Outline of Lesson 10

 

MAIN POINTS and SCRIPTURES

 

  1. Abraham emphasizes the importance of marriage in the covenant.
  2. Rebekah was chosen as a wife for Jacob.

Gen. 24

 

  1. God gives revelation to women as well as men.

Gen. 25: 22-23

 

  1. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob.

Gen. 25: 20-34

 

  1. Jacob marries Leah and Rachel in the covenant, and through him the Abrahamic covenant continues.

Gen. 26-29

 

 

Set up blackboard, lectern/easel for books, notes.

 

  1. Opening prayer
  2. Have someone bring freshly popped popcorn into the room in a bowl.
  3. Ask “Doesn’t this smell good??” w/an evil smile and “How many of you are fasting today?”  and “Aren’t you REALLY HUNGRY right about now? and finally “How many of you would eat this popcorn if I started passing it around about now?” (Be honest!).
  4. Apologize for tempting everyone, and cover the bowl and take it away. Do NOT pass it around!!
  5. Did not do this because you were fasting and I wanted to make you feel bad, did it to show the similarity between something that is extremely tempting and seems harmless on the surface, but can put a stop to something that you are doing for the Lord. While breaking a fast is not a terrible thing, once you do break a fast, you can’t say that you’re still fasting. In a similar way but with graver consequences, giving in to temptation and immediate gratification –whether it is before marriage or during it—changes everything, too.
    1. does not mean you can’t repent
    2. does change your life permanently
    3. can’t take it back
    4. it’s important that we know the need to “keep fasting” as it were.
    5. remember you CAN have the “popcorn” but only after the fast is over. (I bet a lot of you will have some tonight after this), so the Lord is NOT keeping you from it, but just making you wait until you can appreciate it in its proper time.
  6. Think about how many times we’ve paid too much for something we thought we wanted. Anybody have experience like that to share?
  7. So immediate gratification might be tempting, but it is not the answer. Likewise, Abraham arranged carefully for Isaac to have a wife in its proper time and with the proper person.
    1. Why was Abraham so insistent that Isaac marry a woman  who was not where they lived, in Canaan?
    2. Why is it important that we marry in the covenant?
    3. How long has marriage in the covenant been a commandment of God?
  8. So Abraham sent his faithful servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. How could Eliezer tell that Rebekah would be a good wife for Isaac?
    1. beautiful
    2. kind
    3. assertive
    4. patient, willing to help others (camels can drink up to 30 gallons of water a day, and Eliezer had 10 camels with him)
    5. virgin
    6. modest means (goes to draw water herself, not her servants)
    7. great faith (hadn’t met Isaac before agreeing to marry him)
  9. What qualities do YOU want in a husband or wife?
  10. What qualities should each of us DEVELOP (whether or not we are already married) that will make us a good husband or wife?
    1. I don’t believe in the statement, “I can’t change; that’s just the way I am.” Do you?
    2. How do we know if we need to change? How can we actually change if we decide to?
  11. Interestingly, Rebekah is quite the opposite of Isaac, isn’t she? It is interesting and I think significant that in the story of Abraham’s heirs, the emphasis now falls onto the woman. Although Abraham is promised a full posterity and a great nation through his son Isaac, this story is more Rebekah’s, who becomes a matriarch, mother of many nations, than Isaac’s. For a long time, she is barren. (At least one scholar has suggested[1] that “It would seem that their lengthy state of childlessness led the Patriarchs to pray to God more frequently. . .”) Then she conceives and bears twins, who even in the womb, begin their lifelong struggle. It is because of her difficult pregnancy that she says her prayers to God and who provides her with revelation.
    1. More than one son from Rebekah at the same time guarantees rivalry, indicating that Nature is not a reliable indicator of the transmission of the blessings of the ages down through lineage
    2. Also indicates again that the firstborn is not necessarily favored one, the worldly expectation of favor
    3. Isaac favors Esau, while Rebekah favors Jacob
    4. When Esau gets extremely hungry, he begs Jacob for immediate food (immediate gratification theme!) and sells his birthright for a “mess of pottage.”
    5. Jacob is the one who will be future of their posterity and also marry in the covenant, while Esau marries a local girl, a Canaanite, actually 2 Canaanites.
    6. Rebekah has to figure out a way, even to the point of deception, to get Jacob to receive his birthright blessing from Isaac. What Jacob did to get the sold birthright from Esau before isn’t enough. He needs the actual blessing from Isaac; Isaac has to be involved.
    7. A lot of evidence to suggest that Isaac wasn’t all that naďve as to what was happening, but it works; he, too, goes for immediate gratification (wants to eat a good meal, so he gives the blessing)
    8. Rebekah lets the curse fall upon her, not Jacob, but he “hearkens unto her voice” and does what she tells him to. Blessing of Jacob a deception, but blessing in disguise because of Rebekah’s action. Through Jacob the line continues. Through Jacob’s “Here am I, father” comes echos of Isaac’s own “Here am I, father,” and Abraham’s “Here am I”  (x 3)  to the Lord.
    9. Makes Esau angry and hateful toward Jacob for a long time (though not forever)
  12. Jacob marries Leah and Rachel in the covenant, and through him the Abrahamic covenant continues.
    1. He waits for 7 years but is tricked into marrying Leah
    2. He waits for another 7 years and is given Rachel
    3. Both are married in the covenant to him.
  13. Today’s word = Rebekah, means to bind with a noose, like tying cattle up to a farmhouse, making a home. In many ways, Rebekah fulfills the Abrahamic promise and, like good marriages, evens up the gender lines a bit more even for our biblical history.

 

 



[1] Kaunfer, Alvan. “Who Knows Four? The Imahot in Rabbinic Judaism.” Judiasm  94-103.