Oh, Rebekah. She has a great beginning, but her not-so great choices led her down a sinful path that changed the course of her family’s lives.
I can relate to the ups and downs, the highs and lows that being a mother often throw our way. Which is why I have chosen Rebekah as a mom to highlight from the Bible. She has a story that we can all learn from.
Yes, she is a mom of the Bible who manipulated her family into division. Even still, that’s only a part of her story, she was so much more than her mistakes.
Let’s dive deeper…
Characteristics of Rebekah
1. Kindness. She saw the needs of others. As Rebekah was coming up from the spring, with no doubt a full and heavy bucket of water on her shoulder, she did not hesitate to share her water with an elderly man who was asking for a drink of water. Scripture even tells us that she “quickly” lowered her jug.
When she realized his camels needed water, she “quickly” emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to get more water for them (Genesis 24: 16-20). Imagine the heat, an estimated walk of a mile or more to get to water, the work of actually getting the water, and then so eagerly giving it away to a complete stranger and his animals. She had a pure heart filled with generosity and kindness.
2. Immediate Obedience. When her family decided that she would go and be the wife to Isaac, they gave her a choice. Leave your home and your family now or leave in ten days. Instead of deciding to stay with her family, she replied, “ I will go” (Gen. 24: 58 ESV).
Imagine all the change, mental and emotional processing of her last 24 hours and what was being asked of her, it would have been all too easy to spend just ten more days with her mom and dad. However, it was clear that the Lord’s hand was all over this situation and so she went without delay or hesitation.
3. Prayerful. After a long struggle with infertility, Rebekah became pregnant with twins. The Bible tells us, “But the two children struggled with each other in her womb.” As a mom of twins, having two moving babies inside felt more like an awe inspired miracle laced with uncomfortable moments. So, I cannot imagine what she physically and emotional endured with her unborn twins “struggling” inside her. When she felt confused, uncertain and unsure, she “went to ask the Lord about it” (Genesis 25:22). Instead of being held captive by her emotions, she turned to the Lord in prayer.
Historical Context for Rebekah’s Story
In the days of Rebekah, it was culturally normal for a father to choose a son’s wife. It was considered appropriate to marry within the family line since this was God’s chosen people and the lineage was being preserved and protected. And in this culture, birthright was extremely important. It meant the oldest received a double portion of his father’s possessions, but most importantly, the authority his father carried.
Rebekah’s Story from the Bible
The story of Rebekah is found in the Bible in Genesis 24-27.
Rebekah makes her first appearance in Genesis 24. A quick recap reminds us that Abraham was very old and did not want his son Isaac to marry outside of God’s chosen people. So, he sent his “oldest” servant hundreds of miles away to his homeland in order to find Isaac a wife.
Abraham gave very clear instructions on how the servant would know the right girl. Upon arrival, before the servant even finished praying for a successful mission, a young and beautiful woman appeared. She was kind, servant hearted, and a relative of Abraham. He knew she was the right one.
From there, we see her immediate obedience. Followed by her comforting her husband while mourning his mother’s death. And, lastly, we see her seeking the Lord’s guidance during her twin pregnancy.
However, many years later, we see a picture of brokenness within Rebekah’s family. She favors Jacob, the youngest twin who God told her would one day become the family leader over his older twin brother, Esau. Her husband, Isaac, favors Esau.
Through a series of events, there is jealousy between the brothers. Upon the pending death of Isaac, Rebekah orchestrates a plan constructed out of manipulation and deceit in order for Jacob to receive the firstborn blessing. Out of this, her husband is heartbroken and Esau wants to kill Jacob. Jacob flees. She never sees her youngest son again. Sadly, this is where we see Rebekah’s story end.
Lesson for Moms from Rebekah in the Bible
God wants us to trust him with the outcome.
We see two distinct instances in Rebekah’s life. One, where she trusts God wholeheartedly. The other, she takes matters in to her own hands in order to control outcomes. One takes her to a place of love. The other tears her family apart.
God has beautiful plans for our lives. He wants us to be obedient to his calling and move forward in trust and submission, not manipulation and deceit. While his plans are sovereign and are not dependent on us, we have the ability to cause chaos in our lives, as well as others’, when we choose to not fully trust him with the outcome.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths..”Proverbs 3: 5-6 ESV
God uses us right where we are, in our every day, normal lives.
Rebekah was surely going on about her daily chores when God interrupted her life. Think about all she had done that day…cooked, cleaned, walked in sandals in dust and dirt to fetch water. She was most likely hot and dirty and the last thing she expected was a God sized interruption. Instead of putting her head down and continuing with her to-do checklist, she stopped and stepped into God’s gorgeous plan for her life.
My friends, whether you are cooking, cleaning or just trying to keep your clan alive, don’t miss out on the God sized opportunities. A little bit of time in scripture will reveal that in the middle of daily and mundane chores, God shows up and shows out. He uses us right in the middle of our normal.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV
God wants us our immediate obedience.
Even at a young and tender age, Rebekah was a woman who practiced immediate obedience. While it may not seem like a big ask, waiting the additional ten days her parents had requested could’ve altered the outcome and circumstances of becoming Isaac’s bride. Minds could have been changed or further delays requested.
There are a number of things that could have happened that we will never know because of her immediate obedience. However, later on in her life, we see how Rebekah chose disobedience when she favored her and her son’s plans over God’s. We know God told her Jacob will be leader over Easu, but instead of trusting in the wait, she manipulates.
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”Luke 11:28 ESV
God uses it all for his glory and his plans prevail despite our shortcomings, but I wonder how this story would have played out differently if she chose obedience over sinful desires. When the temptation strikes to take matters into your own hands, to manipulate outcomes, remember, the two ends of the spectrum in Rebekah’s story.
Challenge for Moms from Rebekah of the Bible
Mamas, is there an area of control you have over your family? Not in the normal, busy schedules and routines, but an outcome you are holding to firmly and are trying in all of your power to get a certain outcome?
Is it to get your kids in to the school of your dreams so you are willing to fudge admission questions? Or to achieve a certain skill or ability in their activities…where you are pushing more than they are trying?
I implore you, let go. God has you. God has them. You can trust in his beautiful design for your family and their lives. Do what you can do…love, support and encourage. Pray. Lean in to the help of others. And leave the rest to God.
Lord, we come to you in prayer today. Grateful for the breath in our lungs and a this new day. We are thankful for you allowing us the gift of getting to be moms. Lord, this is a weighty title we carry and, sometimes, feels like a really heavy load. We want to give that to you. Lord, we surrender control, our desire to control outcomes, and in the places we may choose our kids over our spouse. Lord, help us to love our children the way you love us. Help us to parent in a way that points to you with our words and actions. Help us display immediate obedience. Trust. Patience. Kindness and servanthood just as Rebekah did. We love you and want to honor you with everything we say and do.
In Jesus name,
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Guest Blogger Bio: Tessa is a wife of thirteen years, mom to three amazing little girls, a part time oncology nurse and most importantly, is a woman who loves Jesus. She enjoys running, hiking and generally just being outdoors.
She started This Place of Joy as a creative outlet, her own personal space as she learned to navigate the struggles of adjusting to life as a mom of three. It has grown into a place where she wants others to find joy and encouragement in the day to day routines of motherhood, as well as hear the truth and hope Jesus offers.
Connect with Tessa on Instagram: @thisplaceofjoy