And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
Today this passage stood out to me in my continuing reading of Genesis. I love reading about how God builds up and establishes his people Israel. First, there's Abraham, who is such an unlikely candidate for such a great blessing. Then, you have Isaac who is not Abraham's firstborn, chosen to carry the line of blessing. In two generations we find two women with closed wombs.
How did I miss this?
I totally missed that Rebekah, like Sarah, was found barren. It was such a "light bulb" moment for me when I read this. It's embarrassing really, that I hadn't caught on to this. What's more, is that Isaac prayed on her behalf because she was barren. This is just beautiful. It is truly beautiful. Here is a husband beseeching God to open the womb of his wife, and what does God do?
He granted his prayer.
I just love this. There is so much here. God is working in Isaac's heart, a heart that is already tender, I'm sure, to the truth that God is sovereign over all things. He grew up under the care of a woman who was smiled on by the Most High. I have no doubt that Isaac knew how amazing his conception was, and how it was Providence that made it happen. So what does he do? He turns to The One who he knows does mighty things to build families.
I believe that God does a gracious work in the hearts of His people through times of infertility. I know that this is such a sensitive subject, and I know this because my own sister struggled to build her family and wrestled with the pain and heartache and yearning that goes with hope deferred. I also know that she would not have the family she has today had she not gone through what she did, nor would she be the person she is today.
I think that God, in this story (true story thankyouverymuch), is using closed wombs to solidify in the minds of those He's using that HE is the builder, author and fulfiller of the promise given to Abraham, not them.
And it sounds like getting the desire of her heart isn't very easy for Rebekah. She cries out to God, "Why!?" Isn't that just the way we are? We're so difficult to please at times, aren't we? I can't help but kind of smile to myself at the awful similarities to my own wretched self. I am so often a Rebekah. And when I look at the context of what she's complaining about, it's almost laughable (though I know that pregnancy isn't always a walk in the park.)
But really. First she experiences infertility. Then she gets pregnant, and there's twins! Now, she's whining about the pain of their wrestling within her.
Do you see how gracious God is in His response to her? He doesn't rebuke her moment of unthankfulness. He just tells her what He's doing. He's making two nations, and He's establishing, yet again, that He is in control of where the blessing will lie and how it will happen. The older one? Nope. The blessing won't be through him. Nope. God chooses the younger, the weaker.
This isn't a passage about whether or not God will open wombs or any prescription about "how" to get Him to do it. This is about God working all things for His glory and everyone's good. He has a plan. He is in control. Whatever circumstance I find myself in, I know that He has proved Himself faithful over and over again.
Let all the saints take a deep breath, and say, "Amen."