The account of Isaac and Rebekah are filled with accounts of intercession and intervention. We begin this morning’s post looking at Isaac praying for Rebekah, and God answering Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah married when Isaac was about 40 years old. The sages teach that each year they prayed for a child. Isaac was a man of God, he knew the promise God had made to Abraham about descendants coming from him. He was trusting God to fulfill that promise.
Let’s think back a moment, Sarah was also barren. To help God fulfill His promise, she gave Abraham her maidservant, Hagar. We all know how that turned out…Isaac, in a sense, had more wisdom than his parents when it came to this situation. He knew that nothing he could do would help God, and he learned from what his parents had done. So, rather than take one of his wife’s servants, he turned to prayer. He became the garment of prayer covering his wife. He honored her role as his wife, the holy space, by choosing to cover her in prayer.
Isaac was the son of righteous parents. Even with the mistakes they had made, Abraham and Sarah lived a life of godliness which spoke volumes to everyone they encountered. Rebekah, was the daughter of Bethuel and sister of Laban. She came from a land of idol worship. However, she was not corrupted by the land she came from. She and Isaac diligently prayed for a baby. And the sages teach us that God answered Isaac’s prayer:
Even though they both prayed intensely, God responded specifically to Isaac’s plea, for the prayers of a righteous person who is the child of a righteous parent are more effective than those of a righteous person who is the child of a wicked parent. Thus, his wife Rebecca conceived. – The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Two Nations Conceived
Genesis 25:22-23 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.”
Even in the womb, these two babies wrestled with one another. This had to make for a painful pregnancy. I have never carried twins, but remember all to well my daughter boxing with my ribs or kicking off of my ribs. Let’s face it, pregnancy can be quite uncomfortable, but to have two babies struggling with each other, had to be a little more than uncomfortable. Rebekah, being a godly woman, inquired of the LORD why this pregnancy was seeming so difficult and painful. She trusted God to give her an answer and He did:
Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.
Now think for a moment about ourselves, the “two nations” in us. Have I got your attention yet? It is like we have two nations in us…we have our soul with sparks of God in it, and we have our animalistic side, what many call the flesh. These two wrestle within us daily. They were conceived together, the day we were created. I can’t tell you which one is older and shall serve the other; but I can tell you that the one you nourish the most will be the one that rules within you.
Birth of the Nations
Genesis 25:24-26 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, and all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Afterward, his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
When I read the above verses I think of the two realms: spiritual and physical. If we assigned colors to these realms, I would assign blue to the spiritual and red to the physical. Therefore when I see that Esau “came forth red, and all over like a hairy garment,” I think of him representing the physical realm of reality….the animalistic instinct; and Jacob as his opposite, the spiritual realm; the one who will help bring God into the earthly (physical) realm. I am not saying that one is good or one bad. I don’t think Scripture tells us that. For many years we have focused on “good and bad,” here is what I want to tell you…God tells us in his Scripture that He created BOTH, light and dark, good and evil, spiritual and physical. Let’s change our focus from duality (either/or) to one of UNITY! The opposites previously mentioned all have ONE common denominator….GOD! I am saying our focus now needs to shift from the duality of good and evil to the creator of both…we need to focus on God! He created blessings and curses, and honestly, we can’t tell the difference in the two. So rather than spend so much time saying, “You are sinning when you do this ___________! You are making God frown when you do this ___________!” We need to show love to others and let God bring the correction that needs to come to others. It’s not our job, that’s God’s job!
If we focus on the duality of things rather than the UNITY of these provided by God, we run the risk of elevating ourselves above others, which can show itself as pride and judgment. This mindset can cause us to become a stumbling block to the Kingdom of God. In other words, as hard as we work to increase the Kingdom of God and invite His presence to dwell with us, we have the opposite effect!
Jacob Gave Esau Bread and Lentil Stew
Esau came in famished, stating he was near death; and Jacob, on the condition that Esau traded him his birthright, gave him bread and lentil stew. When I see that Jacob gave Esau bread, I am reminded that Jesus is our bread of life. He is our nourishment and the sustainer of our life! He is our sustenance.
Remember, we learned when Sarah died, and Abraham purchased her burial spot, that holiness does not come without a cost! Walking in holiness will cost us something. The “bread of life” that Jacob offered Esau came at the price of his birthright. It wasn’t trickery or greed that drove Jacob to pursue this birthright…it was godliness and righteousness.
So what does this account of Jacob and Esau say to us? If we are to live a righteous life, a godly life, it will come with a cost to our physical nature. Holiness comes with a cost! We cannot “serve two masters, because we will love one and despise the other!” Are you willing to pay the price to invite God to dwell in your tent? God is looking for intercessors. He is searching for someone to stand in the gap and offer the bread of life to others. The cost is little compared to the reward. Search your hearts now. What is God saying to you? Is He calling you into intercession? Is He calling you to “Go Out” of your tent? What will your answer be, because the choice is YOURS! He will not force you to “go,” He wants you to choose it on your own.
Isaiah 59:16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.
My Gracious, Heavenly Father, I thank you for the calling You have put on my life. I thank You that You are teaching me that there is more to intercession than just lifting others up in prayer, but that I can work in intercession through this blog and the books I am writing. Lord, there is great oppression in this world. I lift up those oppressed to you! I ask you to have mercy on them. I ask you remove the oppression and breathe your breath of LIFE into them. Father, I also lift up the ones you have called into intercession. Guide us, teach us, and show us how to offer life to others through intercession. Teach us what intercession truly is from your perspective, for Lord, our eyes are dim. Remove the rose-colored glasses from our eyes and help us to see things from your perspective. Lord, I pray that we do not become self-elevated and stumbling blocks for those you send us to, but that we become sustainers of Life as Jesus is! May we see you as the UNITY in duality! May our focus be on YOU! In Jesus name. Amen.