, we must always remember to remember to behave like Christ (Romans 12:9-21).
Don’t you hope others can look back on photo albums of your life and see a Christian woman or couple working hard for the Lord just like Abigail, Mrs. Job, and Aquila and Priscilla did? And, if it doesn’t look like Christ above all, what can you do to change it today?