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Rebekah, wife of Isaac. 221, May 28, 2020

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Rebekah, wife of Isaac. Was she a traitor or a protector of the vision?  Some say the gospel is lost by the third generation. The person who is initially called is strong in the Lord, the second-gen, not so strong, and by the third-gen, the connection between God and the person is that weak there is hardly a signal.  Abraham, called by God, was gen-one. Passionate enough to go to the end of the earth for his Lord. His son Isaac was gen-two and Abraham esteemed the prize of this marvellous calling to be too great to be lackadaisical when handing down the baton.

"Hey, Son, I'm buying you a wife. What sort would you like?"  This sounds like an Aussie version of Abraham talking to his son Isaac.   But, as you will see, Abraham was by no means leaving to chance the person who would marry his heritage-listed son, nor could such a momentous coupling go unplanned. Abraham didn't just get Isaac a wife, he got him a prize beyond measure.  When Isaac was of age, his father Abraham realised he needed a wife, but not just any wife. Genesis 24 reads that he got his Administrator servant to swear that he wouldn't let Isaac marry one of the local Canaanite girls.  Why not? What was at stake? When God made Eve from Adam's rib, who did he make? God made a woman whom both He and Adam could develop a relationship with based on a deep spiritual foundation. A woman who would truly be a helpmeet for both of them.  If Lucifer had been given the opportunity to make a woman from the same rib if it were possible, what sort of woman do you think she would be? Lucifer would have made sure all the pride, smugness, conceit and selfishness would have been within her, and the marriage would have struggled for all its days.    Canaan was full of marital wickedness and broken homes. Abraham was ensuring Isaac didn't simply follow his feelings or get trapped by the pouty smile and sexy look of the local girls. Abraham knew love was much broader, much deeper, and much more vital to God’s spiritual purpose than that. Isaac's upcoming responsibilities couldn't afford an unequally yoked partnership. Abraham was to hand this anointed son the baton of living by faith, and would, therefore, do his best to keep it from possible pollution.   Abraham understood the law of the priesthood long before it was written. Leviticus 21:7-8 mirrors Abraham's reasoning. It states, "They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy." Both Isaac and his wife-to-be were to be set aside for the ministry, so Abraham sought a virgin of his own people for Isaac. Someone with similar qualities of his own wife Sarah —  honourable, familiar, pure, and above all faithful to God and family. He knew the long search would be worth it.  The scenario and test Abraham sent his servant with many gifts to the region of his own family looking for this seemingly perfect wife. Then he sent an angel before the servant to prepare as only God can.  A particular well was the place of this great biblical interview for the position of wife.  As the women were coming to the well where the servant had set up the agreed scenario, the servant prayed a certain prayer, which was a bit like Gideon's prayer about his fleece.  He said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:  And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. (Gen 24:12-14) What faith to pray such a prayer. I think many marriages could do with prayers like this. Specific and faithful. Look closely again at that prayer and see what attributes might be noticed if it came to pass. What do you think the servant was looking for in this cunning plot? When Rebekah was the woman who came forward, the servant noticed marvellous character attributes — inner beauty as well as outward good looks.  Exactly as per the prayer, Rebekah, despite not knowing him, cheerfully lowered the water jar and got him a drink. This was a servant’s heart, with a smile. She then focussed on the camels — all ten of them and didn't stop until they were watered. Do you know how much water camels can drink?  This woman would go the extra mile when only one was asked for. I can just imagine her smiling and engaging in casual conversation with the servant as she went about her task, not caring if there was extra work. She loved to please. A very selfless outlook and quite the opposite of the Canaanite women.  That was two ticks out of three. The servant had established her character and was pleased her good looks came with it, so now there was only one last requirement; what was her lineage?  When Rebekah stated she was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, the servant rejoiced. Exactly as per the prayer! His only job now was to convince Rebekah and her parents that this was an opportunity of a lifetime not to be missed.  They all agreed, and she went with the servant, became Isaac’s wife and he loved her.  Remarkably, when it came to bearing children, Rebekah was barren, just like her mother-in-law Sarah. As with Sarah's case, this also required much prayer. It seems odd having two wives in such an important lineage unable to bear children, don't you think? It didn't end there either, as later Isaac’s daughter-in-law Rachel, suffered from the same problem. If you were God and trying to develop a lineage of faith, surely one of the main things you would attend to is the birth capabilities of the women? Yet, God is God, and after all, it was a walk of faith. Though, I don't think they realised so much of that faith would be needed just to bear the children of promise. After many years of prayer and pleading with the Lord, Rebekah got not one but two children in her womb. What a blessing you might say? It may have been all things being normal. Rebekah would have been more excited but had unbearable pain during the pregnancy. These two children within her womb seemed to be in conflict even before they were born. It was so upsetting that again we see Rebekah pleading with the Lord about birth irregularities. Gen 25:22 says, And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the birth. Struggling seems such an odd thing to do in a nice warm sac, where you aren't even sufficiently cognitive to know the person beside you. I guess it must have been like when we shared beds as kids, and the other person was hogging the bed or blankets and the wrestling began.    The Lord replied very clearly to her with a most sobering response.  Gen 25:23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. I don't think it was the reply she wanted to hear, as it meant more pregnancy pain until the birth and then family trouble after it. I guess every time the children argued or fought, Rebekah's mind would instantly go back to the agony of her pregnancy, as sometimes certain pains do with us.   I feel she would have rather preferred God say, “it’s just your indigestion, and will settle in a few a few days.” God needed a particular outcome and Rebekah was the chosen woman. He needed her attributes, precious heart and faithfulness to handle the coming issues. Each of the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had to deal with ministry difficulties. Each generational team delivered success in their lifetime, creating the next part of the project for the Lord. In our lifetime, the lord needs to place pressures on us to get His will on earth done. So, don't trouble yourselves overly, it's part of the journey.  When Isaac and Jacob’s boys were growing up, I think Rebekah wished Esau was someone else’s child. Despite his hunting prowess, he was rebellious and a god-forsaken burden to his parents. On the other hand, Jacob was passionate about God. As Isaac was to Abraham, Jacob was to Isaac, faithful and God-fearing. But did Isaac return that devotion? For some odd reason, and despite Esau's constant disobedience and flagrant disrespect, Isaac loved him more than Jacob. Isaac didn't seem to be able to see past the exterior of each son. He didn't seem able to discern the inner workings of a person. Maybe Abraham noticed that and that's why he got involved in the wife-choosing.  The deceit? Stealing the blessing? Something happened near the end of Isaac’s life. The time had come when the elder would serve the younger, but how was that going to come about? We have all heard of this great deceit, where Jacob fooled his father to wrest the blessing from the hands of Esau. Too many times, in fact. I believe there is a great misinterpretation of that story.  This deception has caused numerous preachers to call Rebekah a traitor to her husband and over-protective to her soft favourite boy Jacob, whom they called a deceiver. In fact, I was reading one writer's comments which projected Rebekah as a manipulating and selfish individual. That was not only harsh but a complete misunderstanding of the entire scenario.  I think if that person meditated over the story for a bit longer she would appreciate the difficulties in Rebekah’s life.  I believe Rebekah and her son Jacob are two of the most misunderstood figures in the Bible. I would not be surprised if Rebekah had premature worry lines on her forehead for most of her life, all to do with this upcoming problem. After all, she knew Jacob’s name meant Supplanter or deceiver and the swap between the elder and younger had to happen some way. Isaac's disproportionate love for Esau the rebellious is a struggle for Bible readers, as this alone created that scenario of much fame and the so-called deception of Jacob stealing the Blessing from under Esau and his dad’s nose. Esau thought he had it all in the bag. He had sold his birthright, which he didn't seem to care for anyhow, to Jacob for a mere bowl of stew, but now at least he could walk away with the blessing.  Isaac was about to give the Lord’s promise to this misfit. There was no wisdom in that. Rebekah had the wisdom and faith at this time, which called for cunning and fast thinking, and above all boldness in the Lord.  This beautiful wife knew from when the Lord spoke to her so many years before, that this time would come.  I’m not sure she realised then how critical this challenge would be when it finally arrived. I think a lesser woman would not have coped with the pressure. She told Jacob to dress up like Esau and deceive his father several times, which he was very reluctant to do. Rebekah knew this was the only way to carry out God’s work. Yes, this deception was the Lord’s doing. It was Rebekah who developed the deceptive scenario and stage-managed the entire scheme. Jacob, who has been maligned ever since was simply the reluctant actor who knew he was anointed.   Rebekah kept God’s words close to her heart and ensured the outcome God desired, even if it meant deceiving her elderly husband. For her, it was a toss-up between deceiving her husband or disobeying God. What would you have done? Would your mind have been in such turmoil that the opportunity would have slipped by with the blessing being given to Esau and you living a life of regret? Most times the Lord doesn't give us warning of the challenges up ahead, as He knows we might do a Jonah and run the other way. Yet, every one of us goes through something to achieve God’s will and bring an outcome that furthers his work.  I wonder what would have happened if God shared with that sweet girl at the well, the young Rebekah, that she would take twenty-odd years to have children, then bare a beast like Esau, then deceive her husband. She may very well have said, “No thanks, I’ll wait for a local boy” Summary I think Rebekah was a dream girl for Isaac and very special to the Lord. She had the wherewithal to develop her faith and trust in God as she grew older. I wouldn't be surprised if the very strength of faith required to have her children was the level that gave her the strength for the deception.  We can thank Rebekah for understanding how Isaac's passion for the wrong son would be an obstacle and worked her way around it. We all have blind spots and this seemed to be one of Isaac's.  It was Rebekah we need to thank for the spiritual lineage of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. If she didn't intervene it would have resulted in Abraham, Isaac and Esau, and then what? This was not a real deception like we see in white-collar crimes, this was more about safeguarding the crown jewels, and stopping them from being given to a despot instead of the deserving king. This was God-ordained.  Rebekah's faith and courage astound me the more I think about it. Was God wrong in His choice of Rebekah many years before? No, He chose the right girl. When pouring water for Abraham's servant, Rebekah had no idea she would flourish into such a great woman of faith.   


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