Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Rebekah the Mother of Esau and Jacob, is a lesson in struggling through:1) A disappointed home (Genesis 25:19-21), 2) A distressed home (Genesis 25:22–23) and 3) A divided home (Genesis 25:24–28).

At the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), language was introduced into the Agreed Conclusions document that labels “unpaid care work” (including the work of mothers) as a “burden” that should be eliminated through “recognizing, reducing, and redistributing,” including through “National Care Systems” (That is: government-sponsored daycare). While childcare can be a great help to those who need it, claiming that the government is a better parent than a stay-at-home mother is degrading to women. Not only that, but it is simply not true. And while some feminists proudly support this claim, what they do not realize is that it actually disempowers women. The anti-motherhood movement says that women who choose to stay home have no value, because daycare could do a better job raising their children. According to them, by staying home these women are failing to contribute to society. Motherhood is tough enough without the added struggle to even justify the role itself. (http://www.citizengo.org/en/fm/57355-empowermothers-tell-un-motherhood-not-burden)

Rebekah, as recorded in Genesis 25, struggled with infertility, family conflict and the future for her boys Esau and Jacob. Starting from the point of God’s apparent abandonment, well beyond her child bearing years, she wondered how God would fulfill His promises to her family. Even when God did seem to grant her prayers that her husband brought before God, God did so, in a way that seemed to just bring more trouble. So much trouble that she wondered why this was all happening to her. God’s answer to her plight only seemed to bring more confusion. Her story is a story of struggle, faith and mistakes. It is such a real story that we can see ourselves in the struggle.

Rebekah’s story should cause us to ask real and tough questions of ourselves. How do we properly respond when things don’t seem to be progressing? What do we do when difficulties only seem to get worse? How do we learn from past mistakes, and what do we do to avoid falling into the same trap? Rebekah’s story shows the reality of motherhood in all its struggles, conflict and pain. But it is a story of God’s faithfulness even when everything seems to be going wrong. It should direct us, encourage us and cause us all to be awed in the wisdom, workings and majesty of God.

Rebekah the Mother of Esau and Jacob, is a lesson in struggling through:

1) A disappointed home (Genesis 25:19-21), 2) A distressed home (Genesis 25:22–23) and 3) A divided home (Genesis 25:24–28).

Rebekah the Mother of Esau and Jacob, is a lesson in struggling through:

1) A Disappointed home (Genesis 25:19–21).

Genesis 25:19–21 19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. (ESV)

Barrenness in those days was a real reproach for the couple but especially for the woman. And for Isaac and Rebekah it was also a real test of their faith, for God had promised Isaac that the promised seed (Christ the Messiah would come through him [Genesis 21:12]), but without any children that promise seemed impossible to fulfill. (Butler, J. G. (2008). Analytical Bible Expositor: Genesis (p. 238). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.)

• Life is often full of disappointments. But it is faithfulness through these challenges that the Glory of God shines. Real faith is not getting everything we want when we want it, but trusting God to give us what is good, in His timing. The faith of Rebekah stands as an example of perseverance through temporal disappointment.

The reference in verse 20 to ‘Bethuel’, the father of Rebekah and Laban (25:20), takes us back to Isaac’s marriage to Rebekah and prepares us for the account of Jacob’s journey to Padan Aram. Isaac was forty when he took/married Rebekah. According to the rabbis, men normally took a wife/married before they were twenty. Verse 26 gives us the added detail that Isaac was ‘sixty years old’ when his wife first gave birth (25:26). Not only did he marry twenty years later than most men, but he was married for twenty years before they had children.

• The statistical trend is for people to have children later in life. Although there are biological challenges to this decision, the Story of Rebekah is that Motherhood can indeed be rewarding even in the later years of life.

Rebekah had left her father’s home with the blessing of having many children ringing in her ears (24:60). It was a miserable position for any woman from the ancient Near East to be in; how much more so for people who believed the divine promises concerning many descendants! This is almost a rerun of the problem that confronted Abraham and Sarah. Isaac and Rebekah could have gone in for the ancient equivalent of surrogate motherhood, but they did not. Isaac may appear to have been a rather passive figure, but in his favour it must be said that he did not make the mistake of his parents. He did not seek to force God’s hand. It was a real test of faith as the years went by and they remained childless. In carrying forward his plans God also trains his people. His apparent delays are for their good. The husband and wife may have been specially selected to be participants in the program for God’s chosen people, but they had to wait for God to open the womb.( Redford, D. (2008). The Pentateuch (Vol. 1, p. 102). Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing.)

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