Old Testament times parallel today’s Muslim cultures. Vertical relationships predominated then, so that decisions made by the head of a family held for the whole of a family.
One wonders about the dynamics of Abram’s moving out of Ur in the nineteenth century BC. After the death of Terah, the Lord nudged Abram again and this time the patriarch went willingly enough.
When the people of Israel finally entered Canaan under Joshua’s military leadership, it seems that the Lord was still willing to work within the norms of a culture in which vertical relationships were so dominant. All parties understood that it was a family affair.
In such society, it was enshrined in its law that the young should stand up in the presence of the aged.
“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:32
Certainly, also, it was understood that God’s self-revelation would be expressed in terms of condescension. The Lord of heaven and earth is not a man’s ‘buddy’.
When Peter and Stephen preached to Jewish audiences they emphasised that God the Father had glorified His servant Jesus by raising Him from the dead. In the heady days of signs and wonders and conflict with the authorities, the apostles proclaim a message about honour and dishonour, about the human abandonment of a vertical relationship between God and His people.