God brings the spiritual increase in the lives of our children. No matter where they are, God is in control. But that doesn't take us off the hook as parents. We still need to provide the best example possible, because they are always watching.
“A Tale of Two Sons”
I read a story recently about a little girl who had just heard the fairy tale “Snow White” for the first time. She was so excited about it that she could hardly contain herself , and when she got home she went up to her mom and said, “Mommy, I just heard a wonderful fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” She retold the story to her mother, and I had the facts verified by the way just to make sure from one of the children in the church. I made a phone call. I always got this confused with “Sleeping Beauty.” They are a lot alike. The dwarfs had protected Snow White from the wicked queen, and one day they were away at work mining in the mines and this wicked queen disguised herself and came to the cottage with a poisoned apple and enticed Snow White to purchase some apples. Snow White of course bit into it and fell into the sleep of death. But of course the little girl with her eyes glistening told the story about how Snow White was there lying in that glass coffin and there comes Prince Charming riding on his white horse and spots Snow White and dismounts and walks over to her and tenderly takes her hand and kisses her back to life. What an emotion packed story. You know a Baptist didn’t write that one--that’s too emotional. Snow White comes back to life and the little girl said, “And you know what happened next, Mommy?” Mommy said, “Sure, and they lived happily ever after.” With childlike innocence the girl said, “No, Mommy, they got married.” That little girl without realizing it had told a partial truth. That is getting married and living happily ever after are not necessarily synonymous.
Now when we studied in our last session together, we left two lovebirds, remember Isaac and Rebekah, they had never seen each other and Abraham had told his servant to go off to this distant country to the home country and find a bride for my son Isaac. And so the servant left and after searching just for it seemed a brief hour spotted a beautiful girl and she fit the formula--gave water to him and his camels to drink, and you know the story how he finally brought this beautiful young lady back to the home and Isaac is out in the field meditating and looks up and sees the caravan coming and this young lady sitting on one of the camels and she sees him, and you almost see in slow motion them running through the field and embracing. Man!! When we left them, the text read, “And Isaac took Rebekah as his wife and he loved her.” It’s a little sad, however, that what had begun as an ideal would become an ordeal. And as one man wrote, “Their marriage would become like a violin, the strings were still attached, but the music had stopped.” Why was it that something so beautiful could end up so marred. Why was it that something that could begin like a fairytale would end up as a disaster as it were.
The answers to that are found in the tale of two sons. The first chapter in that story is found in Genesis, chapter 25. Would you turn there. Genesis, chapter 25 and verse 20: I’ve entitled this first chapter, the birth and the divisions. Your notes may help you follow along. “And Isaac was 40 years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the Aramean, of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean to be his wife. And Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren.” And we just touched on this last time we were together--how that he prayed. Now we will discover from reading, in fact let’s go ahead and look at verse 26. It says that “Isaac was 60 years old when she gave birth to them.” Well up there at the top it said she was 40, now it’s 60, letting us in on the fact that for 20 years she was barren. For 20 years she patiently waited and he persistently prayed to God to fulfill the promise of the seed, because he was the patriarch in line, that is the line from which the Messiah would come. And so here he is praying, and this gives us a beautiful picture of unity in the home between Rebekah and Isaac. For 20 years she patiently waiting as it were and he praying before God as the spiritual leader. So we understand then and we can imply that 20 years have produced this foundation that you would almost think unshakeable. And yet it says that the answer to prayer came, verse 21, “And the Lord answered him (and what a joyous day that was ) Rebekah, his wife, conceived, but the children struggled together within her and she said, ‘If it’s so (that is if this answer, if this is an answer to prayer) why am I this way, why is there this battle going on in my womb.’ So she went to inquire of the Lord, and the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb’ (I imagine she probably fainted after hearing that, but after reviving her the Lord went on probably quickly to say) ‘And two people shall be separated from your body, and one people shall be stronger than the other, (now note this phrase) and the older shall serve the younger.’” That’s important, in fact, we’ll get back to that in just a moment.
Now let’s go on to see what happens on delivery date. “When her days to deliver were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.” (I love the word behold because it was probably a shock.) “Now the first came forth red, all over, like a hairy garment.” This was a little fuzzball of a baby, completely red. All hairy, a little fuzzy ball, I can just imagine everybody cuddling him immediately. But they called him Esau which means red or in Arabic it literally means hairy, this is just a little fuzzball. “Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding onto Esau’s heel.” Imagine that, here comes the first baby and there’s the other one grabbing hold of his heel. How would you like to be a midwife during that one? Well, it tells us that because of that they named him Jacob. Jacob means supplanter. I had to look that one up. Supplanter means to take the place of. Jacob could also be translated one who takes the heel. Supplanter being one who takes the place of that is he’s the one that’s going to take the place of the firstborn. This is out of the order as it were of the patriarchal line--the older usually having the blessing given to him. Well he grabs ahold of that heel as if to fight it--no, I’m going to be first; but he came out second.
Now when the boys grow up, now we’ve got a break here. There isn’t a very extensive photo album because we’re actually skipping 60 years to this next verse. The boys had grown up. Esau had become a skillful hunter--a man of the field. This fellow was robust. He was what you would call a man’s man. He was an athlete. He loved to go out and hunt and he was a skillful man never at home, always out in the field. You could almost hear Isaac in pride, as we will learn later, tell the exploits of his brave son. He is the one that captured two deer and didn’t lose an arrow. He’s the one that carries three or four beams on his back at once to repair the fence. That’s papa’s boy. That’s my son. But it goes on to tell us that Jacob was a peaceful man living in tents. And probably the most tragic verse in relation to parenting is verse 28 of Genesis chapter 25: “Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game. But Rebekah loved Jacob.” Isaac proudly looking at this son, the firstborn, stubbornly as we will note refusing to believe that Jacob would be given the blessing; and you can almost see his chest puff out in pride as dad’s do today with a son. The tragic thing is, however, that you get here the implication of a division. It says that he, Isaac, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Well as far as Rebekah is concerned, Esau is the kind of guy that tracks mud into the tent. When anything’s broken, she knows it’s Esau. But Jacob, he’s a mother’s delight. He loved to stay in the tent. He’s probably sensitive, inquisitive, helpful. And so she loved him.
The division in the parents’ affection implied here in the early verse that we’ll see more of later would reap very, very bitter fruit. It would bring disunity, not only in that marriage, but ultimately in the entire home--because they had decided that they would love or show partiality toward one instead of the other--loving them alike. Well, I want to say a word in passing to all of us as parents whether your children are 3 or 13 or 30. They may be gone, they’re still hearing messages from what you have said in the past. It’s very important, and I’m sure you’re aware of it that children know and pick up with incredible skill any kind of criticism that’s based upon comparison, you know. Perhaps you’ve heard it growing up. Your sister never got a C in science, she always made an A. You notice how your brother’s always keeping his room straight? Why don’t you do that? It is the criticism based on comparison. What will happen is the child will learn not just to understand that but he will also understand to manipulate you as a parent on the basis of the differences that you like. You see I can imagine Esau if he ever wanted to get in good with dad, it was very easy--just bag an extra pheasant, come home, prepare. Yeah, that’s my boy. You know here are the keys. If Jacob ever wanted to get in good with his mom, I can imagine him saying, “Mom, let me take care of dinner. I’ll cook your specialty.” He had her wrapped around his finger. They had learned how to take advantage of these differences, and we’re going to really see that come out in chapter 27. But the division grows evidently more apparent each day.
Now I want you to notice as well in this chapter some other insight and that is the division in the sons’ attitude towards spiritual things. Let’s take it up with verse 29. “Now when Jacob had cooked stew.” There he is in the kitchen. “Esau came in from the field.” He had been out hunting. I can just imagine these brothers disdaining one another. To Jacob, Esau was a rugged, rough guy who would eat like a barbarian. And to Esau, Jacob was a sissy, a man that stayed at home cooking around his mother. By the way, let me say I wish, I wish, I knew how to cook more. If anything ever happens to my wife, I’m dead. I can live off peanut butter and jelly, and if I really get rambunctious, it’s a grilled cheese. I don’t know how you men are. How many of you men can cook? I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it. I’m going to start making house calls, and you guys can prove it to me. I don’t believe it.
Look at verse 30: “And Esau said to Jacob please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there for I am famished. Therefore, his name was called Edom.” (which is literally transliterated red). “But Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ And Esau said, ‘Behold, I’m about to die so of what use is the birthright to me?’”
Now let me explain the birthright. We learn what the birthright is from several Old Testament passages: Duet. 21 and I Chron.5. We learn that it involved material and spiritual blessings. That is the firstborn, the one given the birthright, would be given a double portion of land whenever the day died. But more importantly it meant that this one who would receive the birthright was the spiritual head of the family. He was the spiritual leader. Esau was a man of the earth. He was as it were a man of the flesh. He could care less about being the spiritual leader. He’s hungry. “Who wants to be a spiritual giant, I’m famished.” You understand then the disdain of spiritual things, and Jacob said first, “‘Swear to me.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.” Now Jacob goes about it the wrong way. I’m not excusing him, but underlying his improper methodology and his impure motive is the desire to have that spiritual leadership which he would have and God ordained it if he had just been willing to wait for it. “Then Jacob, verse 34, gave Esau bread and lentil stew and he ate and drank and rose.” Note the crassness of these words, he ate and drank and rose and went on his way. He sat down, he scoffed it down, he gets up and leaves and he doesn’t even think what he’s given up. In fact it really won’t hit him until later when he sees how it’s disadvantaged him in terms of material prosperity. Thus, the last part of verse 34,” Esau despised his birthright.”
Now perhaps you’re thinking I’m being too hard on Esau. Well let me go just a step further. Turn to the New Testament to the book of Hebrews chapter 12. Let me prove to you the reality of his character being that of the flesh. Hebrews 12, look at verse 15. “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and by it many be defiled.” And note this verse. “That there be no immoral or godless person like Esau who sold his birthright for a single meal.” Immoral meaning that he had no spiritual desire or discernment. He was a man totally given over to the desires of the flesh, and when it came down to: Is it a little meal or is it the birthright? Spiritual leadership and headship of the family being the one in line of the Messiah who would soon come. He says: “I’ll take the food.” Tragic. But I want you to understand back in Genesis 25 that Esau is not an Amalekite pagan. He is the son of Isaac. He’s the grandson of Abraham the man of faith. If anybody had been born into this world with spiritual advantages, it would have been Esau.
Can I make a couple of observations before we go any further from this? First of all: a godly heritage. We have said this before, but it’s worth repeating. A godly heritage never makes spirituality inevitable. If it was in anybody’s DNA, it was in his, and he disdained it. But let’s flip the coin. And I think this is where we need to spend a little more time, not this morning, but just in our thinking and that is this: An ungodly example never makes spirituality impossible. You see chapter 26, and I want to scan it now in 30 seconds, chapter 26 is the story of Isaac, the famine hits the land and he goes to the land where Abimelech is the king and he repeats the same sin of his father. His wife is beautiful, he’s afraid the people of the land will kill him to have his wife; and so he tells them that his wife is his sister. It’s exactly the same thing that Abraham did, but yet deception was evidently learned at home. These boys were in their forties, maybe now in their fifties, and they saw their dad and their mom go along with this deception. An ungodly example, and yet we find one of the boys to be spiritually discerning and spiritually sensitive.
I think we’re living in an age of, let’s call it parental paranoia. There’s supposed to be safety in a multitude of counselors, and now I think there’s insanity. My bookshelves have been filled over the last year with books on raising children. Some of you are beyond that, but perhaps in your day there weren’t the books. But now, believe me, go down to the store and you’ll note that there are many, and they’re good books, and buy as many as you like, but know that it’s probably going to produce a lot of confusion in the process. You’ll have to decide under God’s leadership where you land. One of the illustrations I can bring is from my own family with our little children. We’ve just come through that stage that all parents dread. It’s the potty training stage. Who comes up with these terms anyhow? That’s what it was. We had one who was determined not to comply. The other one, no problem. And so finally one day we decided that this was a matter of him making up his mind. This was to him the Alamo or Custer’s last stand. Marsha and I were the Indians. And Custer would fall. And finally there was a sliver of success. You know there was some submission there. However, it was like the following day his mind was made up. Hey, the other way was a lot more convenient. And so why discipline? It wasn’t fifteen minutes after that episode I’m walking through the bedroom, pick up a book my wife had just gotten. I was just flipping through it and bang! It lands right on a page with that particular thought in mind. It said, “Never discipline when a child fails in this regard.” And goes on to say, “It may warp their personality.” Ha, ha. Now when he does something strange, I wonder, did I warp the poor kid.
Before we leave this there’s a solution to this kind of paranoia; it’s not in a book. It’s a theological understanding that God is the giver of spiritual desire. We as parents live as if it depends on us, but ultimately we understand that underneath it is the spirit of God that was drawing that child unto himself, whether they’re young or old. You may do everything wrong, but that child may turn out to be a mighty saint of God. Now you want to do everything right that you can alleviate most of the hurdles they’ll have to face when they decide to commit their lives to Christ.
Now, I’ve entitled the next section The Betrayal and The Deception. Look at chapter 27: “Now it came about when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see that he called his older son Esau and said to him, ‘My son’ and he said to him ‘here I am’ and Isaac said ‘Behold now I am old and I do not know the day of my death. Now then please take your gear, your quiver and your bow and go out to the field and hunt game for me and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love and bring it to me that I may eat so that my soul may bless you before I die.’”
You need to understand that a blessing is supposed to be a public event. This is a time of great celebration when all of the family and the servants and those around that region are called in. This is a feast. My son now is being given this blessing which is really the official enactment of the birthright. And what’s he planning to do? He’s going to do it on the sly. It’s just going to be between him and Esau. Why? Do you remember that phrase we read back in chapter 25 where God told Rebekah, “The older shall serve the younger?”
One of the problems with Isaac is that he had stubbornly refused to submit, to bend to the will of God. And he thought that he could define God successfully--that he could deny him secretly over here. So he was going to pull his son in, bless him before anybody found out, and it would be too late for Jacob.
Well Rebekah is listening in. She’s quite a character by now. She had the glass up to the wall of the tent listening. Perhaps she thought Isaac would try this. Let’s just read the text and let the story tell itself, verse 5: “And Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So, when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau saying, bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me that I may eat and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death. Now, therefore, my son--and she probably whispered--listen to me as I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me two choice goats from there that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father such as he loves. Then bring it to your father that he may eat it so that he may bless you before his death.’” Well Jacob, like mom was really the deceiver, because he thinks, “Well, Mom, there are some flaws in this plot. We forgot something.”
“Jacob answered his mother--verse 11--’Behold Esau, my brother, is a hairy man and I have smooth skin. Perhaps my father will talk to me and I shall be a deceiver in his sight.’” The word deceiver--I like the King James translation mocker a little better, because what he is saying is, “Perhaps my dad who is blind will be offended that I have taken advantage of his blindness.” And Jacob didn’t want to do that. He didn’t want to walk in and take advantage of his old dad’s blind eyes that couldn’t see. And so he said, “I don’t want to do this. So let’s make sure that, if he ever asks, we’ve covered the bases, and he didn’t catch me in the act.” “But his mother said to him, verse 13, ‘Your curse be on me, son.’” In other words, if he gets all over you, we’ll just lay it right to me. “‘Only obey my voice and go and get them for me.’ So he went and got them and brought them to his mother and his mother made savory food such as his father loved and Rebecca took the best garments of Esau her elder son (You notice, he’s wearing his clothes as well.) which were with her in the house and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of these dead goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck (just in case he hugged him, which he probably would after giving a blessing) she also gave the savory food and bread which she had made to her son Jacob.” Boy, this is really thickening. Look at verse 18: “Then he came to his father and said, ‘My father’, and he said, ‘Here I am.’ Note this: ‘Who are you, my son?’” In other words, which one are you? “Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau, your firstborn, and I have done as you told me, please, get up, sit, and eat my game that you may bless me.’ And Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have come so quickly?’” Uh, oh. They forgot there’s some time involved. So he thinks, “What am I going to say real quick here. What do we...Oh, I got it. Well, because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me.” Wow, talk about blasphemy. God blessed me out there. I caught it real quick. Now he’s bringing God into it.
Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Please, come close that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son, Esau, or not.’” Isaac is not such a dummy. “So Jacob came close to Isaac, his father, and he felt him and said, ‘The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him and he said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’” And this is a tragic, pitiful verse. “He says, ‘Are you really my son, Esau?’ And Jacob looks his blind father in the face and he says, ‘I am.’”
“So he said, ‘Bring it to me and I will eat of my son’s game that I may bless you.’ And he brought it to him and he ate, and he also brought him wine and he drank. And his father, Isaac, said to him, ‘Please come close and kiss me, my son’ So he came close and kissed him.” And I would imagine this is probably hard for Jacob, because this may have been the first time that his dad ever kissed him. Because his dad loved Esau. And I would imagine that for Jacob this is very uncomfortable. It probably even made him cry. I don’t know. Tragic story.
So he came close and kissed him and when he smelled the smell of his garments he blessed him. And here’s the blessing. He says, verse 28, “‘May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and an abundance of grain and new wine. May people serve you and nations bow down to you. Be master of your brothers. May your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be those who bless you.’”
Well, the deception is complete. And it’s tragic that it’s just about to be discovered. In fact, the very next verse tells us in verse 30, “It came about as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he had also made savory food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father. ‘Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game that you may bless me.’ And Isaac his father said to him, ‘Who are you?’ And he said, ‘I am your son, your firstborn Esau.’ Then Isaac trembled violently.” It’s as if he recognized in that brief moment and it caused him to shake all over as though he had fought the will of God for a hundred and thirty-eight years. Now even with his deception and with his little plot to bless his son, his other son, Jacob, had come and had gotten the blessing.
Now from the beginning of that verse to the end of the verse, somthing fantastic happens. Let’s look. “He said, ‘Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me so that I ate of all of it?’” He knew who it was. “And blessed him.” Now note the last part of verse three. “Yes and he shall be blessed.”
From the beginning of that terrible moment to the end of his speaking, it’s as if Isaac finally resigned himself and he said, “Esau, I’m sorry, but Jacob will be the one who’s blessed. It’s as if he resigned to the will of God.
“When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with exceedingly great and bitter cry.” He began to scream literally. “He said to his father, ‘Bless me even me, o my father.’ And he said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.’ And Esau said, ‘ Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted. He has taken my place two times. He took away my birthright.’” (That’s a lie.) “‘ And behold now he’s taken away my blessing.’ And he said, ‘Have you not reserved a blessing for me?’ But Isaac answered and said to Esau, ‘Behold, I have made him your master, and to all his relatives I have given to him as servants. And with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do my son?’” Man, think of the pitiful inflection in his voice, “What can I do?” “And Esau said to his father, ‘Do you have only one blessing my father. Bless me, even me also o my father.’ So he lifted up his voice and he wept.”
These are crocodile tears as it were. These were tears not wanting the birthright, the blessing. These were tears that now he recognizes as his father has just said he’ll live off the fatness of the land. He’ll have the grain. He’ll be the master. And Esau says, “No! I want that.” But it was too late. And Isaac his father prophesied, this is literally a prophecy. This isn’t condemning Esau, this is just prophecying what would happen to Esau. “‘Behold away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling and away from the dew of heaven from above. And by your sword you shall live and your brother you shall serve. And it shall come about when you become restless that you shall break his yoke from your neck. So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob beacause of the blessing with which his father had blessed him. And Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near. Then I will kill my brother Jacob.’” No spiritual desire there. Still a man of the earth. A man of the flesh.
You know, one of the tragedies of this home and one of the things that brought a lot of this about is the same thing that comes about in marriages today, in your marriage, in my marriage. Two of the key problems for discord. I think for men we could call it stubbornness. How many of you women are married to stubborn husbands? Oh, I forgot. Husbands, close your eyes. Now I know my wife married one unfortunately. Why is it that a man will ride around lost as a goose and not stop for directions? The reason that’s so fresh on my mind is because I did it Friday night. Had the whole family in the car. We’re going over to some friends’ home and from the church. I’d been there once a long time ago. And I thought, oh, I know how to get there, no need for directions. Didn’t bring a map. So what do we do? Drive around Cary for 30 minutes until I finally stop and get specific directions. When we get to the home, the lady says, “I’m sorry you got lost.” And my wife says, “Well now I know my way around Cary.” If I’d had a gun, it’d been all over.
For women, I think one of the problems is manipulation. Now it’s your turn. Oh no. You know there’s a tendency before you tell your husband what you want him to do on his day off. You know you cook his favorite meal. Why is it that we tend as men to be stubborn and as women to be manipulative? It goes all the way back to the garden that we studied months ago, where God told man that, because of the fall, because of sin, you will rule her. And implied in that is a domination, a stubbornness. And to the woman he said your desire will be over him. That is your desire will be to manipulate, to fashion him. And here we find it in this home, and it has literally wrecked it. And it can wreck ours.
I want to give you the consequences, although this is painful, of disharmony in the home. Let me give you three before we close.
Number 1: grief. Will you turn back to chapter 26, verse 34. It says “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith and Basemath.” Look at verse 35. “And they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” These were not women of the tribe, these were Amalekites, Canaanites, these were pagans. And all of the spoiling that dad had done. All of the love that was there was soon disdained. Why? Because son had grown up to recognize the deceit, the partiality.
I think of the grief of perhaps Isaac recognizing once he had blessed Jacob that he had a chance, he had seventy-seven years before he blessed his son to develop a relationship. He’d had an opportunity to love his son, Jacob, and he had turned his face away and he loved instead Esau, and he showed partiality. And not it comes on him that this is the next patriarch, and I can’t help but imagine that Isaac went back in his memory to his relationship with his dad, Abraham. It was a beautiful, close relationship. Perhaps Isaac retraced in his imagination that trip to Mount Moriah where he and his father had gone arm in arm together to do the will of God. And now he’d lost his son. What grief.
I think the seond consequence here is separation. The family is now broken apart. Both sons are gone. Here’s a husband and a wife who’ve been deceiving and lying to one another for decades. They had started out like Prince Charming and Snow White, and now they live in embarrassed silence. Perhaps the saddest implication of this separation is chapter 27. Would you note verse 42. “Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son, Jacob, and said to him, ‘Behold, your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice.’” Here she is again manipulating. She says, “‘Arise, flee to Haran, to my brother, Laban, and stay with him (note) a few days until your brother’s fury subsides, until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I shall send and get you from there.’”
The tragedy is, ladies and gentlemen, that Jacob would be gone, not for a few days, but for 20 years. He would never see his mother again alive. She would never see her son again alive. In fact, the next time that Jacob returns to Canaan it will be where Jacob and Esau get back together again at the burial ceremony of their dad, Isaac. But here’s the woman that was going to have it her way. She’s going to manipulate. She was going to control. And, instead of trusting God, she sent him away not knowing that she would never see him again.
I think the third consequence is silence. Perhaps the most tragic implication is that neither Isaac nor Rebekah are heard from again until chapter 35 where they are buried. I can’t help but believe that the final 40 years of life. See Isaac wasn’t about to die. He was just trying to get this thing slid under the carpet. He’d live for 40 more years. I think that the final 40 years were years of great sadness.
What are the solutions to disharmony? Let me give you three. Respect, from the wives, don’t manipulate. Perhaps you’re married to a very stubborn man, perhaps you’re married to an unbeliever, perhaps you’re separated from a husband who’s an unbeliever, and you’re praying that he’ll come back or he will come to God. And for you, like Rebekah, never learned. Can you learn to rely on the sovereign arms of a God who is in control?
I think the second solution would be in the husband’s ballpark, and that is to love your wives. Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives.” Husbands, love your wives. And then instruction, Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” And while we recognize that God gives the spiritual increase in our childs’ lives even now wherever they may be, God is in control. Yet, we want to provide the best example possible; because they’re watching.
Let me read you a poem that I have in my study in a prominent place. It’s a poem that I think we could apply even to those of you who aren’t married or may not even have children. There are spiritual people who are younger in the Lord who are watching you. What do they see? This is to daddy.
“There are little eyes upon you and they’re watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly take in everything you say.
There are little hands all eager to do everything you do,
And a little boy who’s dreaming of the day he’ll be just like you.
This wide-eyed little fellow believes you’re always right.
His ears are always open and he watches day and night.
You’re setting an example everyday and all you do for the little fellow who’s waiting to grow up just like you.
You’re the little fellow’s idol
You’re the wisest of the wise.
About you in his little mind no suspicions ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly, holds that all you say and do he will say and do in your way when he’s grown up just like you.”
This has been the tale of two sons, but really it’s been about a family of four people. And I can’t help but believe I’ve spoken perhaps to an Isaac who was resisting the will of God. Who was stubbornly resisting what God would desire because it doesn’t fit your plan. Perhaps I’ve spoken to a Rebekah who’s fashioning his or her life. The most important person in your life is you. Perhaps I’ve spoken to a Jacob who’s living a lie, deceiving. Perhaps you’re deceiving a spouse, deceiving a child, deceiving a teacher, a professor, deceiving your boss. Perhaps you’re an Esau, someone who has never accepted the birthright, never had it. No spiritual insight or desire. For you it is coming into the line of the Messiah and accepting Him as your Savior. Let’s pray.