Genesis 25:19-23 (ESV)
These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 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.”
Remember, the last part is the LORD answering the question, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” The twins aren’t doing the usual twin thing in Rebekah’s womb; they’re really struggling. God tells her that they will become two nations and one will be stronger and the older child will “serve” the younger. They’re just the struggling kind.
The idea that the older shall serve the younger violates the normal order of things in that culture. The oldest son is assumed to be the principal heir. Esau will be born first, even if only by minutes. But he shall serve the younger.
God has this thing about overruling human traditions. The examples of non-firstborn greats in scripture is striking – Jacob, Joseph, David, etc.
God’s ways are not our ways.
We should always be open to second guessing ourselves. Our country was founded on these words – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Yet slavery wasn’t abolished nationwide until the 13th amendment was ratified in 1865, and women were only allowed to vote in a few states until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.
Our sinful nature makes us overconfident, especially about our goodness. We tend to be sure we’re in the right even when we haven’t thought that much about something. This is an example of the classic idea that, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This is illustrated brilliantly in the CS Lewis classic, Out of the Silent Planet.
Ask God to humble us and to open our eyes to errors we’ve never noticed before.
Pray that He will teach us to be less self-sure and more dependent on Him.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: