“And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, ‘Behold thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away.’”
Genesis 27: 41-44
King James Version
“The Price of a Mother’s Deceit”
“Consequences are unpitying.”
Is there something in my life I have had to let go of or give up knowing that it was for the long-term best good of all concerned?
“Nothing is satisfactory that is one-sided.”
“The one who deals the mortal blow, receives the mortal wound.”
Over the last few weeks, as we have studied about Amnon and Tamar, and the deceitfulness that was used by Amnon to lure his sister to his room, I decided it might be helpful to remind ourselves that it wasn’t only in David’s family where deceit took a terrible toll on a family’s relationship. And it wasn’t just men who were deceitful. Sadly, God’s daughters didn’t always encourage truthfulness, not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of their children.
In the case of one Old Testament family, Isaac and Rebekah’s to be exact, the price of deceit was very high, indeed.
Our story begins in Genesis 25: 29-34, “And Jacob sod pottage; and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Feed me, I pray thee, with the same red pottage; for I am faint’…And Jacob said, ‘Sell me this day thy birthright.’ And Esau said, ‘Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?’ And Jacob said, ‘Swear to me this day;’ and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”
As we easily see, there was a point in Esau’s life when he cared so little for the birthright and all it stood for both spiritually and financially that in a fit of hunger – for a bowl of lentils – he casually traded food for his place as the head of the family. Now I love lentils. I could eat lentil stew every day – but to thoughtlessly trade a birthright for a bowl of lentils shows how little value Esau placed on his responsibility as the future leader of his family.
Here’s the irony! We’re a crazy bunch of creatures, for we always seem to get ourselves in a big tub of trouble by wanting and trying to grab what we can’t have.
To Esau, the birthright was expendable, only to be used as a tool for bartering. But roll the clock ahead a few years. Isaac is old, and now wants to honor his elder son. All of a sudden, Esau liked the idea of inheriting all of good old dad’s wealth. What’s more, it is quite likely Esau may have seen this as “getting even” time. Mom loved Jacob – well the tables would be turned. Esau would have the possessions and the power. Let’s see who would be the favorite now!
So in preparation for receiving his father’s blessing and with a good case of amnesia having wiped from his memory the deal he made with Jacob, Esau, the hunter, went out to get dad the food he loved.
But while he was out searching for what dad liked, Rebekah prodded Jacob into becoming an accomplice for what she wanted.
To Rebekah’s credit, God had told her Jacob would rule the family. But in Rebekah’s opinion God made one big mistake. He didn’t tell her exactly how this goal would be accomplished. You know something, we should learn an important lesson from this situation because throughout the Scriptures, God often says: “This is going to happen,” without giving all the details. God told Noah: “It is going to rain!” He didn’t explain every molecular process that would unleash flood waters. He just said it would happen. God told Abraham and Sarah that at a very old age, they would have a baby. He didn’t say how, He just said it would happen.
Often in our lives, unfortunately, we behave like Rebekah. If God doesn’t give us all the details, we decide we need to fill in the blanks and help Him out. What we can’t see – we decide we will do! And boy, do we get busy working out the details in a plan God already designed perfectly.
This was Rebekah’s downfall. She did not know how God would bring His promise to pass so Rebekah took things into her own hands to assure that Jacob got the blessing – which, by the way, he did.
But here’s where the fur really began to fly! When Esau brought his venison meal to Isaac, the betrayal by his mother and brother was revealed in living color and Esau turned one color – red with anger. His fury was so great, murder was the only thing on his mind..
Being warned that Esau planned on killing her beloved son Jacob, Rebekah quickly arranged for Jacob to get out of town by telling Isaac she wanted Jacob, unlike the defiant Esau, to marry a girl from the family, not from Canaan.
Isaac, tired of the havoc created by Esau’s two wives, readily agreed to the plan. Jacob packed his belongings and headed back to Haran for what Rebekah believed would be a short cooling off time. But sadly, once Jacob left home, there’s no record in the Bible that he ever saw his mother again. The facts appear to support the idea that both Jacob and Esau left the home of Isaac and Rebekah and that Rebekah died, estranged from one child and separated from the other.
Author Ann Radcliffe wrote: “To a generous mind, few circumstances are more afflicting than a discovery of perfidy in those whom we have trusted.”
As we have looked at Rebekah’s life there are four essential lessons for us to learn:
Favoritism plants seeds of distrust that when watered can lead to bitterness and revenge.
Dishonesty and deceit, even when used to acquire what we believe to be a moral end, corrupt all of our actions because gain gotten through deceptive means is never enjoyed and will never bring true satisfaction.
Betrayal by those we love and thought we could trust brings greater sorrow than by those we don’t know.
We do not clearly comprehend the value of something until we actually lose it. So be careful not to treat God’s blessings and gifts carelessly.
We have clearly seen in our studies thus far, that these Biblical portrayals, even though sad, are laid out for our instruction. As we read and study and learn, the mistakes that have brought down some of God’s chosen children can provide us with a revelation of how we can avoid the pot holes that in some cases, became major sink holes for those who went before. And as we’ll find out when we study about Leah and Rachel, God had a beautiful surprise in store for He brought unity back into a divided family after all.
“Never let mistakes or wrong directions, of which every (person) falls into many, discourage you. There is precious instruction to be got by finding where we were wrong.”
“There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
There are souls that are pure and true;
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.
Give love, and love to your life will flow,
A strength in your utmost need;
Have faith, and a score of hearts will show
Their faith in your word and deed.
Give truth, and your gift will be paid in kind,
And honor will honor meet;
And a smile that is sweet will surely find
A smile that is just as sweet
Then give to the world the best you have.
And the best will come back to you.”
Dorothy Valcárcel. Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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