We often hear about the faith of Abraham and rightfully so, however, Abraham’s faith did not live in a vacuum. His faith was passed down from one generation to the next. If you remember one of the ways God refers to himself is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham and Sarah had the responsibility of passing down their tradition of faith to Isaac. While the faith and story of Abraham and Sarah have been examined and written about both in the Scriptures and outside of the Scriptures but what about the faith of Isaac and Rebekah. For a few moments that is where I want to turn your attention to and offer you four important lessons on faith from Isaac and Rebekah.
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Priscilla-du-preez
What Does the Story of Rebekah and Isaac Teach Us about Marriage?
Genesis 24 tells us the story of how Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac. The servant set out and prayed a very specific prayer to help him identify who this potential wife would be. God heard the servant’s prayer and after a series of very specific incidents, it was determined that Rebekah would be the one. However, Rebekah had a choice to make, and this is where faith comes into play.
"But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.” Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. – Genesis 24:56-58
Rebekah had to choose whether she would leave her family and become the wife of a man she had not met before and did not know at all. This was a great leap of faith. One of the first important lessons on faith from Isaac and Rebekah is that marriage is not just about love, marriage is also about faith.
Every year people get married, but I don’t know if people pay attention to how much faith plays a role in choosing to be married, walking down that aisle, and saying I do. I know we often think about marriage in terms of love, which is part of it, but when you stop and think about it marriage is really about faith. You may love a person and be in love with them but when you marry you are putting your faith on the line believing that other person will honor the vows they have made before God and man. This does require love, but it really takes faith.
2. God heals hurt places with new relationships.
Another point in this story of Isaac and Rebekah is what motivated Abraham to look for a wife for his son. Prior to him doing this, his wife of many years Sarah had recently died, and Abraham was a very old man. The Bible doesn’t say explicitly if this played into the motivation, but I believe it is possible to make the argument. Up until the time Sarah died, I believe it is safe to say that Isaac enjoyed a close relationship with his parents, after all, he was the son of promise. After Sarah died, there was a relationship void in Isaac’s life, and I wonder if this is what motivated Abraham to look for a wife for Isaac at this time. What we do know for certain which is an important lesson of faith from Isaac and Rebekah, is that God used the new relationship to help heal the hurt from the loss of his mother.
"Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death." – Genesis 24:67
Many of us have experienced loss in our lives and because as individuals we need people, remember God said it is not good for man to be alone, God will often replace the loss of people in our lives by bringing new people into our lives. I believe this is a demonstration of how God knits people together in relationships because he recognizes how important they are. If you have lost someone close to you then I believe it is okay to ask and expect that God will bring someone into your life to fill the void and bring comfort into your life. I believe this is an important lesson of faith from Isaac and Rebekah.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PeopleImages
What Does the Story of Rebekah and Isaac Teach Us about God's Timing?
3. God answers prayer, but not always on our timetable.
After Isaac and Rebekah married, unfortunately, Rebekah was not able to have children. Isaac did what many people do in that situation he prayed.
“And Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” – Genesis 25:20-21
When you read this, it seems pretty straightforward. Rebekah was unable to have children, Isaac prayed, and she had children. However, it is possible that the timetable was a little longer than that. You see this a little later once the children are born.
"After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." – Genesis 25:26
If you notice, Isaac was sixty years old when his sons were born, which means he could have been praying for as much as twenty years before God answered the prayer. This points us to another important lesson from the life of faith of Isaac and Rebekah. God does answer prayer, but he doesn’t always do it in the timeframe that we expect. We should never confuse delay with denial. If God delays the answer, it does not necessarily mean he has denied but we must trust that his delay is for our good. Don’t get me wrong, delay can be denial but that should not be an automatic assumption.
4. Isaac and Rebekah demonstrated their relationship with God.
I will share with you one final important lesson from the life of faith of Isaac and Rebekah. You see evidence of their relationship with God demonstrated in their life. As we mentioned earlier when Rebekah could not have children, Isaac prayed. When the children were wrestling in Rebekah’s womb, she prayed. When God confirmed the promise that he made to Abraham with Isaac, he built an altar and worshipped God. All throughout their lives, there was a consistent demonstration of their relationship with God. This is how our lives should also be lived. Through every circumstance or every situation in life, we should be demonstrating our trust in God and our relationship with him.
Though the story of Isaac and Rebekah is not as extensive in scripture as the story of Abraham and Sarah, we still see the impact their faith had on their lives. Like all of us their trust in God was not lived out perfectly, yet they were still an intricate part of God’s purpose for the future nation of Israel and for the rest of the world. If there is one last thing to rejoice over is that all throughout history God has used imperfect people to carry out his perfect plan. Thankfully he is still doing that today. He uses you and I as imperfect vessels to accomplish his perfect will. When you understand how big and all-encompassing his plan is, this should not only be humbling, but we should be grateful that we can be a part of it, just like Isaac and Rebekah were.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Cassidy Rowell Aawzg