Women In The Word - OT: Day 9

Rebekah

by

Today's Text: Genesis 24:12-19, Genesis 24:62-67, Genesis 25:19-28, Genesis 27:1-40, Romans 9:6-13

There are a few phrases we’ve tried to ban from our family vocabulary, albeit unsuccessfully.

The first is the classic, “Are we there yet?” No. No, we are not. You will know we are there when the car stops and we get out of it.

The next is the always ineffective, “But he/she did it first!” Sorry, buddy. Doesn’t change the fact that you did it second.

The third phrase, and the one my little police-people seem to favor most, is the ubiquitous protest, “No fair!” That one was added to the list the day we, the explanation-weary grownups, realized, Hey! We’re in charge here! We don’t have to explain why only of you gets the last bowl of Lucky Charms! Or the coveted backseat. Or the first ride on the tractor.

But there’s a catch: sometimes my kids’ cries of injustice are quite valid. Sometimes they are simply misunderstanding. And yes, sometimes they are whiney for the sake of being whiney. Whatever the case, true fairness is more of a philosophical challenge than I’d like to tackle on a typical Monday morning, so a sleepy, “Shh, just eat your cereal,” will have to do. Like it or not, we’re the parents here. Control over these decisions is ours, even when no one at the breakfast table can make good sense of Mom and Dad’s choices.

Rebekah’s story is not about cereal or tractor rides, but it is one about control: true control (God’s sovereignty) and feigned control (our will).

We see God’s sovereignty early in Rebekah’s story when He chooses her as a wife for Isaac. What would make for a swoon-worthy, “love at first sight” encounter in a movie script, we know—from our perspective behind-the-scenes—is actually God’s provision. This legendary love story was God-ordained from the start! (Genesis 24:14-15)

When it comes to Rebekah’s sons, Jacob and Esau, the notion of sovereignty versus will is a trickier topic. This is no “last bowl of cereal” debate—this is serious business about the blessing of her boys and the election and protection of the Messiah’s lineage. And yet, Rebekah’s manipulation of her own story and theirs does not upset or threaten God’s sovereignty. Sin has very real consequences—consequences that grieve God’s heart even more than they grieve our own—but God’s plan remains unwavering and His goodness steadfast, even while His children exercise misjudgment, favoritism and blatant deceit. (Genesis 27)

God knew all the pieces of Rebekah’s story and purposed them for His plan and His glory long before they came to be.

God knew Rebekah was a sinner when He chose her to be Isaac’s wife. And yet, her act of kindness toward Abraham’s servant was not the reason she was chosen. God’s plan was the reason.

God knew Isaac would love Rebekah and devote his life to her. But her beauty was not the reason Isaac loved Rebekah when he first laid eyes upon her. God’s plan was the reason.

God knew Rebekah would try to manipulate her sons’ birthright and blessing. Her scheme was not the reason for the redirection of Isaac’s blessing from Esau to Jacob—God’s plan was the reason. And God’s plan is good.

Rebekah’s story is ultimately not about her or her sons; it is not about life’s fairness or her attempt to control it. Rebekah’s story, like ours, is about our gracious God. It is about a God who does things we cannot understand from our limited movie-theater-seat perspective. Yet He does them in the only way His nature allows—out of ultimate goodness and love.

The truth is, we are all Rebekahs, assuming control of circumstances that are not ours to control. We are all Esaus, wondering what we’ve done wrong when the “not fair” moments of life come our way. And, praise the Lord, we are all Jacobs, given the Father’s blessing when we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

Sisters, our plans do not save us! Our mad hunting skills and Bible-reading savvy do not merit the Father’s blessing. Certainly, our scheming and our sin, no matter how well intentioned, are not our hope. Our salvation only comes from the hand of our good and sovereign God—“not from works but from He who calls” (Romans 9:12 HCSB).

Let’s praise God together today for the amazing, unfair grace given to us by our good God through His Son—our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

SRT-WITW-OT_instagramday9

 

  • Becky Thompson

    Needed this so much today. I need to know that God is in control and I don’t have to be.

  • Alex Winslow

    WOW thank you LORD for blessing these women who help us learn from the Scriptures! So grateful for this today. Praising GOD.

  • Andrea Z.

    A great revelation and reminder that there is nothing and no one that can steal the promises of God. They are good. They are unshakeable. What he has spoken he has spoken into existence and it is done.

  • Rest & be thankful! Love this & that God is in control of every intricate part of our life.

  • “If God wants something to succeed, you can’t mess it up. If God wants something to fail, you can’t save it. Rest and be faithful”

  • Camila Alves

    What a blessing! Thank you!!!

  • Candace Mahoney

    Yes, praise the Lord we are all Jacob’s who have screwed up and taken advantage but still have a Father who loves us and shows us mercy!!

  • It’s takes a lot of faith to believe that even though we mess up, God knew it from the beginning and already has a plan to use it for good. Who am I to think I am powerful enough to mess up Gods plan. Not that we should justify sin because afterward we know God can use everything for his glory but crazy to think God really is that powerful and knowledgable. May I remember God really is always in control even when I think he isn’t. It is because of God’s plan! I like that!!

    • Hayle Hullett

      Love your wisdom KMM! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • I wanted to say thank you to Amanda Bible Williams for such a great devotional. So many times I can get caught up on the “this isn’t fair” or “this doesn’t sound fair” that I forget that this is God’s plan and like you said God’s plan is good.

  • I don’t understand what the plan was. What did God do with the result of Rebekah’s actions in making Jacob get the birthright?

    • JennG

      M, the plan was for the lineage of Christ to be protected. Esau represented a worldly man only concerned with satisfying his flesh, and Jacob represented God’s choice for leading Israel. He promised Rebekah that Jacob would lead, and in her flesh and lack of trust in God’s sovereignty she decided to try to make sure God’s promise worked out. It would have worked out no matter what, and God shows His grace in that her mistake didn’t upset His ultimate plan.

  • We must be totally dependent on God. It is what He wants for us and what we need from Him to have the lives He intended for us. It is the only way we can have peace and joy through all circumstances .

  • Aww man so good we are all Rebekah’s wow! Such inspiration. That GODS plan is the best plan no Matter how we try to control the situation. Hahaha!! I do admit I fail so Bad at times. As I try to control the beginning, middle, and end. Letting Go and Trusting God with my broken heart…. I got a do it, do it, do it in Jesus name amen!
    (Blessed
    is she
    Who has
    Believed
    That the LORD
    Would Fulfill His
    promises
    To me )
    Luke 1:45

  • Adrienne

    Ah, lightbulb! So obvious, but really what I needed to hear to set my brain right – my success is because of Gods plan, not because my plan happen to work out right that time.

  • God is so encouraging! I've been struggling with something, and when I read the passage about Abraham's servant going to look for a bride for Isaac, it occurred to me that if I've prayed about it (which I have), I can leave it in God's hands. If He comes through, it is part of His plan for me. If not, it's not worth having, anyway! Yesterday, I was discouraged and worried. Today, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders when I realized, like Abraham's servant, I can trust God to take care of everything!

  • Mary Beth

    I love this thought: God’s plan was the reason. All glory and praise and honor for the stuff of our lives (relationships, jobs, hurts, pains, joys, blessings), is all because it’s His. His plans. His ways. Praise the One whose thoughts are Higher. Praise. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

  • We are all Rebekah’s, Esaus, and praise the Lord Jacobs. Praise Him indeed.

  • Arlyne VanHook

    So timely! Just what I needed this evening!

  • MrsWalton88

    Just a reminder that God is in complete control of my life and I need to stop trying to be in control and give it up.

  • Thanks for bringing this story into perspective!!! Nothing is our past God! Not a person or act or though goes from him unnoticed. Tomorrows freedom is today’s surrender. Jesus is LOrd!

  • Sarah tried to bring about God’s promise in human strength and messed things up, Rebekah tried to bring about God’s promise in human strength and it worked out … I have experienced both (as well as many instances of God working out His plan without me even being aware of it until later!)
    I guess it’s just another example of how His plans and purposes are well beyond our limited perspective. Even in my confusion I am grateful that this is true.

  • Today I am thinking of and praying for Rachel from Texas who is shown in the picture. I saw her post about losing her baby on a previous day’s feed. I pray that this message brings her comfort today!

    • Kenzie

      Do you know Rachel or wondering where you saw that post? I too have lost a baby and just thought I might be able to reach out to her… Thanks!

  • [email protected]

    Such powerful words! Thank you!!

  • Our story is ultimately not about us but a canvas that God paints an individual master piece! Yes indeed!

  • Kasey Summers

    Love this! Our faith is not about our behavior… God wants our heart. Our devotion. Good works do not mean anything if the motivation is not out of a heart of gratitude!!

  • Wendi Colaiuta

    Day 9 – Rebekah – such a complex combination of God’s pure provision (making His choice of Rebekah for Issac clear to Abraham’s servant) and human manipulation of events, faulty motives & means… but in the end, God’s sovereignty over His own plan to take Jacob from the comforts of home so he could encounter the one true God on his own, in a deeply personal way and begin the family from which God’s chosen people would arise. That is redemption! But I feel for Rebekah because those same circumstances took her beloved son far away from her. We don’t even read that he ever saw her again before she died. Could God’s plan have worked out another way, sparing her those harsh consequences had she not intervened? We don’t know. He may still have called her to give up contact with Jacob in order to allow God’s perfect plan for his life to unfold. But it does cause us to pause and consider our own actions and motives, cause us to look to God for His perfect way thru confusing circumstances and absolutely leave us with grateful hearts that our God is in the midst of it all, bringing beauty from ashes!!! “Not from works, but from the One who calls!”

  • I am Rebecca. ..I am Esau. ..I am Jacob yet this is not about me but about Him, my story is His. Hallelujah.

  • Laura Jernigan

    Does anyone else shutter when Jacob says: “20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

    “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.”
    – He brought the Lord’s name into his deceitful plan!!! Oh that we be people of honor and do things to only glorify the name of God!!

    Also, not really in keeping with the women theme, but an excellent sermon on this story is from Steven Furtick’s Death to Selfie series “Just Call Me Jacob.” – the whole sermons series is great!!

    • Bernice Benabe

      Yes!! It saddens me that Jacob brought Gods name into his deception.

      • Katie

        I guess we need to know how completely undeserving he is (we are). Can you imagine the theological distinctions which might arise if there was any redeeming aspect to his actions.

  • Antimony

    “God knew all the pieces of Rebekah’s story and purposed them for His plan and His glory long before they came to be”. And He meant it for good. Even though she kept trying to grab control of the situation and manipulate everything … God used it to accomplish His plan. Nothing could thwart it.

  • And, praise the Lord, we are all Jacobs, given the Father’s blessing when we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

    Wow, never looked at it that way when reading the story of Esau and Jacob. I have to remember how every single thing in the word points back to Jesus and His grace.

  • Loving this study!! How often do I set out to follow God’s will, only to try and orchestrate things myself at some point along the way!! It’s almost like I think Gods needs me to make his will happen! So glad his grace covers our silliness, our lack of trust that it’s all about His plan, not our doing, fixing, or making things happen, but simply aligning with his will and being obedient in his call. Thanks for the reminders SRT!

  • This is wonderful ❤️

  • KendallS

    my plans do not save me

    praise you Father that your plan of salvation for me reigns – not my feeble attempts to feign control. amen.

  • I am SOOOO guilty of trying to take the reins of control. God is currently "pruning" me at the moment. Patience and trust ebb and flow. Some days I feel them strongly but then I gradually get wrapped up in what I need to do to accomplish what I want (like Rebekah) instead of trusting God's perfect plan, timing, and will. "He who has promised is faithful." – I need to remember this always!

  • Jenniwrengirl

    Gods word was always that Esau would serve Jacob. He spoke to Rebekah. He gave her a word. She made sure Gods word was fulfilled.

  • Loving these devotionals. Wish I could have gotten the book but it wasn't in the budget. But just following along daily is quite helpful. The photos and Scriptures are a work of art. Thanks so much.

  • Randi-Paige Hall

    Wow. I love that I can now see Rebekah as someone just like me. Not a crazy person who loved one kid more than the other and made sure the one she loved got everything. She’s real now. Although she was a sinner and tried to change a plan, God’s plan unfolded still! Not because of her (me), but be cause of HIM!

  • It is so easy to get lost among details, that even bible reading can become all about us. But it is not. It is about HIM and HIS plans. And yet it is so personal. May the Lord help me understand and live this in my day to day life. Thank you so much,Amanda.

  • Thanks for making Rebekah seem like a real person and not an evil lunatic haha. I’ve heard/read this story numerous times over the course of my 31 years, but today I see her as a sinner, just like me. We don’t struggle with the same sin, but the story is a reminder that when we take control over a situation, God’s will prevails anyway. We are just setting ourselves up to make the process more frustrating and painful than it has to be (for ourselves and those in our sphere of influence).

  • Amen! Thank you SRT for this devo. Thank You Lord for being our faithful gracious God. We are so undeserving, yet Christ makes us righteous in Your eyes — thank You Jesus. Thank You Lord for your scandalous grace, your supremely good & loving ways. Though we wanna be in control, help us to bow to Your ultimate plans & to give You all glory & honor, Lord. May You draw more near to You. Amen.

  • Romans 9:13

    13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    That statement has always bothered me. Did God love Jacob, but hate Esau?

    • Tabitha

      There was a nice discussion of this earlier in the comments.

    • Stefanie

      Hi sister. I am no Hebrew scholar, but I did spend a few years at Bible School studying Hermeneutics, and I do think that the meaning of this verse is a little bit lost in translation. They had many more words for love and hate than our English has. God definitely loved both brothers, for Him not to would be in contrast to His character. I think this is saying, rather, that he chose Jacob to carry the line of Messiah and Esau he did not choose. Doesn’t love Esau less, just for this purpose He did not choose him. Make a little bit more sense? It’s just about sovereignty, not about God’s emotions.

    • Stefanie

      Also, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize you were referring to the verse in Romans rather than the Genesis story. In Romans the context is Paul writing to believers both of Jew and non-Jew origin. The Jewish audience would immediately know what he was referring to when he mentioned “Jacob I have loved-” it means he chose Jacob to carry the line of Christ and, consequently, the Jewish line of heritage. And Paul is using the concept to teach them that God can choose to save whomever He wants, that salvation and righteousness aren’t just for Jews, but that’s it’s open to all. Again, just about His divine choice as God :) He is a good God for certain!!

    • Jae

      God loved them both but hated the SIN that Esau committed against Him, Jacob and Issac. Remember, God hates sin, not the people.

  • Oh, this is such a good word for me today! :)

    I am ambitious — a planner and goal setter through and through! If I can set goals or steps to make something happen, I totally do! But in the matter of my long, long season of singleness (I'm 31), no matter what I try or do or pray, my situation doesn't change. I have been doing online dating for years, been set up through friends, met men through church, etc., but each and every time, God closes the door and the dates lead no where.

    Lately, I have been reminding myself (and clinging to the truth) that God knows all of the pieces of my story and that He has purposed them for His plan and His glory long before they will come to be. It is not up to me to find a husband. My heart is open to God's call and leading, but ultimately, it is up to Him to orchestrate that story in my life, if it is part of His plan for me.

    While I hope and pray with all of my heart that it is, I also can rest in the knowledge that even when I don't understand, God is still good and sovereign and working out all things. I don't have to fear the unknown. I can trust the One who sees — and plans — it all.

    • Shonna

      I also am going through the same thing. It seems so hard to just look to God when we long for a husband. When I know He is my greatest desire. I’ll be praying for you. Please keep me in your prayers also.

      • MayaG

        from another perspective, I have been praying for my son who is now 30, since he was born. that a perfect wife for him would be born and raised to love him perfectly and in God’s will. so just know that perhaps there has been some one praying for you in this way and that God will lead you to the man of His dreams

        • Katie

          Thank you so much for this sweet comment, MayaG! What a sweet thing to think about. :)

      • Katie

        Thank you, Shonna! Praying for you today…that you would trust God's perfect plan for your life and feel His love and peace with you always.

  • Amazing devotional I look forward to this every morning ! Thanks SRT

  • Cathy Neumeister

    The Scripture quoted at the end should be Romans 9:11 not 12.

    • shereadstruth

      Hi Cathy!

      Oddly enough, it varies a little bit among translations. Here's verses 11 and 12 from the HCSB translation for a little more context: "For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand— not from works but from the One who calls—she was told: The older will serve the younger."

      I hope this helps!
      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Just love this story of Rebekah and Isaac! In fact this was sung by my father and brother on our wedding day. "twas a day in early springtime by an ancient wayside well, Eleazor paused to rest his camel train. He had come to find a bride for Isaac though the evening shadows fell, so his weary journey would not be in vain, There he met the fair Rebekah decked her in jewels rich and rare and brought to Abraham and Sarah far away. There Rebekah loved her Isaac and he loved Rebekah fair, for the weary journey did not end in vain."
    Such a beautiful story to walk the aisle to. At the time I saw Eharmony and previous marriages as the desert the two of us had traveled to find one another.
    But God, knew the full story! He knew that there would be great unfairness in our lives. Though @ times the injustice appears to profit and righteousness is not currently rewarded, we know that when we read God's word and hear God speak of his plan and purpose for us, we know our part is to submit to his authority. Even when I have tried to manipulate ( rather the many times I have tried and failed) God has worked together for good, the fig leaves & goat hairs of my life! May the above statement, be the legacy I leave to the next generation.

  • I was so excited for this study, but I am started to become quite bothered by how women are depicted in the Bible. I understand we cannot rewrite these stories; however I feel that all of the women seem so secondary to their husbands and the work of their husbands. As an example: Eve causes the fall of humanity, Sarai is jealous, Rebekkah is deceptive. Why don't we see God putting women in places of power, redemption, and prophecy? I feel that only Esther and Mary are considered positive female role models in the Bible. I feel like this study is making me question so much about the writers of the Bible and how the church had grown to ultimately force women to the side lines. I thought this study would be empowering, but I am just upset so far.

    • Natalia

      I can understand what you are saying. But it’s crazy because I actually find this study super encouraging because I am meeting women’s stories who are so similar to mine.. With so much fault but covered in so much grace! I love that these women aren’t just strong and brave and leaders because then I would cast more praise upon them then upon God. And desire to be more like them then God. And these women we’ve studies so far show so much about GODS CHARACTER. It’s incredible. I love how every story points to the gospel!

    • shereadstruth

      Hang in there, Midge!! I'm with you – some of these stories are quite disturbing. That is true of many stories of men in the Bible as well and, sadly, true of us as a sinful human race. But!! There are so many sweet stories of redemption in the Bible! And even more than the individual stories, there is THE great Story, which is the story of a God who pursues us in our sin and restores us by His love. THAT is the story we are celebrating in this book — we do not long to be like or unlike any of these women. We only hope to be more like Christ Himself. (Also, there are some beautiful stories coming, especially in the New Testament. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised! We hope you'll hang in there with us.) Hugs and grace to you. – Amanda.

      • KendallS

        Love this Amanda! :)

      • Laura Jernigan

        Does anyone else shutter when Jacob says: “20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

        “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.”
        – He brought the Lord’s name into his deceitful plan!!! Oh that we be people of honor and do things to only glorify the name of God!!

        Also, not really in keeping with the women theme, but an excellent sermon on this story is from Steven Furtick’s Death to Selfie series “Just Call Me Jacob.” – the whole sermons series is great!!

    • Catherine Garza

      Midge,
      I think maybe the reason we don’t see the stories in the Bible elevating women to positions of power, redemption and prophesy is because that is God’s position. These stories aren’t intended to elevate us, men or women. They are intended to point to the character’s of God

      • Heather

        Amen to that….
        I find comfort in these stories, because these women are just like me, and God loves them dearly even though they don’t always choose what is right.

    • Trisha

      I also hear what you are saying. But you can’t say that if we were doing a study on the men of the bible that they would fare any better. Adam blamed his wife when God was asking him to be accountable, Abraham lied, Moses murdered, David committed adultery, Jacob deceived, and the list could go on. The point is we are ALL in need of a Savior. And the encouraging part is we can see from their stories that God can still use us despite our failures!! It is all for His glory!!
      About women and the church, Jesus honored women in the New Testament. They served Jesus and followed Him to the cross, they are credited with being the first to discover the resurrection, a woman anoints Jesus before he is crucified.. I don’t have time to continue but women ARE very much so honored in Scripture. The historical mistreatment of women in the church comes out of the sinful hearts of human beings, not the Scripture.

    • Katie

      Hi Midge!

      Thank you for your honesty in how you’re responding to the study. I wanted to try to encourage you by asking you to take a look at the bigger picture. If we were doing a study on the men of the Bible, we would be coming across stories very similar to these. Stories of deceit, secrets, disobedience and sin. David was called a man after God’s own heart, and yet he slept with another man’s wife and had her husband killed to cover it up. Abraham was the leader of his household, and yet he chose to disobey God by conceiving a child with his wife’s servant. The Bible is filled with people who sin, men and women. That’s what’s so important to understand…we all need a Savior.

      Now, God did put women in places of power and prophecy. Esther was chosen as queen and saved her people, the Jews, from genocide. Deborah was chosen as one of the Judges. Ruth is shown to be a faithful daughter-in-law to her late husband’s mother, staying by her side even when she had no obligation to do so. Remember that women had/have important roles in God’s story of redemption. But the important thing to remember is that it’s ultimately God’s story, and he can use imperfect people (men and women alike) to make a perfect masterpiece.

      I hope this helps!

    • jessiechatchat

      With you. I believe scripture is holy. Yet written under absolute patriarchy (unholy). I’m praying that Deborah makes an appearance.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Oh the things a mom will do to see that her children get what she thinks they need.. We may not bow down to Baal any longer, but often we make our children the little gods and serve them.. Idolatry.. The Lord showed me this in a painful way with my oldest. There is a fine line in being a good mom and being a mom who puts her kids before her God. I’m glad that God is sovereign nonetheless, but I don’t want to have any gods before Him.. I don’t want to scheme and manipulate to try and get my kids what I think they deserve.. I want to lay them in the altar and let God have His way in them.

    • Heather

      Being a mother is a very difficult job, that is true. I am so glad that God has grace for us when we choose to forget to let God work, and not to force our way….

  • Amen!

  • Abby Dawn

    The story of Rebekah is an elaborate plan of manipulation and deceit. Personally, it is easy to read this and say to myself "Wow, I would never go to that great of lengths to get what I want," however on a more micro level, I think we do this all the time. We may embellish or exaggerate on a story or even tell somebody what we think they want to hear just to earn favor in their eyes. The Lord is sovereign and His plan always prevails, whether we obey Him or not, ultimately He knows the path we will take to see through to His plans. Easy to rest in that this morning but not always easy to surrender control to Him. Thank y'all for this study!

  • I cannot upset or threaten Gods sovereignty. Even though I sin, choose to be deceitful, exercise favoritism, or am just plain selfish, I cannot taint His Glory!
    Walk in the confidence of His provision & protection; and may we all rest in His Grace!

  • Christina

    The last verse quoted is referenced wrong. I believe it’s supposed to be Romans 9:11. (Specifically 11b) “11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—”

    • shereadstruth

      Thanks, Christina! Oddly enough, it varies according to translation. I added the applicable translation (HCSB) to the reference to avoid further confusion. xo, Amanda

  • lauraloewen1221

    So grateful for God's provision and hand heavy upon me even from my earliest days. Raised in a family where religion and good works took precedence over a relationship with the Lord and dependence upon His grace, it truly amazes it at how God literally saved my teeny self right out the NICU, and the answered the prayers of many. Then against all odds, He would pluck me out of a trajectory for a life of sin, set me on fire for Him and make my life goal to know Him and make Him known.

    I love how Amanda wrote that Rebekah's life and story had been purposed for God's plan long before it came to be. I found myself nodding this morning in agreement and with utter gratitude. God is so good to me, giving me unmerited favor, even long before the pages of my story came to life.

  • I love the old song from 1910, Grace Greater than Our Sin. The refrain might be familiar.
    Grace, Grace, God’s grace,
    Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
    Grace, Grace, God’s grace,
    Grace that is greater than all our sin!

  • Can I just say how astonished and blessed I have been by this community. The devotionals and commentary are such a reflection of the work of the Holy Spirit. Never have I been a part of something online that was this respectful and thought provoking! I love that people ask the hard questions, and we are not afraid to answer them through God's word. Rich rich rich! Thank you all for pouring yourselves out here (not just the writers but readers who comment with such wisdom and generosity). God is working!

  • Wow! a great reminder that we are saved through God's grace as Ephesians 2:8-9 say. Salvation is truly a gift from God and not a result of anything I do.

  • JferLynne

    What another great lesson here and a great reminder that I so needed. No matter what I try to do, no matter how good or bad I am it always comes back to great, deep, amazing grace. God's amazing grace that has saved me and rescued all of us. God is always and forever in control! What peace and rest comes in that. I don't have to strive and I don't have to beg, God is for me always and He will do his perfect will. I can cease striving and allow him to be God. May I not forget. His love is constant and unchanging and I am so grateful for his "unfair grace"!!

  • ashleyrose

    The whole, "it's just not fair," theme has been ringing in my life a lot lately. Everywhere I look I see hurting people and people that have just gone through so much, and it does not seem fair. Yesterday, as I saw a black crow scoop up a tiny baby bunny from its mother and then flaunt it around to taunt the poor mother, I broke down. It's just like that, isn't it? There is such darkness in the world and at times there seems to be no hope. I've been struggling with this a lot lately. Praying and trusting in the Lord to restore hope and the promises of victory he has made-for myself and my brothers and sisters everywhere.

    • Jenny R

      I think I would cry at that too!

    • rissa

      Same here! I am struggling with this very same thing and your story made me cry. How to believe in the goodness of God when everywhere on earth is sadness and personally as well. Glad to know I'm not alone.

  • So thankful to be reminded that control is not mine, it is His. I often feel like I need this tattooed on my forehead as I struggle daily to give up control. "In Your time, Lord" is a phrase I repeat in prayer often. This is a wonderful read to start this day. A day I choose to say, "God I KNOW you've got this. Thank you for your love, mercy, and grace!"

  • I needed to read this. It resonates with what I'm feeling right now. Amen.

  • This just took me backwards to the very beginning, with Eve. You could say the same for her. God knew Eve was going to be a sinner and that her actions would forever change mankind's relationship with God. God's plan was the reason. It is mind boggling, and it doesn't serve my spinning mind to question, why do it this way God?

    The answer is — His sovereignty, His plan.

    We don't get to say not fair to Lot's wife being put to death, but Eve and Rebekah not being punished in this manner for their sin.

    I get to say thank you Lord for this unfair grace you have bestowed on me.
    Yes unfair!
    I don't deserve it, but you gave it to me.

  • sweetdes2014

    Thank you for, "God's plan is the reason." I've been trying to figure out why my husband is so sick. Why must we see him deteriorate right before our eyes? The hurt of losing my 6.2, 225 pound strong weight lifting husband has so overwhelmed me that I've questioned what have I've done to deserve this. But I have to submit to His will and His plan. It's so hard not knowing the plan or the next step but I have to remember and know that God is not walking blindly…He has a plan!

    • EDS Mom

      My heart goes out to you, sweetdes2014. Having a child deteriorate with a chronic illness, God took me to the place to be able to say, "no matter what, if my child lives or dies, you are still my God, and I will follow you no matter what." It is hard to see God during these trials, but He is there. Seek Him and you will find Him. The neat thing is my child is still here! We're still trying to figure out His plan for her life, but He used illness to create opportunities for us to share Christ with others along the path. God will work out His plan in spite of ourselves just like He did in today's true account of Rebekah. He is forever faithful and it is beautiful to see your words proclaim that.

    • SusieT

      Oh, Sweetdes, praying for you and your husband this morning!

    • Candacejo

      So sorry for what you are going through…praying for you all right now. ♥ Cling to the Word!

    • Megan

      HI Sweet Des,

      We have never met but I felt compelled to reply. I too have been watching my husband struggle and fight for his health for four years now. He too is my big strong weight lifting hubby, 6'8" and 250 lbs. The man is built like a rock, yet he got bit by a tiny little tick and he has never been the same. I've had those same questions, had the wind knocked out of me and been brought to my knees. I don't have any wise insights or catchy punch lines but I just wanted you to know I will lift you up in prayer. I am so sorry you are fighting this battle but thank the lord you know Jesus Christ. You have hope, that is something you and I can be thankful for. Deep love.

    • Brwnmoc

      God does not put sickness on us though or use it to teach us a lesson! That’s from satan and the fall from Adam & Eve giving satan access.

    • Kelly_Smith

      Unanswered questions are hard places to live. Praying God's comfort and peace envelope you and your precious family today!

  • You know the biggest thing we discover when we read OT scripture is a different side of God then we are used to. One who comes across coarse and unloving. It's easy to see in the New Testament recollections of Jesus analogies and parables things that we can relate and immediately connect to, but sometimes in these stories those connections are not quite so obvious, so it takes a deeper dive or study into understanding the individuals, the days, the scene to understand the purpose of the story. With Esau and Jacob, this would be one of those. We know that these two were terribly different even in the womb. When they were born, their differences obvious. What we aren't told about the two in these verses is that it is thought that Jacob was a more meek and studious man. He would've been an example of someone who studied life, the Word and valued his birthright, willing to protect it …..in modern day speak, someone who follows Christ and seeks His kingdom, who values the Word and lives by it. It's hard to consider how Jacob and Rebekah went about receiving it, through trickery, but he needed to protect God's lineage. Both he and Rebekah knew, through God, that Esau could misuse his inheritance. Esau is more representative of the "worldly" fellow, kind of a prodigal son. One who seeks his desires and fulfills what he wants. One who spends his time succumbing to his physical desires. He did what he enjoyed. He was often in the field, hunting, because he liked it. It made him feel good to provide food for his family, although it likely wasn't necessary, which made it an ego centered act. He doesn't show that he values his birthright or that he has an interest in putting his wants aside to follow God, to seek God. He didn't study God or care to understand it deeper. When I think of this story in that regard, liken it today, it's easier to bare. It would be all too easy to become confused by our loving God choosing a favorite, but like Amanda pointed out we need to see it as understanding God's purpose, His sovereignty. I want to be more like Jacob, fiercely protecting my faith, my God. Believing in God's ways and desires when what He calls me to do, doesn't make sense to others. I don't want to be an Esau, focused on fleshy desires, living only for what makes me feel good, basing what I do on emotion and feeling. I want my actions, my life, my heart to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I want to be found not of this world, but actively seeking the next! ~ B

  • Foreknowledge- this is not the first time I’ve had a “teacher” try to tell me this is true. God knew what Rebekah’s actions would be and used them in His plan? What? Where in the Bible does it say God does that? If someone knows the actual scripture reference I’d be very interested. It sounds like a massive presumption on the writer’s behalf.

    • Kim

      Lynda…Ephesians 1:11 Because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan. Not sure if it’s what you’re looking for, but it gives me assurance.

    • JudyO16

      Psalm 139:16
      Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

      Isaiah 14:24
      The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,

      • Stefchambers

        Amen!

      • Lynda

        Thank you ladies. There are MANY references to predestination on the Bible, but again, foreknowledge is something very different. It’s something that I’ve struggled with and read a lot about. I’ve come to trust that God knows what He’s doing and leave it at that. There are so many instances that we need to trust God and not look back. I think this is one of those occasions for me.

        • Candacejo

          I don't think the word "foreknowledge" is used in Scripture in connection with things that happen; it is always used when referring to people. God "foreknows" people…He doesn't control the ACTIONS of the people, then man wouldn't have a free will. But that doesn't take away the fact that God does know all things, past, present and future. He is omniscient! He does know what will happen and what man will choose to do. But man does have a choice.

          Gill's Exposition Commentary has a good insight on God's foreknowledge and man's will if this helps: "…God not only foreknew that it would be, but determined that it should be, who does all things after the counsel of his own will; and this for the salvation of his people, and for the glorifying of his divine perfections: though this fixed resolution, settled purpose, and wise determination of God, did not in the least excuse the sin of Judas in betraying him, or of Pilate in condemning him, or of the Jews in crucifying him; nor did it at all infringe the liberty of their wills in acting, who did what they did, not by force, but voluntarily…"

          "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters". Romans 8:29 But again, God doesn't FORCE anyone to serve Him, follow Him or even love Him. He chooses us, ordains us, has plans for our lives but we can refuse. Why would we want to?? :)

          "…who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ…" 1 Peter 1:2

          And Acts 2:22-24 Peter speaking: "…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.…" He even knew that Judas would betray Him but He works all things together for good and for His glory.

          Thanks for the extra study today Lynda! We don't have all the answers but His Word does. Praying that God will open our eyes of understanding this morning for these verses and questions. ♥

      • Emily Buckner

        So thankful for this truth this morning!

    • slkooiman2014

      Foreknowledge is a tricky subject that has tripped up a lot of people, myself included. The best teaching I have received on this centers around God's existence outside of Time, as we know it. In 2 Peter 3:8, Peter writes "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." We see time as very linear – one moment following after the other. But, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev 1:8) To us, this seems impossible. How can he exist in the past, the present, and the future? Because he's God. We just aren't gonna get it. God's sovereignty over all things, including time, makes this whole concept of working out His plans more clear to me. To the Lord, as Jesus was suffering on the cross for my sin, He was simultaneously seeing my brokenness and my shame and inviting me to cast those sins upon His perfect son. .I don't understand it and I never will, at least not this side of Heaven. I hope this helps you a little bit!

    • Debbie

      Psalm 33:11 says "the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations"

      In our finite minds it's hard to "square" personal action with sovereignty. Taken to an extreme one would think we were all puppets on strings and then our sin would have been sanctioned by God. But He is holy and will not do that. James 1:13 says, "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"
      Somehow personal action and sovereignty coexist. If we had no personal action/choice there would be no need for commands and instructions from God. Yet in the end sovereignty trumps. By it's very definition it must.

      I believe God can and does work through every one of my choices…good or bad…to ultimately bring about His purposes. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have ben called according to his purpose."

      In His goodness and beauty God has invited us to join Him in His plan but His purposes will be accomplished with or without our obedience. How lovely the thought that God extends the grand invitation to be a part of all the good He is doing.

    • shereadstruth

      Lynda, thank you for voicing your concern – I think it's clear from the comments that there is a heaviness to God's omniscience that we all struggle with at some point. I certainly do as well! I find great comfort in knowing that there is nothing I can do to threaten God's sovereignty or thwart His purposes. The detailed implications of that are, frankly, too much for my brain to grasp, but I know from God's Word that He knows us fully (Ps 139, Rom 8:26-27), He knows our days before one of them comes to be (Ps 139:16), and He is in the business of redeeming all things (Jer 29:10-14, 2 Cor 1:10, Rev 21:4), in ways we may never know until Glory. Hanging onto these truths and taking all my unknowns to Him with you today. Grace and peace to you, Lynda. – Amanda

      • Brwnmoc

        Amen to all of the comments regarding, Lynda’s question. I believe God is sovereign; yet He allows us to have limited free will basically sums it up.

      • Lynda

        Thank you for taking the time to respond Amanda and my fellow Truth readers!

  • So very thankful for God’s amazing, unfair grace.

  • My plans don’t save me. As someone who loves having the pieces fit and everything fall into such and such way – this spoke to my heart. Not only for my eternal salvation, but also my daily, moment by moment needs of a Savior. Because if I’m honest, I often need saving from my best laid plans, and our gracious God does just that. He knows best. Thank you, Lord, that your ways and thoughts are higher than my own. And that even when I feel I’ve messed up again, taken the ‘wrong’ path, etc. that I am always in your plan and my story is Your story.

  • Thank you for this reminder… goodness. Control for women — it’s our greatest struggle, isn’t it? And it’s God’s greatest gift to us, the reality that we do not have to control anything, because He is more than “on top of it” and more than “capable enough.” He is sovereign over us.

  • Cara Mae

    I have been given so much comfort from this post in focusing on God's plan. Right now, in the midst of a major trial (we've been living with my parents – we being my family of 5 – for a year, and our purchasing of our own home has not been going well. Our closing date has changed 5 times and it feels never ending and unsure) I question my every action! Thinking the "good" things I do might just ensure God's favor! And the bad things prove that it was my fault this process has been so hard.

    And I know better than to try to balance the scale! I know all about grace and unmerited favor! Christ's righteousness has been bestowed to me freely. Yet in the day-to-day, I struggle to see the forest of God's plan for the trees of trial. May I remember to trust Him and be faithful to Him today. For I can just live one day at a time anyway.

    • Hannah

      Ug, it’s so true.. sometimes it’s easier to trust him in the big things, but then try to survive and coast through all of the day-to-day needs for grace.

      • Cara Mae

        Right. I should know by now that trying to just grin-and-bear-it won't get me very far. Today I was able to surrender and let go. Thankful for today's reminder that "God's plan is the reason." :) Thanks for relating with me Hannah! :)

    • Candacejo

      Prayed for you and your family this morning ♥

  • Kelly_Smith

    "God’s plan was the reason. And God’s plan is good." I may need to tattoo this across the back of my hands so I can see it when I start to wring them in worry. Not only do I fret over my circumstances, I often make a stew that is not mine to make. "Not from works but from the One who calls." Amen! My job is to love, obey, and follow. I don't have to know the plan or the reasons. I have God's covenant promise to carry me.

  • Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV
    [13] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. [14] I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
    I am so excited to fulfill my destiny because I am one with Him!

  • With Tears in my eyes, I once again am reminded that so many times I wish we could just see the ending from the beginning…it would all make sense and we wouldn’t question anything. However, that’s not faith building is it?

    Thank you Father for the gift of not knowing what Your plan for me is… Thank You for helping me to always know You have a plan, and it’s the best for me… I just need to listen, obey, and follow.

    • Candacejo

      I've always been one Glorya, to want to pull back that curtain and see what God is up to…kind of like the Wizard of Oz, ha, I'm Toto! Curious to a fault and wanting to give God a few pointers along the way. Will I ever learn His ways are higher than my own?? Blessings!

    • Cerice

      I am grateful for all the revelations of truth the Spirit has led us to know as a comfort while we are waiting…. that we do know we are the bride of Christ, that there will be a happy ever after!

  • german_janne

    Thank you for these eye-opening thoughts! How often am I disappointed by people and their seemingly unfair and ego-centric behavior – not realizing that in fact it´s all God´s doing. He is the one who permits them (and me) to "spoil things" and yes, even if I can´t see it yet – His plans are good!

  • What a wake up call this is…Thank you Amanda…

    Gonna change a few words of your sentence, I hope you don't mind…

    God knew all the pieces of Tina's story and purposed them for His plan and His glory long before they came to be….I GET IT…
    God's plan IS the reason….He's got my back, He has got your back…He has got a reason..a better reason than I could ever come up with…He loves me,/ us and has my/our best interest at heart..His heart..Always…And besides ….He sees the bigger picture…for His Glory….Amen…

    Thank you Lord God for the blessings you pour out on me each and every day, from the air I breathe, to the food I eat, to the beauty of all around, to the life and plans You have for me…Thank you Lord God for it all… for everything…Amen..

    Happy Tuesday friends…be abundantly Blessed wherever you are, whatever you do, and however you stand, May the Lord God Almighty turn His face to shine on you today…..hugs..xxxxx

    • Dee

      Amen

    • Candacejo

      So glad He knew all the pieces to my story even when I want to change a chapter or two…yikes! "Trust Him! Trust Him! And thou shalt find great favor and good understanding. Trust Him! Trust Him! And He shall direct thy path." ♥

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh Tina! Thank you so much for this perfect prayer and reminder!

  • Samantha

    This was a good reminder for me that God is sovereign and I am not, his ways will always be better than my ways even when it doesn’t make sense! :) great post and bible readings.

  • Can anyone give me some insight into the Romans 9:6-13 passage? I am having a really hard time understanding it. It’s mainly parts 6-8 that I’m confused about, but I also don’t understand the last sentence: “As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.”

    • carlybenson

      Hi Anne, it's a difficult passage and I am definitely not claiming to have all the answers. I think Paul is talking about how God chose the Israelites to be his people but many of them have rejected Jesus as they're relying on keeping the law to make them right with God. That doesn't mean God had failed to fulfil his promise though because it's always been the case that God chose to work through some people not others- e.g. he chose Isaac but not Ishmael, he chose Jacob but not Esau. V13 is tough- I think the word "hate" is possibly not the best translation but rather than God hating Esau as we would think of the word hate that it is talking about the fact that he had chosen Jacob to continue the line of his chosen people, not Esau. I still struggle with it a bit too but I think ultimately it's saying God is in charge and we're not. He makes his plans and works out his purposes and sometimes that's hard for us to understand, but I'm learning to trust him.

      • Amyjill

        I am amazed at how God brings truth to me…thank God, He allow me to reconize His hand at work in my life. Thank God, He shows Himself strong with no help from me. Thank God, He allows me to see the “unfairness” of His grace all over my situations.

    • Kelly_Smith

      Great question, Anne! Verse 13 is a quote from Malachi 1:2-3. My ESV Study Bible says the following: "The Lord's hatred was against Esau's idolatrous descendants. In the same way, the Lord's love for Jacob refers to his descendants who were his sovereignly elected people through whom the world's Redeemer would come… The context here speaks of love as 'choosing for intimate fellowship' and hate as 'not choosing for intimate fellowship' in the realm of redemption."

      In our world of justice, balance, and everybody's got rights, it is so hard to wrap our human minds around passages like Romans 9:6-8. We want everyone to leave the party with a goodie bag. God chooses one line of descendants to receive His promise. In the case of Noah, God chose the one righteous man. In the case of Jacob, we don't have a reason. We modern-day parents try to avoid telling our kids "just because." We justify our decisions to these little people who, frankly, we shouldn't have to answer to. I think Genesis 25:23 and Romans 9 fall into the "just because" column. Sometimes God gives us a reason, and sometimes we have to take it on faith.

      • Maria C

        Thank you so much for this explanation because it was a bit confusing to me too.

      • Alyssa S

        This really helped me a lot, as I had a difficult time understanding this line, as it had sounded very harsh. Thank you for your explanation!

    • Laresa

      Anne, I found that rather confusing, also! I understood the NLT a little better:

      6 Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! 7 Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,”* though Abraham had other children, too. 8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. 9 For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”*
      10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins.* 11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; 12 he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”* 13 In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”*

    • Amy P.

      This passage is weighty. A good mindset to have when reading something like this to think about the history surrounding it. The passage you are asking about speaks of Jacob and Esau, but it really goes back even farther to Isaac (Jacob's father) and Ishmael (Isaac's brother). God chose Jacob from birth, but he also ordained a covenant with Isaac over his brother, Ishmael (Genesis 17:19). Coming into the New Testament, there were many Jews who boasted in this "selective" lineage from Abraham (father of Isaac) as a way of "staking their claim" for salvation. In a sense, they were depending on a family line for salvation. Jesus rejected this stance in Matthew 3:9 and John 8:31-41, because He was to be the sacrifice that would pave the way for salvation. This was a big bone of contention with the Jews, and one they really struggled to accept.

      Paul had a great understanding of the right way to salvation in Philippians 3:1-11. "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that may gain Christ and by found in him, **not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.**" (7-9)

    • Camille

      Hebrews 12:16 speaks clearly about Esau’s character!

    • Mariah

      Hello Anne!
      My church/ ministers have discussed this in great detail before. I'll pass this along.
      Before Rebekah had borne the twins, God told her that the elder child would serve the younger. This certainly did come to pass, even in the nations they formed. This is why, I believe, it a wrong assumption to believe that Rebekah was wrong in having so called "favoritism" toward Jacob. Honestly if God says that he tells you that he hates someone, even your own children, it is hard not to agree with him, as a child of God. The same when God says he loves someone.
      Esau certainly showed a depreciation in character growing up, including that of selling Jacob his birthright for some soup. This shows also submission to the younger.
      Now as too why Rebekah "deceived" Isaac into believing that Jacob was Esau when he was going to bless him. Rebekah had no further revelation than, " the elder will serve the younger" and "Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated." So, naturally, she wanted Jacob to get the blessing from Isaac rather than Esau, for he was the one blessed of God. Notice, God never was upset with Jacob or Rebekah, but rather speaks of them favorably in the whole of Scripture.
      I hope this helps, dear sister! It has definitely changed my perspective on Rebekah and judging her too harshly, as well!
      In Christ's love, Mariah

      • Kate

        Thank you so much for this explanation! I was so confused about this and I was wondering why God wasn’t angry with her.

  • The story of Abraham's servant bringing Rebekah to Isaac is one of the most powerful symbols in the whole Bible. God, like Abraham, is searching for a bride for His son. The Holy Spirit, like the servant, gives the bride-to-be gifts. We, like Rebekah, ultimately have a choice to make:
    Will we go?
    Will we forsake the familiar and follow the Holy Spirit and become the Bride of The Son?
    As romantic as this story is, we're each invited into that same romance.

    • FRLaura

      Love being led by the Holy Spirit. You don't have to worry about the consequences when you are walking in His will. It eliminates so much stress and worry! This study is such an encouragement to me. We need each other. God is so faithful.

    • Lenka

      Wow, I have never thought about it this way… Thank you for pointing it out, I definitely have to think about it more!

      • Cerice

        I am grateful for all the revelations of truth the Spirit has led us to know as a comfort while we are waiting…. that we do know we are the bride of Christ, that there will be a happy ever after! And the Spirit has prepared the Bride well……….she is ready and Our Groom will be hearing soon "the Father's Footsteps" coming to tell Him to go fetch his bride ! —-This is a song the Spirit gave me.-I pray it encourages His bride in her wait. https://soundcloud.com/user262679071/02-footsteps

Further Reading...