Do you ever start to doubt God? Do you ever start to think that things will never get better? Do you ever start to feel hopeless? Do you ever feel desperate? Genesis tells us about a time when Rebekah started to act desperate. Yahweh had told Rebekah one thing, but then as life unfolded, it seemed that the opposite was about to happen. Rebekah’s subsequent actions are a lesson for us in what not to do in that situation.
When Rebekah conceived, Yahweh told her she would have twins. Notice what she was told about the twins’ future.
Gen. 25:21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Gen. 25:22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
Gen. 25:23 The LORD said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger.”
Gen. 25:24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Gen. 25:25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.
Gen. 25:26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
Yahweh told Rebekah that the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob), and that the younger would be stronger than the older. The Bible doesn’t say whether or not she told Isaac about this.
Now notice the favoritism in the parent-child relationship.
Gen. 25:27 ¶ When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.
Gen. 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Rebekah favored Jacob while Isaac favored Esau. Now notice what the Bible tells us about the birthright.
Gen. 25:29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished;
Gen. 25:30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
Gen. 25:31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”
Gen. 25:32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”
Gen. 25:33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Gen. 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. The Bible doesn’t tell us whether or not Isaac or Rebekah knew about this sale.
Years later Jacob decided to bless Esau. In their culture, a blessing was very similar to an inheritance, and the older typically got the majority of the blessing. As you read about Rebekah’s scheme to influence the blessing, remember that Rebekah not only favored Jacob, but she had been told by Yahweh that Jacob would be stronger than Esau.
Gen. 27:1 ¶ Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son.” And he said to him, “Here I am.”
Gen. 27:2 Isaac said, “Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death.
Gen. 27:3 “Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me;
Gen. 27:4 and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.”
Gen. 27:5 ¶ Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home,
Gen. 27:6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying,
Gen. 27:7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.’
Gen. 27:8 “Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you.
Gen. 27:9 “Go now to the flock and bring me two choice young goats from there, that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father, such as he loves.
Gen. 27:10 “Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death.”
Gen. 27:11 Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, “Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man.
Gen. 27:12 “Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.”
Gen. 27:13 But his mother said to him, “Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.”
Gen. 27:14 So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food such as his father loved.
Gen. 27:15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son.
Gen. 27:16 And she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck.
Gen. 27:17 She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob.
Gen. 27:18 ¶ Then he came to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
Gen. 27:19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”
Gen. 27:20 Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me.”
Gen. 27:21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
Gen. 27:22 So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
Gen. 27:23 He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
Gen. 27:24 And he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And he said, “I am.”
Gen. 27:25 So he said, “Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, that I may bless you.” And he brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank.
Gen. 27:26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Please come close and kiss me, my son.”
Gen. 27:27 So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said,
“See, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed;
Gen. 27:28 Now may God give you of the dew of heaven,
And of the fatness of the earth,
And an abundance of grain and new wine;
Gen. 27:29 May peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you;
Be master of your brothers,
And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
And blessed be those who bless you.”
Why did Rebekah instigate this deception? Yes, she favored Jacob, but perhaps she was also afraid that Yahweh’s promise regarding Jacob would not be fulfilled unless she acted. Maybe she believed that if Isaac blessed Esau, then Esau would always be stronger than Jacob and that was the opposite of what Yahweh had told her . It’s also possible she believed that Yahweh’s promise about Jacob justified any action on her part that would make Jacob stronger than Esau.
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Rebekah did what she did, but the Bible does make it clear that God did not need her help to carry out His promise; nor is any problem ever too difficult for Him.
Matt. 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus said very clearly that all things are possible with God. It is understandable why Rebekah may have feared that Esau was about to become stronger than Jacob, but Yahweh had said that Esau would serve Jacob, and that would have happened even if Isaac had blessed Esau. Yahweh did not need Rebekah’s help to fulfill His promise.
Likewise with us, no matter how bleak life may seem, we should always have hope because nothing is too difficult for God. He doesn’t need our help to fix our problems and we don’t need to sin in order to solve our problems. No matter how big our problems are, God is able to solve them. No matter how unlikely it seems that we will ever be in a position to use our natural abilities, God is able to put us in that position. No matter how stubborn and rebellious a particular person may be, God is able to break them. With God, all things are possible.
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