Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh, Rebekah

Rebekah is one such person that we have learned about many times. Of course, she is only a sideline to the story of Isaac, and then the mother to Jacob and Esau. In her early time, she is taught as the obedient and faithful servant of God who willingly goes to an unknown land to marry a perfect stranger--her cousin, Isaac. Interestingly enough, Rebekah gets the billing of a sneaky, conniving woman who helped to cheat her first-born son out of his blessing just a few short chapters later. 
In fact, teachers have often proudly proclaimed that, “even in these things, such as a conniving woman, God is able to make wonderful things happen.” Ah, here is where I begin to smell the smells of the old church basement... the wooden tables and matching miniature chairs... the heat from the overhead projector bulbs that sends the fumes of the hot plastic and marker into my nostrils... while the flannel graph sits quietly in the corner, waiting to tell the story of Jacob, complete with paper herds of spotted and speckled sheep and goats, and white paper men in striped robes and turbans.

But back to today’s topic. While I do believe that God is able to make wonderful things happen in any situation... I am wondering just how close or far from the mark this explanation falls in Rebekah’s case. When Rebekah was pregnant with the twins, God spoke directly to her regarding their relationship. He told her, “The sons in your womb will become two rival nations. One nation will be stronger than the other; the descendants of your older son will serve the descendants of your younger son.” (Gen. 25:23)
Rebekah and Jacob were very close. The day he swindled Esau’s birthright was probably the same day he told his mother about it. She knew. I bet she knew. With this birthright, Jacob was now entitled to all the rights and privileges of the first-born... a double-portion inheritance, even the blessing. So it does not surprise me that when Rebekah found out that Isaac was preparing to bless Esau, she jumped into action. Now I am not saying that I am a supporter of taking matters into our own hands all the time. All I am saying is that Jacob was highly favored by his mother; Esau by his father. There was certainly a rivalry there that extended even into the paternity of the twins.
I can’t say for sure, nor will I pretend to be a scholar in this area, but I think Rebekah was acting with a certain knowledge deep inside of her heart. And while the method may not have been smiled upon, the outcome was exactly what God had intended. Rebekah. Bound. Servant of God, yet still imperfect. 

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