Have you ever made a poor decision, thinking you were doing the right thing? Perhaps you convinced yourself you were doing it out of love. Or maybe you reasoned the end justified the means. Whatever the reason behind the decision, did you grow to regret your actions?
In today’s episode we look at Rebekah, a woman who loved, lied, and ultimately lost.
Many consider the love story of Rebekah and Isaac to be one of the most beautiful in the Bible. It’s a story full of faith and romance, but it’s a story that ends in betrayal and disappointment. Something happened along the way in their lives where they lost sight of the love they once shared.
After Sarah died, Abraham decided it was time for Isaac to marry. Only he didn’t want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman neither did he want him to return to their homeland. He insisted that a woman from their kindred be brought to Canaan to be Isaac’s wife. So Abraham sent his trusted servant on a mission to find a suitable wife for his son.
The servant departed on his way, loaded down with camels and choice gifts for the bride to be. Overwhelmed by the responsibility and nervous that he might fail, he called out to God, asking for a sign. As he rested by the well on the outskirts of town, he prayed that God would reveal to him the right woman. He would ask her for a drink of water, and if she responded positively and also offered to water his camels, he would know that she was the one.
Sure enough, along came Rebekah, a beautiful young woman with a water jar on her shoulder. He asked for water. She gave him a drink then took care of his camels.
He had his sign.
He presented her with a gold nose ring and costly bracelets for her arms and asked if he might spend the night with her family. She responded with hospitality then ran ahead to let them what about this stranger and the message he’d shared.
The servant met with Rebekah’s menfolk asking if Rebekah might return to Canaan with him and marry Isaac. They gave their blessing but said the choice was hers. She readily agreed and left her family and friends in order to marry a man she’d never met.
What faith that must have taken to step out in faith that way, although I suspect the costly gifts could have been an influence. Did she go in response to God’s calling or a girlish desire to marry a wealthy man? We have no way of knowing.
We do know that Isaac loved her from the beginning and that she was a comfort to him after his mother’s death.
Like many Bible women, Rebekah spent many years barren. It’s interesting that Isaac is the one who prayed for Rebekah to conceive. And God answered his prayer with twins. But while they were still in the womb, they fought. Rebekah didn’t know what was going on, so she turned to the Lord, asking what was going on inside her. He responded by telling her, “Two nations are in our womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
Sure enough, when the babies arrived, Esau came first, with Jacob holding onto Esau’s heel.
In Genesis 25:26 we’re told that “Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” What a sad statement, and oh, the consequences because the parents played favoritism, preferring one son over the other.
The next mention of Rebekah is when a famine hits the land and Isaac and Rebekah journey to Gerar to escape the drought. With history repeating itself, Isaac imitates his father’s deception, telling the foreigners that Rebekah is his sister. Fortunately, this time no one approached Rebekah, and when the truth came out, the king merely warned the people not to harm the couple.
The Bible records one last incident with Rebekah, the stolen blessing. Isaac was considerably older than Rebekah, and when he knew his days were numbered, he called Esau to prepare for his blessing. Rebekah overheard and panicked. Esau had given up his birthright years ago. It belonged to Jacob now. Not to mention, God’s promise to her that the younger would rule. She wasn’t taking any chances nor letting God do His will. No, she decided to take matters into her own hands so that nothing could go wrong.
She gave Jacob instruction and assisted him in deceiving his father. And they succeeded. Before Esau returned home, Jacob had the blessing. How hurt both Isaac and Esau both must have felt to have been betrayed in such a way.
But even though Rebekah had her way, in the end, she lost. Isaac sent Jacob away to Paddan-aram, Rebekah’s homeland, so that he might find a wife. From that point on, Rebekah never got to see her beloved son again. She was left to live her last days with the husband and son she’d betrayed.
What trials we create for ourselves when we try to upstage God and take matters into our own hands. Although God will ultimately prevail, we lose out on the blessings we would have received had we waited and trusted in Him.
What about you today? Are you having a hard time waiting? Are you frustrated that God isn’t doing things the way you think they should be done? Have you lost faith in God’s ability?
If so, take a moment today to step back and reflect on God’s awesome powers. Look back at times in your life when God took care of you in unexpected ways. Resist the urge to move forward when God is telling you to step back. Remember that His ways are always better than our ways.
Lord God, we come to you asking for your strength to help us hold off and wait when all we want to do is storm ahead. Give us the patience we need to make it through the waiting days. Forgive us for those times in the past when we didn’t wait. Restore to us the relationship with you that comes when we fully trust you with our future. Guide us in the days to come. We love you. In Christ name. Amen.
Tune in next week when we talk about Rachel, a woman betrayed by her father but forever loved by her husband.
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