Reading: Genesis 25: 19-34
Verses 22 and 23: The babies jostled each other within her… two nations are in your womb.
In our passage from Genesis 25, there is a lot going on. Isaac gets married but Rebekah is barren. Isaac prays about this and she becomes pregnant. Turns out Rebekah is carrying twins, which fight a lot in the womb. Two very distinct boys are born and each parent develops a favorite. Verses 22 and 23 speak of this: “The babies jostled each other within her… two nations are in your womb”. This would be an ongoing relationship for Jacob and Esau. In the end, the younger ‘buys’ the older’s birth rite with a bowl of stew because the older was hungry.
In the early part of our passage, Isaac turns to God in prayer for the solution to a problem. Isaac has experienced God’s faithfulness in his own past. He himself was an answer to a similar prayer by his father. Isaac also experienced God’s answer to a problem personally. First, it was he who was laid on the altar to be a sacrifice to God. But in response to Abraham’s faithfulness, God provided a different solution. Second, in needing a wife for his son, Abraham trusted his servant, who also trusted God fully. The solution to this was Rebekah. So when Isaac goes to God, he expects God to work. Like Isaac, we too have experiences with God working in our lives. So, like Isaac, may we pray believing God will answer.
Between Esau and Jacob, the unlikely one comes to have the inheritance. This is the opposite of how it should be. As a general rule, the Israelite people would be upset with this story on principle. But they love this story because clearly God is at work on behalf of His chosen people. In it they see their story. In many ways, this is a common story. God often chooses the unlikely, the least, the outcast, the underdog. Over much of their history the people of Israel have been the little guy, the weak nation, the underdog. Even for the New Testament, Jesus came from the small town, from insignificant parents. Paul was the greatest enemy of the new church yet came to be its greatest champion. God chooses the unlikely, the unexpected, the unknown.
When taken together, these two elements of the story bring us hope and promise. In times of honest and genuine prayer, we know that God can and will answer. He is faithful and this brings us hope. In terms of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, we know that God can and will use anyone. Even you and me. This is God’s promise. This day, may our prayers seeks to live into these two elements – hope and promise – as we love and serve the Lord today.