Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rebekah - From Maidenhood to Motherhood - part 2

Haven't read Rebekah - From Maidenhood to Motherhood - part 1 yet? Read it now!

I've been settling into my role as Isaac's wife, learning to run the household, and oversee the daily tasks of a home. However, something was missing. I was barren; I had no children to hold, love, and take care of. I loved Isaac, and was happy to be his wife, yet I was lonely for little ones to fill the whole in my mother's heart. For nearly 20 years, life went on without children.

Then, Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of me, and the LORD answered his prayer! I became pregnant, yet there was this jostling inside me, which felt quite weird. So, I inquired of the LORD, wondering what was happening. The LORD said to me, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." How exciting! I must be bearing twins - a double blessing from the LORD! However, it sounds as things won't always be peaceful... "The older will serve the younger?" That's not the way things are done...

Rebekah did indeed have twins, twin boys; Esau was the elder, Jacob the younger. The boys grew up, each turning out to be quite different in their own unique way. Esau was a hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was quiet, preferring to stay among the tents. Sadly, we learn that Isaac and Rebekah each picked a favorite son. Isaac preferred the skillful hunter, Esau, since he really relished wild game. Rebekah, however, loved Jacob, maybe because he was around more, and there to help her when she needed him.

There was indeed strife among the brothers. Jacob, whose very name figuratively means "he deceives" got the impulsive Esau to sell him the birthright that belonged to the eldest son, for merely a simple bowl of red stew.

There was later a famine in the land, and Isaac took his family to Gerar. There the LORD appeared to him, telling him to stay in Gerar, and promising to bless him and give his descendents much land. When men of Gerar asked Isaac about Rebekah, he became afraid, and lied, saying, "She is my sister." Isaac and Rebekah repeated the mistake of Abraham and Sarah, by lying instead of trusting God for protection. God protecting Rebekah, however, and caused the king of Gerar, Abimelech to learn the truth that Rebekah was really Isaac's wife. Abimelech ordered his subjects not to harm Isaac or his family in any way, and Isaac became very rich and prosperous. Eventually, Isaac was too powerful for Abimelech's taste, and Abimelech asked Isaac to leave.

Esau and Jacob continued to grow, and Esau married Judith and Basemath, two Hittite women. "They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah" (Genesis 26:35), no doubt wishing that their son had married within the family.

Isaac grew old, and his eyesight failed him. Thinking he was near death, he asked Esau to prepare for him his favorite wild game and bring it to him; afterwards, he would give Esau his blessing. Rebekah, however, obviously couldn't resist listening in on Isaac and Esau. She probably remembered the promise God had given her that the older would serve the younger, and wanted to make sure her beloved Jacob would really prosper. Instead of trusting God to work things out in His way, she took things into her own hands, having Jacob prepare a meal, and dressing him up to feel and smell like Esau. Jacob carried out his part well, and they succeeded in getting Isaac to bless Jacob as the eldest son. Scarcely had Jacob left Isaac's tent when Esau came in, bearing the game he had caught and prepared. Outraged, he learned that his brother had stole his blessing, and began to nurse a grudge against Jacob, planning to kill him when his brother was dead. Not wanting Jacob to be harmed, Rebekah sent him away to her brother Laban, wanting him to find a wife from among her own people and have a safe place to stay, far from the angry Esau.

That was the last time Rebekah saw Jacob, for she died before he returned. Learn from Rebekah, and trust God. I don't know how God would have worked things out, had she not deceived Isaac and had him give Jacob the blessing, but it surely would have worked out for a better end then two brothers having to separate because one wanted to kill the other. Trust is such a prevalent theme throughout the Bible. If we simply trusted Him, instead of trying to work out things in our own strength, things would be so much better. Yet, how hard it is for us to trust, for our human nature wants us to think that we can do things by ourselves, without help from anyone. But remember, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." ~ Proverbs 3:5

Read all about Rebekah in Genesis 24:1-28:9


Miriam Rebekah said...

Very well written, Anna. This was the part where I was having some trouble. Thanks for doing it!

It is sad how she could've gone from a sweet young girl to helping her son deceive his father and brother.

Ella said...

Anna, there are two things in this post that strike me. First is that women wanting children and babies has been a natural thing in life since the beginning of time. It's cool.

Second is that I agree with Miriam. It is sad that Rebekah changed. I am trying to think of some logical answer to what would have happened if Esau had the birthright, but then I can't. I am not in the position to judge God's plans and ways. They are far above my own! (Thank goodness for that!)

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

This part of the story always makes me sad. It is still encouraging to see God answer Isaac's prayer and give Rebekah children after all those years.