One of the stories that really gets to me in the Bible is Jacob and Esau. But it's not Jacob who I'm really angry at, it's Rebekah. I just don't understand how someone so specifically chosen by God for marriage to Isaac- can deceive her own husband by helping her favorite son to plot against her other son. (Genesis 26-28)
It's terrible. Imagine your husband being on the edge of death-- hard of hearing, sight going, difficulty recognizing people and remembering things-- yet in the midst of his dying stage, you find yourself being obsessed with your own desires and the desires of your favorite son. So much so, that you craft a plot to deceive the love of your life. To dress Jacob up in hairy clothes and hunter's smells, in order to lie to Isaac.
Did she realize what she was planning would break the family apart?
Thinking about Rebekah though, she's no prostitute or outsider, she's not new to the faith or religion. Instead, Genesis 24 paints her as the poster child for the Proverbs 31 women. For she was kind, generous, beautiful, a virgin, prayed for, given by God after a signal had been shown proving she was the one.
So my question is this- my frustration and difficulty lies here- how can a family that starts with God- holy dedication and love- go so wrong? How can a couple submitted to each other in prayer deceive each other so coldly?
When did favoritism show it's ugly tail? How did the love grow so cold?
Why do so many couples in the church lack love for each other? Yes they can play so perfect serving in church and serve the right rolls during communion, yet those very same people yelled at each other all the way to church? Those very same couples are having an affair.
Why is divorce so prevalent even in the church? Why is making families and doing them Christ's way so hard?
Ellen White writes that "One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God's directions, and that their children will serve Him in the church." There is no missionary field more important than the home and family, no greater testimony than a family that loves God and loves each other. Yet Satan loves to attack families.
A few summers ago, I wrote a skit about the story of Esau and Jacob with the theme of "God heals broken families" and I think this is important for us to remember as individuals and the church. It's easy to look around at families and point out all the problems. And it's easy for me to look at this story about Rebekah and Isaac and their sons and point a blaming finger at Rebekah.
But blaming others, is not Biblical, and there are so many factors we don't understand in their story about their family. Relationships are hard and problems that arise are often a two way street. We don't know how Rebekah and Isaac got to this point, where they were obviously harvesting some negative feelings toward each other as well as playing favorites and choosing teams as a family. But one thing, we can learn from this story as we read further into Genesis is that God will not give up on us or our families.
He will not leave us in sin and it's consequences. He doesn't start what he won't fulfill, and he didn't just help Isaac find Rebekah and then leave them a broken story ending. Our heavenly Father is a dad who forgives, a dad who perserveres in sanctifying our lives, in writing our stories and helping us to heal.
Later on in the story of Esau and Jacob, Jacob has his own personal battle with God and seeks Esau out asking for forgiveness. Meanwhile Esau's heart has already forgiven Jacob and when Jacob runs to Esau, Esau has his arms wide open in acceptance and brotherly love once again. Together they intentionally work on bringing their family back together again.
I think this story illustrates how families are hard, things will go wrong. But God can still heal any family. And that our Father in heaven is all about families, all about relationships and helping us restore what has been broken.