Oh Rebekah. Like the ultimate helicopter parent, she seeks to save God’s Will through immaculate deception. Surely God needed her to rescue the situation. Surely without her willingness to manipulate the situation, all of eternity would be damaged and his purpose for her son would never be realized. Maybe I’m being too hard on her. But seriously.
There are so many angles here…
First, Isaac surely knows that God ordained “the elder (esau) to serve the younger (jacob),” even before they were born. (Genesis 25:23) But still, he makes plans to give his blessing to Esau…in a secret ceremony for two, rather than the traditional way of presenting the blessing in front of the whole family. Hmmm.
Second, Esau has already shown contempt for tradition – and his family – by trading his birthright for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:33) and marrying women who brought grief to his parents (Genesis 26:35). This leaves room for his mom and brother to argue that he has disqualified himself from deserving his father’s blessing.
Third, Jacob’s response to his mother’s plan isn’t one of spiritual integrity, but of circumstantial questions: What if my father touches me? What if he figures out that I’m tricking him? In other words, he’s covering his own booty. More concerned about being caught, than being ethical.
Finally, Rebekah panics. She sees circumstances unfold that are contrary to God’s purpose for Jacob…so she takes control. (Oh, how we love to take control!) God clearly told her that Jacob would lead the family, not Esau. So she is completely compelled to save Jacob’s blessing. Immediately – without stopping to chat with God or consider his ways – she goes to work. Potting. Planning. Directing.
As I see it, each of these family members could write a very convincing editorial, defending his/her actions and convincing the reading public that every action was justified…even according to God’s purposes. Figuratively speaking, isn’t that what we do? We use circumstances to defend our actions, instead of weighing our actions against God’s Word.
So, each of them was wrong. Each one sinned. Was it because God’s Will needed to be rescued? Of course not. Was it because God wrongly denied Esau his rightful place as heir and leader? No. When I question God’s sovereignty and his ability to work out his plan – in his own way, in his own time – I start to act like Rebekah. A panicked control freak.
Just as it did for Isaac’s family, sin separates me from other people and from God. It causes guilt and fear and unrest and a domino-effect of suffering. I’m so incredibly thankful that God forgives completely. And thankful for Rebekah’s reminder that hijacking control never results in peace or family unity. Instead, I need to weigh circumstances against God’s Word and wait for HIS wisdom. And for HIS direction.
side note: I had to do a little research to understand the difference between birthright and blessing. Here’s what I learned:
BIRTHRIGHT is a right to Inheritance. Whichever child receives the birthright – usually the firstborn son – also receives a double portion of the family estate.
BLESSING is a right to Leadership. Whichever child receives the blessing – again, usually the firstborn son – is designated as the head of the extended family, following the father’s death.