Posts Tagged ‘Isaac and Rebekah’

Genesis 25:19-22 – WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?

Why is this happening to me?

The pain comes gradually over a three week period and crescendoes on Wednesday.

I need to stay focused in order to counsel a grieving family as we talk about the funeral, so I put the pain aside until 2.30pm when I get in my car, drive home and go to bed for the rest of the afternoon. The next day I see a trainee doctor who tells me that it is all a mystery and suggests a pain killer. The pain doesn’t go away. Will I be able to get up to speak at the funeral?

The next morning I feel completely pain free for the entire time I speak. God’s grace. The power of prayer! I am so grateful. But just as I walk out the door the pain begins again. More pain, another doctor, an Ultrasound, a CT scan, hospital for 3 days. Lord, why is this happening to me?

It seems that over the first 20 year period of their married life God wanted to teach both Isaac and Rebekah about being PERSISTENT IN PRAYER. They knew that Abraham, Isaac’s dad, had trouble having children until they were quite old and now they were faced with the same problem. All they could do was learn the principles of PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

With Abraham’s example, GIVING UP was not an option for Isaac and Rebekah. Matthew 7:7 (NLT) encourages us to “KEEP ON asking, and you will receive what you ask for. KEEP ON seeking, and you will find. KEEP ON knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man makes a difference (James 5:16) and after 20 years, the Lord answers Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins (Genesis 25:21). After 20 years!

At what point along the way am I going to give up and take the position that God is not going to answer? What is the point that I resign myself to thinking that He isn’t going to fulfil what He has promised in His Word? Will I stop praying after a week? A month? 6 months? A year? 5 years maybe? 10 years is a long time. 20 years seems forever! Will I stop a day before I receive God’s answer? An hour? A minute too soon? Am I going to do the same thing that Abraham did and try to help God along a little with His promises? Find an answer for myself? My way?

Even when God has already promised to meet my needs, somehow the Lord wants to make me acutely aware that prayer RELEASES what God has promised. Prayer focuses our reliance upon the grace of God and the TIMING is up to Him.

But the prayer journey takes a new twist. It seems even when she has her prayers answered concerning one major area in Rebekah’s life that the story of STRUGGLE doesn’t end there. Rebekah is pregnant after 20 years but she is obviously having a tough time during her pregnancy and as a believer, like her husband she also goes to the Lord for help. She still needs to pray. She cries out to God “Why is this happening to me?” Ever cried out to God like that? I know how she feels. Not that I will ever be pregnant, but it seems that in my experience giving birth to anything that God wants for your life involves a STRUGGLE IN PRAYER.

Jesus knows what it is like to struggle in prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane He prays “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” … He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:42-44 NLT). Lord, why is this happening to Me? The Father’s will is done but it involves a tremendous struggle. Jesus bears our sin.

The invitation that Rebekah and Isaac and Jesus Himself gives to us comes by way of a question. Are you willing to struggle with prayer for the purposes of God in your life? At what point will you give up the struggle? And what about the other struggles that can result when your prayers are finally answered? Am I willing to trust in Him when all I feel at present is the pain? …

Pastor Ross

Genesis 24 – GOD WRITES LOVE STORIES – Part 1

Bench in Park

She was there in the park, sitting on the bench in the mist, this mysterious beautiful woman in my life, and I realised that I was falling in love. We met with others in that early morning prayer meeting, but I wasn’t aware of them. I listened as she prayed and knew that we were being drawn together by God Himself. Like a window into her soul, her words enabled me to see her faith, intelligence, strength and beauty. I have known and loved this awesome woman twice as long as I was without her. We have been married for 37 years and this morning as I look out on a Autumn day in 2011, I remember being dressed in my school uniform on that cold misty morning when our journey began. I was 17. Years later Julie admitted that she had secretly prayed that if I showed up on that day it would be a sign that this would be the person she would marry.

God writes love stories. He is vitally concerned with the actual lives of people as they meet, fall in love, marry. Afterall, the first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. Our everyday lives and the decisions have bearing upon His purposes for us, especially concerning the one we marry.

Notice I said God writes love stories. Not romance novels and soap operas. “And they all lived happily ever after” was not in our story. There were times when Julie and I had some serious struggles when happiness wasn’t characteristic of our relationship, but God has been merciful and we are here in Sydney, Australia all these years later, with children and grandchildren, amazed at how rich and full and yes, how happy and in love we are.  

In the advancing years of my life, and I am not even half Abraham’s age in Genesis 24, I watch with prayerful interest the lives of my grandchildren and pray for God’s choice of a marriage partner for each of them. The oldest is not quite marriageable age yet. He is only five!

Sarah’s laughter has disappeared in the mists of time as we look at the love story of Genesis 24:1-67. She has been gone now for many years. Abraham is an old man. Isaac, his promised son, is forty years old (Genesis 25:20). One thing must play upon his mind as Abraham approaches the end of his life. GRANDCHILDREN! God has “blessed Abraham in all things” (Genesis 24:1 NASB), and part of that blessing is the promise of becoming a great nation through the lineage of Isaac (Genesis 12, 15). And so it is about time Isaac got married!

The traumatic events where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac to test his faith in Genesis 22 conclude with the words “Soon after this, Abraham heard that Milcah, his brother Nahor’s wife, had borne Nahor eight sons” (Genesis 22:20 NLT). Somehow they had some kind of social network happening, e-mails, facebook, or messenger going to and from the relatives he had left behind. It seems he even knew about Rebekah by name (Genesis 22:20, 23 NLT) and perhaps of her faith and beauty as she grew. Perhaps he knew that she would be compatible.

“Abraham said to his servant,… go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac. For the Lord, the God of heaven, … will send His angel ahead of you, and He will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine.” (Genesis 24:5-8 NLT)

Looking at this passage it looks like God has a contingency plan B should Rebekah stubbornly refuse to come and wipe Isaac off the e-marriage list. I know, God doesn’t have a plan B but so often WE DO. God writes love stories but so often we try to write our own chapters and do some creative adjustments to the story line. I was speaking recently with a woman who said she didn’t find the right person. He was an alcoholic and verbally and physically abusive.

God sees that marriage is a picture of Jesus and the Church. Ephesians 5:22 says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.

Seeking God’s choice in a marriage partner is important, but perspective on that relationship is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

God is a generational God. He invites us to play a part in the lives of our descendents. Are you praying now for your children, your grandchildren and great grandchildren to find the THE RIGHT ONE” as a marriage partner?

If you are considering marriage are you willing NOT to make your own plan B? Are you willing NOT TO MARRY AT ALL until you find the RIGHT PERSON? Are you willing to trust God to help you find the THE RIGHT ONE? Big challenge!

Pastor Ross