2-4 Isaac: “I am an old man now, and expect every day to be my last. Take your bow and arrows out into the fields and get me some venison, and prepare it just the way I like it—savory and good—and bring it here for me to eat, and I will give you the blessings that belong to you, my firstborn son, before I die.” 5 But Rebekah overheard the conversation. So when Esau left for the field to hunt for the venison, 6-7 she called her son Jacob and told him what his father had said to his brother. 8-10 Rebekah: “Now do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks and bring me two young goats, and I’ll prepare your father’s favorite dish from them. Then take it to your father, and after he has enjoyed it he will bless you before his death, instead of Esau!” 11-12 Jacob: “But Mother! He won’t be fooled that easily. Think how hairy Esau is, and how smooth my skin is! What if my father feels me? He’ll think I’m making a fool of him and curse me instead of blessing me!” 13 Rebekah: “Let his curses be on me, dear son. Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats.”
Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats!”
If you’re a parent those words “Just do what I tell you,” may seem very familiar. This time though, they bring to mind how frustrated, manipulative and controlling they sound when I read Rebekah’s words…and they are. I don’t know whether to be consoled by the realization that I am not alone having spoken them or appalled that I didn’t know any better when I uttered them. It seems like a bit of both actually…the flesh and the Spirit locked in their lifelong struggle.
Rebekah is today’s Biblical looking glass for me to see the reality and opportunity found in her example. These are lyrics to a song I wrote in bygone days.
“In the mirror I see
Two eyes looking back at me.
Two eyes trying to see
A picture of what I can be.”
That’s the flesh part and the reflection is not always pretty but the song goes on…
“Won’t you picture God for me my friend?
Won’t you be my mirror when I pretend?
Won’t you help me to see?”
That’s the Spirit part. I can’t always see myself clearly. The reality is there are times when only a friend can help me to see.
Some might say Rebekah is just an Old Testament character, long gone, but maybe she’s in the Bible to be that friend for me today. A friend who has the ageless ability to show me how God works even when I’m at my manipulative worst…a Kingdom friend who says: “Look in that mirror once more and see what I’ve pictured for you. This is what ‘not Godless but not Godly either’ can look like. I’ve shown you my humanity so you can recognize it in yourself and choose something better.”