- Locate the passage
Immediately following the toledoth of Ishmael, the text turns to Isaac. The detail of the narrator resumes as he continues his perusal of the recipients of the Covenant.
This passage is narrative. The conversations in the passage include Rebekah’s concern over the difficulty of her pregnancy and the Lord’s response.
- Determine the structure of the passage
25:19-21 – Isaac prays for his family and the Lord answers
25:22-28 – Twins are born to Isaac and Rebekah
- Exegete the passage
Exp. NOTE in the text, that both Isaac & Rebekah sought the Lord. Isaac prayed for God’s blessing; Rebekah prayed for understanding.
25:21 – Isaac “pleaded” with the Lord
- The Hb. “athar” conveys the idea of “entreat” and is contrasted with the verb in 25:22 used when Rebekah “asked” the Lord her question.
25:22 – the children “struggled” – English is a little soft
- “crush;” carries idea “pushed each other around”
- Struggle: No indication that her pain is the result of sin
25:22 – If all is well
- Things didn’t seem well to Rebekah. But, you and I are not the barometers of goodness. It may be that what I see seems unwell, but God decides what good is.
25:22 Why THIS?
- Scholars debate the substance of Rebekah’s question. Is it a question, a complaint, a theological inquiry, or perhaps all of the above?
- The fact that both Isaac and Rebekah are praying in the passage suggests this phrase represents an honest question before the Lord.
- Many of the great saints in Scripture asked God “Why” questions (Moses, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Job). Job asked God “why” 21 times. In the end, God never answered Job’s questions directly. God answered Habakkuk, but not in the way that the Prophet thought. God’s instructions to Habakkuk were to “live by faith.” You may never know the answer to every why question you face, but the Scripture is clear … When all is not well – we return to the Lord. Though the answer to these questions may be more complicated than we are able to understand. But, the fact that we don’t understand doesn’t mean God isn’t working!
- The text records her prayer after her initial exclamation in her pain. The phrase, “then she went to inquire of the Lord” demonstrates the appropriate response to our pain.
25:23 – The Lord answered Rebekah. He informed her that her children would continue a prominent theme in the Old Testament of the younger son having precedence over the older. The Lord also revealed that her two sons would grow to be two nations.
25:25 – They called his name, “Esau.”
- Esau means, “hairy.” This unique feature of the boy apparently present at birth indicates that the twins were not identical and will become significant later when Isaac struggles in his old age to distinguish between his two sons (Gen. 27:22-23).
25:26 – His name was called, “Jacob.”
- Jacob means, “one who grabs the heel.” His name will take on the significance of deception as he will negotiate the obtaining of the birthright and steal his brother’s blessing.
- Let the structure of the text drive the sermon
Exp. The value of praying parents. Both Isaac and Rebekah pray in this passage. Isaac prays in their need for God’s provision. Rebekah prays in her pain and takes her question to the Lord. The Lord answers both of their prayers.
- You can turn to God in your need
- My asking does not obligate God to answer in the way that I ask
- You can turn to God in your struggle
- When chaos strikes your family, you need a word from the Lord
- Not every burden you face is God’s will, but He can work out His will in every burden that you face
- You can turn to God with your questions
- Sometimes God’s work in our lives doesn’t Make Sense to us
- Sometimes God’s answer to my prayer doesn’t fit my plan
Exp. I don’t have a right to ask God to work out His will in my life and then tell Him how to do it.
Exp. Faith means even if I don’t understand all that God is doing, I trust Him.
Application: Two steps of faith are ultimately involved
- One is the faith to seek Him
- The other is the faith to trust Him