There are very few times when the Bible comes right out and talks about the love between a man and a woman – but it does so in the story of Rebecca and Isaac: ‘he took Rebecca and she became his wife, and he loved her.’ Genesis 24:67
Newborn twins, one with more hair than the other
Love, unfortunately, does not shield us from trouble and sorrow. Rebecca did not conceive for quite a while, and when she did she had a difficult pregnancy. Eventually she had twin sons – two boys with very different personalities:
Esau, the first born, was a man’s man, hearty, impetuous, a skilled hunter
Jacob, the second born, was the opposite: a thinker, quiet and watchful.
Rebecca with Isaac
Rebecca preferred Jacob the thinker, and she manoeuvred him into leadership of the tribe. To do this, she had to trick her aged husband Isaac into naming the quiet, second born boy as his heir. It was a shabby, underhand lie, but she believed she acted for the good of the tribe. She knew Jacob would make canny decisions, not impetuous ones, and that her extended family would be better off under his leadership.
But to do it she had to betray her husband of many years and destroy his happiness, and her own. You can read the whole story at Bible Women: Rebekah
‘Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau and put them on her younger son Jacob; and she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she handed the savoury food and the bread that she had prepared to her son Jacob. So he went in to his father, and said “My father”; and he said “Here I am; who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father “I am Esau your first-born.” Genesis 27:15-19
Did Rebecca make the right decision? The Bible certainly thinks so, but do you agree?
Was it an easy thing to do? Decidedly not. For the good of the whole tribe she deceived her dying husband and destroyed any semblance of trust between them. Her eldest son Esau would always hate her for what she did.
What is the message of the story? That sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils. We have to take the difficult path, make the difficult decision, even when we would like to avoid it.
Often this is part of being a parent. We have to stand firm against our own children, for their good. It is never easy.
Wisdom to choose the right path.
Think about times when you have had to bear the heavy load of decision-making for your family, when you’ve had to make the tough, unpopular choice to guide them along a path you know they must take.
List a few specific instances when this has happened.
Think about these times: what you did and said, how hard it was, but how necessary.
Then realize your own worth, and take courage from that.
Being the adult, taking the hard road, is something all of us would like to avoid. But if no-one around you is prepared to shoulder the load, it may fall on you.
Be a rock to your family and friends. They need you when the going gets tough.
Be a rock for your family.
Bible Reflections, Making Tough Decisions: Bible texts with questions and a meditation exercise