First Posted: 1/15/2009
It was not for the lack of prayer, because we are told Isaac prayed for a child. He was the one through whom the promised seed would be produced, yet there were no children and he pleaded with God that Rebekah would conceive.
Throughout the twenty years, Isaac must have prayed countless times for a child. Why would God allow this to happen and what does it teach us?
God's promises should not prevent our prayers. When our Father makes a promise, He is not telling us we do not have to pray. In fact, God's promises should encourage our prayers. Secondly, delay is not denial. As we pray in faith over and over again, we have to trust that our Father's delay is a result of His infinite wisdom. The third lesson we learn from Isaac is a child is a gift from God.
God remembered His promise and heard Isaac's prayers and Rebekah became pregnant with twin boys who struggled so energetically inside her that she was uncomfortable physically and emotionally.
She must have asked mothers, and compared her experience with theirs and became troubled. What would be the outcome of this pregnancy? What her own life?
She prayed and God explained to her there were two children in her womb and they were as different as two children could be because they were “two nations.” Moreover, in explaining the turmoil, God said one child would be stronger than the other and “the elder shall serve the younger.”
Finally, the twins were born and Scripture tells us the first child was red and hairy, and he was named Esau. The second child, named Jacob, is said to have grabbed Esau's heel as a sign that he would pursue the birthright of the firstborn son.
As they grew into manhood, there could not be twins more unlike than Jacob and Esau. Jacob stayed close to home and Esau loved to hunt. One day Esau came home tired and hungry after a hunting trip. Jacob was cooking some broth, and Esau asked for some of the broth. Jacob told Esau to sell him his birthright for a bowl of the broth, and Esau consented to give up his birthright.
Perhaps one lesson to be learned here is that we must be careful when we are tired and weak. Esau was strong and healthy, but he willingly let go of something precious.
As we look at all of this week's Scripture, though, we might think more about God's wisdom, power and grace. God chooses the person He wants, not the one culture dictates should be chosen.
There are people who could do so much good in Christ's name, but they will not because they have either been told by themselves or someone else they are not the right kind of person.
If God has called you, He will equip you and go with you through your journey.
– The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. [email protected]