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Saturday, May 2, 2020

2020.05.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 25:19–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose “genealogy” is this (Genesis 25:19)? How old is Isaac in Genesis 25:20? How does verse 20 identify Rebekah? What does Genesis 25:21 tell us that Isaac did for her? Why? How does Yahweh respond? What is happening within Rebekah in Genesis 25:22? How does she feel about this? How does she respond? What does Yahweh say are in her womb (Genesis 25:23)? What does He say will happen to them when they come out? How will they relate? And who will serve who? What days are completed in Genesis 25:24? What were there in her womb? How does the first come out (Genesis 25:25)? What do they call him? What does the brother do when he comes out in Genesis 25:26? What do they call him? How old is Isaac at this point? 
In this passage, the Lord keeps a promise in response to Isaac’s prayer, and makes another promise in response to Rebekah’s prayer. But it’s not just the two kinds of answers that are rather different from one another, the two kinds of praying are different too.

The passage ever-so-subtly tells us that Isaac prayed for his wife for twenty years. The form of the verb for pleading is one that may indicate ongoing action, and the passage tells us when he began (40 years old, Genesis 25:20) and when he finished (60 years old, Genesis 25:26). The man who submitted to his aged father on the altar on Mt. Moriah, and whom we met meditating in the field in the evening, and who loved his wife is a man who pleads with Yahweh for his wife for twenty years. Prayer is often a long, sustained work of faith.

But though it requires strong and sustained faith, the way that this prayer operates is according to a pretty simple faith. What’s the summary statement? “Isaac pleaded with Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren; and, Yahweh granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Genesis 25:21). We make a plea, and the Lord grants it. He glorifies Himself as the Hearer of prayer.

Rebekah had seen this for decades in her husband, and in Genesis 25:22 she comes into a moment where she too needs Yahweh to be a hearer of prayer unto her. It’s difficult enough to be pregnant with twins, but these sons don’t wait to “take it outside” (cf. Genesis 25:26); they’re already fighting in the womb! How bad is it? The translation smooths it over for us, but Rebekah asks, “If it is thus, why am I?”! Perhaps some mothers who have had difficult pregnancies will not be surprised that she despaired of her existence.

The answer is poetic, but it may have felt to her as there were literally two nations in there, and that they were at war and had to be separated. But they are there because the Lord has plans for them. What a comfort it is that nothing happens apart from His providence! He doesn’t do things our way (the younger shall serve the older) but His way (the older shall serve the younger). It is all of grace (the deceiver from birth is the chosen one—certainly not for his righteousness!). So that it may be all unto His glory.
For what long-term thing are you praying? In what desperate circumstance are you praying?
Suggested songs: ARP65A “Praise Awaits You, God” or TPH65C “Praise Waits for Thee in Zion”

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