Character Begins With You

I promised an Old Testament moment- journey with me, will ya?

I loved the first time I read that Isaac loved Rebekah. I re-read it over and over, because I had never seen anywhere in the Bible where a husband and wife loved each other. Instead it was all legalistic rules about daughters being sold, or given as property over to another. It made me sad for the, but somewhere inside of me, I always believed I could be in a loveless marriage and bring love and joy to it. I don’t know why I believed I had super powers: for the record- I don’t and I do love my husband and he loves me too.

I started to read about Isaac and Rebekah again last night and I was captivated by the kindness of this woman who loved her husband, and was a selfless individual. She was kind to a stranger and his animals. In Genesis we read that she not only got water for this stranger, but also for his camels, and she didn’t dawdle or take her time, she ran to care for them. That impressed me. I thought- this chick puts me to shame. I started to study what I was reading, and the more I read, the more I realized that I really don’t understand, or attempt to learn enough about what God has said to us in days past to support His dream for our future.

Rebekah marries Isaac when he is 40. It says that she was a great comfort to him at the death of his mother. We learn that Isaac was given two similar situation to his fathers; he lied about his wife being his sister- gross- stop doing that guys! He got busted because he and his “wife” didn’t get a room; instead it says, ahem, “he groped her in public”… yep- that happened and I bet most of you ladies understand Rebekah’s plight- groping is never a good thing! His second issue like his father’s was a seemingly barren wife, and he prayed for 20 years before Rebekah became pregnant.

She of course in true God awesomeness was pregnant with twins. God is cool like that. At some point within her pregnancy she had to go to God for prayer because her twins were fighting each other in the womb… what in the world. What would that even be like? How incredibly painful. I know there were days that just one in my belly caused me anguish, but to have two battling so severely that I have to go to God for answers as to why? Well, that is an entirely different situation. God not only answered her with a simple- “because they will be rival nations”, but followed it up with- “oh, by the way- I hope this doesn’t affect you in your ooey gooey mommy heart- but your oldest sons descendants will serve the youngest sons descendants.”  The End… Just kidding.

Well as all mothers know, it affects us very deeply indeed to see injustice with our children and as uncommon births go, this one got interesting. Instead of a traditional baby boy a Big Foot was born. A hairy little baby, with his not so hairy brother holding his heel… smile- photo time! What’s a mom to do but love on the “normal” baby. I wonder if Esau and his hairy self was treated differently by his mother? So differently in fact that a parental preference is shown from mother to youngest son, Jacob and father to olde son, Esau. Jacob was at home more often with his mother in the house, while Esau joined his father and other men hunting and gathering; developing incredible skills outside.

Rebekah has spent the last 20 years of so hearing the words of the Lord rattling around in her head, and I wonder if she had ever shared them with Isaac?  Would that have changed his decision on his blessing? More of that in a few. Jacob proves that he has been under his mothers control using food as a weapon against his very hungry hunting, working out in the elements brother, and essentially trades his literal birthright because of his body’s physical need. I have to say I was shocked that He didn’t eat in the wild, or that he appeared back at home hungry, but more so that in his day and age he didn’t care about his birthright. It just doesn’t make sense- he was the grandson of Abraham! His grandfather was literally called the “Father of Nations”… that’s a wealthy guy, and the inheritance Isaac received was full and incredible. What person could care so little when status mattered sooo very much! Apparently Esau.

Jacob is well please with himself- but should he have been, I mean dudes typically just lie, women more often deceive- throw stones if you want- but it’s true. He resorted to what he had to have learned from life with his mother.

Time goes by- I didn’t study the timing… my bad.

Rebekah hears that Isaac is prepared to offer his blessing on Esau and she panics. She creates a plan to deceive her husband in a benefit to her youngest son. I am sure that what the Lord had said was in her mind throughout this and she was probably proud of herself, like she was bringing God’s plans to pass- how many of you know that while interesting in thought- that actually doesn’t work. His plans are good enough- He really doesn’t need you to do the planning, just the carrying out!  She actually sews and makes hairy items to cloak Jacob in. He goes to his father and receives the blessing, despite Isaac’s uneasiness at Jacob’s voice coming from Esau’s body. Don’t dupe blind people guys- It’s not cool.

Esau comes in from outside and prepares the meal as Jacob had already done and went to his father’s side, where Isaac learns that he has blessed the wrong son, and is unable to retract it. Esau weeps. I can not imagine the bitterness that I would feel at my brother, and certainly my mother when I found out her involvement. How could they take not only his birthright and the place of the first born son- but to steal the blessing- ouch.

His father gave a minimal blessing after this to Esau and what we see of Isaac’s interaction with Rebekah doesn’t show any antagonism at all… I know my husband would be furious with me. I don’t understand, and more so I am lost as to Rebekah’s change. How do you go from being the kind of woman that runs to get water for a strangers 10 camels to a women who deceives the man who loves her? Where did the change occur? Did bitterness come when she believed herself to be barren? Was she angry with the Lord for giving her a hairy son, maybe one who embarrassed her? What was it? Was it Isaac’s favoritism for Esau or just her love for Jacob? Did she just lose herself somewhere along the way? I don’t know. I have looked, I can’t see where a direct answer is given for why she would do these things.

I can tell you what I have learned from my short time being a wife and mother- I fail so often. I believe as women, we can get swept away in our failures, and what we can present to others matters far more than it should. Rebekah wasn’t unlike any of us. Each of us has hurdles to jump. I remember when I was sweet and kind, and completely un-jaded by life. A time before I knew agony in marriage, agony in death, and agony in dreams. I was different. I bet you were too. Back before you made that one mistake that has marked you. I bet if we got all of Rebekah’s story we would learn that there was a moment where everything changed. An event, a word, a heartbreak, that caused her to nosedive big time. Can you imagine what the cost of her deception was in monetary form? I bet none of us has ever cost one of our children a million bucks. The value of the inheritance Abraham left to Isaac was significant. I bet none of us has ever tried for literally 20 years to get pregnant. If you have- Bless your heart- and leave a comment- because we want to celebrate God’s faithfulness with you. I bet none of us are prepared to see what our lives would look like written out by someone else’s hand. The shame I would feel- would be overwhelming; but for His grace and mercy.

What we learn from Rebekah is that when God makes a promise to you, He does not need your help, deceitful or faithful to make it happen. He just needs you to be willing to carry out what He asks of you. There is beauty in that. In knowing that He has a plan that goes beyond you. If we didn’t believe that in the depths of our souls where would we rest? What we learn from her is that the beginning of our story doesn’t have to end the same, and vice versa. If you were like Rebekah- like the un-jaded me- we don’t have to stay in our “new”state- we can become even “newer” and reflect Him. We in fact, are called to look more like Him. There is more on the line than the way other people perceive us ladies, there is the internal perception our children not only see from us, but will reflect in themselves. We can build their character or break it. We can be a blessing to our husband or we can be a curse. It actually is, up to us.

May you have new strength to walk out His plans and purposes for you, May He show you the area of weakness that He will make strong, and may you choose to make today more than yesterday and the days before.

Blessings,

mel

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Love- In Reality

I love the Old Testament, I have told you guys that before.. I love it!

(Like the dog on the Beggin’ Strips commercials… “I want bacon!” )

In the New Testament, Jesus comes- I mean really that’s incredible, and He promises to come back too… even better.

I’m an old soul, most who know me would agree with that, I say most, because you have to know me pretty well for me to have expressed my desire for an 18th Century wardrobe. Gingham, taffeta, girdles, and corsets made with BONES to suck you in, in a way no Spanx ever could! I mean really, who cares if you can’t breathe if you are being auctioned off to the highest dowry paying, family aligning eligible bachelor out there, right? Not so much. That would be awful, but that is what we see a lot of in the Bible. Not the money part as much as the parents advising and guiding you toward a spouse of their choosing.

In the telling of the story of Isaac and Rebekah, I giggled in girlish delight as Abraham sent his servant to find a girl, and one appeared who did more than was asked of her and in confirmation through prayer was selected to be his wife. I was sucked in to this story where it seemed to be love at first sight, the thing we believe can’t exist because most of us, didn’t wait for God’s timing. He sees her coming in the field, and she sees him, and prepares herself, after barely more than a greeting, I was blushing as I read of him taking her to the tent and consummating their covenant.

My favorite part- the Bible confirms that he loved her. It’s the first of any of the marriages I saw in the Bible that added to the fact that they were married; love.

We just came off of, in my opinion, the craziest holiday our Nation celebrates. Valentine’s isn’t love. Easter is Love, Christmas is Love. They are times that we rejoice in a Savior who chose to come and be born to this sinful world and then to die on our behalf, while we were/are sinners. Since our children were out of school over the Valentine Holiday, we didn’t think anything of it; until they went back to school on Monday gave their cards, and came home with so many Valentine’s cards.

Cash- our more affectionate child, said, “Mom, you and dad didn’t get us Valentine’s?” My brother hears him through the phone on my ear, and says, “You didn’t get them anything? You’re a jerk!” (Don’t worry- it’s an affectionate term he uses on me…really!) I was instantly shamed. I took the time to explain to my little buddy that Mommy and Daddy don’t do Valentine’s Day, because we love and give to each other all year, so I hadn’t even thought about buying Valentine’s. His sweet little face tilted, and he said, “but I got you something Mom.”… and he did. On Valentine’s Day in between snow sessions, he wrote me a Valentine’s message and taped it to my bedroom door, “so I could see it everyday”. My brother listened to the exchange and then prompted me to find their love languages. He reminded me that each person feels, gives and received love differently and I needed to find out what their love languages were.

It’s my job to know how they receive love.- Ouch.

If I am supposed to be Jesus with skin, and He is love, I have to love them the way they relate to love, so they can feel HIS love. Touchdown for the younger brother.

So grateful for my brother… He is my dearest friend. He in a joking or straightforward way always encourages me. He builds me, shows me how I can be more than I am. He is Jesus with skin on, and dirty feet. 🙂 Thanks Bub.

The Old Testament is full of stories like this. Stories before the hope of the world came to bring redemption. Stories that took people as they were, changed their hearts, their paths, guided them to the Lord. He walked among them in the Old Testament, as flame, as wind, as storm clouds, as whirlwinds. He was there.      God.          Incredible presence, to the point of blindness, to stone commandments carried down from a mountain, to the Ark of the covenant that literally carried His presence and dared you to touch it, or defile it. He is power, and might, the wind, the rain, the strong right hand, the stone in the sling, the sword, the trumpet, the war cry and the victory. He is love, the Father to the Fatherless, the fount of living water…. I mean, Jesus brought the fulfillment of the promise, but God is the promise.

If He made you a promise, prepare yourself, get to a place with Him, and ask what junk has to go for you to make your home here? What people have assisted me in abandoning my promise?  Then do it, get rid of it, of them, start anew. Nothing of value comes for free. There is pain, and suffering in the cutting of dead things- because as new cells are brought to life it is uncomfortable. What depths are you willing to go to to see the lost found? To see your dreams become reality? To watch the broken become whole?

He is love, He is the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, He does not base His promises on our worth, but on His. Take Comfort in that. You can do it. You can let that friendship that does nothing but take from you go. You can! You can stop watching that show that defiles the name of the Lord, you can make a home for Him, in your home.

 

Blessings!

mel