Twins have a fascinating relationship. Even as babies they seem to share an unspoken language, understanding one another in a way no one else can. And when they grow up, they remain instinctively connected. In Genesis 25, we learn that Rebekah’s married life began with barrenness. Isaac’s response differed from his father’s, however. While Abraham and Sarah tried to solve infertility their own way, Isaac prayed (v. 21). And the Lord answered—albeit 20 long years later.
Infertility wasn’t Rebekah’s biggest problem though. Instead, the text focuses on what happened after she became pregnant. Not knowing she was carrying twins, she was troubled by excessive movement, so she inquired of the Lord. He revealed to her that her two sons—yes: two!—would be embroiled in sibling rivalry, with the younger one prevailing. This conflict would mark their lives and people in deep and lasting ways.
From the moment the babies were born, the Lord’s prophetic word was proven. Jacob emerged, grasping Esau’s heel. We can only imagine how the tension played out through childhood because the text summarizes their juvenile years: “The boys grew up.” They became very different men. Esau, a skillful hunter. Jacob, a quiet homebody. The passage also reveals parental preferences. Isaac appreciated Esau’s hunting skills, while Rebekah loved Jacob’s gentle nature.
The point of the passage is not parenting though. Instead, we find the infamous scene of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew and some bread. This brotherly conflict is the center of the story. This is the next obstacle that stands in the way of God’s covenant promises to His people.
>> God’s character continues to be consistently revealed in Rebekah’s narrative. His choices are based on His own sovereign will—not human merit or convention. The comfort we take is that no conflict (in our nuclear or church families) can ultimately deter God’s plan from going forth.
We are grateful that your plans always come to fruition, Lord, but we grieve over the conflicts that so often divide your children. We ask for your peace in our communities so that we can serve you in unity.