LET GOD HANDLE IT: How Rebekah Deeply Hurt Herself

So often, when we want to fix things by ourselves rather than depend on God, we make a bigger mess and end up hurting ourselves badly.

I was reminded of this today as I read the story of Isaac’s dysfunctional family in Genesis 27. Before their twins were born, Rebekah learnt through prophecy that the younger son will be greater than the older. After the boys were born, Isaac loved Esau (the older, outgoing son) while Rebekah loved Jacob (the younger one who loved staying at home).

I can imagine that while Esau pursued his interests outside, Jacob helped his mum with housework. He may have helped her with some gardening around the house and he learnt how to care for the livestock as well.

Jacob was the one his mum could talk to. Women like to complain, they need someone who stays by them to listen and possibly do whatever he can to make things better when they do.

“There’s a new hole at the rear of the goat pen,” Rebekah would say.

“Let me take a look,” Jacob would respond.” I should be able to close it with more sticks and twines.”

Jacob would be there to help his mum wash and comb her hair and tell her how beautiful she still looked. He would savour her cooking and compliment her on it. He would assure her everything would be fine when she worried about Isaac’s darkening sight and his other signs of ageing.

Esau, on the hand, didn’t hang around to chat. He didn’t stay at home long enough to notice anything. He came in tired from his roaming and hunting. He ate, slept and was off again.

That was why he married two wives who brought so much distress to his parents. He didn’t mean to hurt anyone. He just had no idea what his parents liked and disliked. He didn’t know what mattered to them.

Against this background, it may seem understandable that Rebekah wanted to favour Jacob over Esau, hence her scheme to have him steal her husband’s blessing which he had promised to Esau, his oldest son.

But Jacob was already destined to be on top and by doing that, Rebekah gave herself a devastating blow. To escape his brother’s anger after stealing his blessing, Jacob had to run far away to his mother’s kindred. Rebekah who proposed this probably thought it would be a short-lived journey till Esau’s anger blowed over as she said in Genesis 27: 44.

Unfortunately, Jacob stayed in Haran for 20 years and the journey back took some years because with his large family and livestock, he had to camp for long at different points. If Rebekah ever saw Jacob again, it would have been briefly at the burial of his father Isaac.

Remember there was no telephone back then, no post office and telegraph lines. So Rebekah did not hear the voice of her precious son nor receive any physical communication of his thoughts all that time. How she must have pined for him!

By plotting to grasp for him what was already his by divine mandate, Rebekah pushed Jacob out of the comfort of their home where he had everything he wanted into a life of servitude where he was treated horribly by her unscrupulous brother, Laban. This is how Jacob described his working condition under his uncle, Laban:

38 “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 
39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. 
40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 
41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. 
42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed.”
– Genesis 31:38-42 (NIV).

I don’t believe Rebekah was unruffled while Jacob suffered. She must have felt his pain somehow. Such is the bond between a mother and her child, particularly one that she is emotionally attached to. How often did she stay awake at night, troubled and restless due to Jacob’s suffering? How often did she cry and wish she could go to him, see him and hug him? But she couldn’t. Travelling was highly perilous then. Besides, she couldn’t leave her aged husband and the family she was a matriarch of to go to Jacob. And she too was getting along in years.

This whole pain could have been avoided if Rebekah hadn’t played smart to advance her favourite son.

So next time an important matter arises, let God handle it. Or ask Him how to do it if you’re required to act and follow His direction. Don’t think you’ve figured everything out and rush to do what you think is best. Only God knows the end from the beginning. He alone knows what is best in every situation.

Hence the Bible admonishes as follows:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own wisdom; 6 follow His guidance in everything you do, and He will direct your paths.” – (Proverbs 3:5-6 paraphrased)

Have a happy Sunday! 😊

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