There was a great discussion at our meeting on Saturday. It was utterly spontaneous and had almost nothing to do with the segment of Scripture we would be reading that day. The discussion delayed our normal procedure for more than half an hour and caused us to post-pone much of our service until later that evening. It was perfect. And whenever the spirit of God and the passion of men to wrestle with Scripture challenges the status quo, we'll never hesitate to follow the leading of the moment. I really, really appreciate the guys and gals that made it happen.
Speculations continued that it is only a rabbinic suggestion that Yochaved was born en-route, that it is possible that she could have been born at any time of the captivity during Levi's lifespan (100 years into the occupation).
Then the question was raised about Genesis 6:3, that "man's days shall be 120 years." If God had ordained that man should not live longer than 120 years, how could she (Yochaved) have been so old, as well as so many other people?
We know that there are a number of people after the flood who lived longer than 120 years. One suggestion was that the 120 years was to be considered an average age (later that number would be reduced even to the age of 70 (Psalm 90)). Another suggestion was that we simply don't understand what God meant by His striving with men. Finally, it was suggested that the 120 years was God's warning to Moses as to how long he had before the flood would come.
There was no conclusion. There was no agreement. All the knowledge we collectively had was laid out and everyone was left to make their own judgment. It was beautiful.
This is probably the biggest difference between what we practice and what you will find in the modern church. Our pursuit of truth doesn't always end in agreement. It does, however, always end with a respect for those who believe differently, and an appreciation for the fact that there is more to truth than what we immediately understand. If you came into the discussion we shared last week-end, with your opinion already established and were not moved in any way by it, then you would have gained nothing and would have completely missed this manifestation of Christ's love. These people are sincerely reaching beyond their own personal experiences or opinions, raising their neighbors in dignity (even without knowing them personally) and growing together. That's what, I believe, is missing from modern religion today more than anything. I am so privileged to see it growing before me today... and I didn't have a thing to do with it, other than to sit back and watch it happen!