Isaac and Rebekah start their family. They are blessed with twins. But that “blessing” comes with extreme sibling rivalry.
We met Rebekah just a short while ago in our time together. She came from the land of Abraham’s family. She was Abraham’s great niece. Now she was his daughter-in-law. She married Isaac three years after the death of his mother.
Rebekah was unable to have children, just like Isaac’s mother Sarah had been. We see Isaac do something that we are not told that Abraham ever did. Isaac prays for Rebekah’s barrenness. And God hears his prayer.
We aren’t told Abraham prayed for Sarah in this area but he was promised offspring by God in spite of what was going on with his wife’s body. He also accepted Sarah’s idea to “help” God out by giving Abraham her maidservant Hagar to have children for her. Did she ever ask Abraham to intercede on her behalf with God? Did he ever think to do this on his own for her? Or did they both simply accept life as it was? Abraham had a promise but we don’t see him asking God who that promise would come through.
Isaac loved Rebekah and wanted HER to be the mother of his children. Abraham’s promise included future generations and God told him that Isaac was the one that promise would be fulfilled through. Did he encourage Isaac to be patient and see what God had in store? Or did he inspire him to seek God’s help for Rebekah?
Twenty years pass before Rebekah finally has a child. Was Isaac praying all that time or did she conceive soon after his prayers started? Rebekah and Isaac are blessed with a special pregnancy; twins! Rebekah didn’t know what was going on inside her that her womb rolled and shook so much, but she knew where to take her concerns to. God healed her barrenness so He would have the answers to what was happening within her.
Two nations; two peoples. Twins! That must have been amazing news to her ears. But then God threw something else in there. He told Rebekah that her children would be divided. One would be stronger than the other and the older would serve the younger. I wonder what kind of images came to her mind from these words? Did she think one would have some kind of ailment to be weaker than the other? Did she wonder which would be the stronger? Did she contemplate what kind of “serving” the older would be doing? Did she imagine how the younger would take the place expected of the older? Did she wonder what sexes her children would be?
I don’t imagine that with this knowledge peace settled upon her or her womb. I think that, like Mary MANY centuries later, she pondered God’s words in her heart. Did she share them with Isaac? What did he say if she did? Would he have set his mind on making sure the birth order requirements remained in the proper order or would he have accepted God’s words and watched how He brought it about?
Because of how our story unfolds later, I’m thinking Rebekah kept this conversation with God to herself. Did she at least let him know that they were having twins? Imagine the different reactions when they were born if she didn’t. She was prepared for double the duty, including labor. He wasn’t. There was no pause between their births though. Jacob had hold of his brother’s foot and came immediately following him. That must have been a VERY uncomfortable birth for Rebekah as she had to pass a head with an arm at the same time! I wonder if that trauma was why they never had any more children.
I can imagine Rebekah running Isaac off if he tried praying for her “barrenness” again! “Two is plenty!” Besides that, they each had their favorites. Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite because he was quiet and stayed in camp with her. Isaac loved Esau best because of the meat he brought home for him. Did Esau cook these meals or did Jacob or Rebekah cook them? Did Isaac teach Esau to hunt?
I would love to know a bit more about Jacob and Esau’s childhood. They fought one another in the womb; did they fight continually as children? Jacob was the “quiet one” but he was also known as a schemer. I imagine Esau was the physically stronger one. Were Jacob’s “digs” at Esau sneaky? Did he exhibit “passive aggressive” behaviors? Did Esau ever “pound on” his younger brother? How did their parents react to their obvious differences? Did they try to make them get along or did they accept their conflicts as part of the process of growing up?
I remember trying to find things that ALL my kids enjoyed and could be included in. It wasn’t easy when I had such varying interests and temperaments. They often “fought like cats and dogs” too. They are better with distance between them. Maybe that is how Isaac and Rebekah felt with their two sons being so different.
Father God, I was thinking about “favorite children” today while reading the obvious favoritism in Isaac’s household. Honestly I can’t say I had a “favorite child” among my four. Some days it was easier to be closer to one or another, especially when they were in need. David was the hardest to parent because of his temper and the fact that his temper reminded me of my own. Thank You for getting us BOTH through those years!!! I love spending “girl time” with Kelyana, especially when it comes to her doing special things with my hair. Don challenged me with finding a connecting point. When trying to do pretend play, he wanted to make all the rules and be all the players. I was an observer only. Joseph held onto David’s coat tails so tight it was hard to get time with the two of us. We did have several years when he was really little that we got to do things together. Thank You for those times.
Thank You for the blessing of children. Thank You also for answered and unanswered prayers. You know what I’m talking about on the “unanswered” side. Let’s just keep that between us. But it really wasn’t unanswered; it was just a “no” instead. Thank You for that answer.
Remind me always of the special times You granted me with my children. AND grandchildren. Let me shine You love every time we are together! Let me enjoy the uniqueness of each of them and help them build their future on what You planted in their lives at conception. Help me nurture their individuality without giving up completely on them as a group too.