Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rebekah "Flattering"

Gertrude Williams

Rebekah's Dysfunctional Family

Scripture: Genesis 25:27 - 28

Rebekah name means flattering. She was daughter of Bethuel, became  the wife of Isaac and had twins. Their names were Esau and Jacob. Rebekah now has a family. Did she choose to raise them in a healthy family or in a dysfunctional family?

In Genesis 25:27, " And the boys grew and Esau was a cunning hunter; a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man; dwelling in tents. (28) And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; but Rebekah loved Jacob."

As we analyzed this situation we observe the making of a dysfunctional family. You ask what is a dysfunctional. When someone grows up in a dysfunctional family, they experience trauma and pain from their parents’ actions, words and attitudes. Because of the trauma from being in a dysfunction a person grows up changed, different from other children, missing important parts of necessary parenting that prepare you for adulthood, missing parts of your childhood when you were forced into unnatural roles within your family.

Barnes commentaries Notes on the Bible:

The brothers prove to be different in disposition and habit. The rough fiery Esau takes to the field, and becomes skilled in all modes of catching game. Jacob is of a homely, peaceful, orderly turn, dwelling in tents and gathering round him the means and appliances of a quiet social life. The children please their parents according as they supply what is lacking in themselves. Isaac, himself so sedate, loves the wild,
wandering hunter, because it supplies him with pleasures which his own quiet habits do not reach. Rebekah becomes attached to the gentle, industrious shepherd, who satisfies those social and spiritual tendencies in which she is more dependent than Isaac. Esau is destructive of game; Jacob is constructive of cattle. Because of each parent showing favoritism toward their sons; a strife or hatred festered in Esau's heart toward his twin brother, Jacob. What happens to the nurturing that Rebecca first showed toward her twins? Why did she let the favoritism grow between the boys?

Rev Ed states, "that Isaac is the least knowledgeable of all the early patriarchs. He is clearly skillful enough to have accumulated a vast fortune, but his spiritual leadership seems to be lacking. Perhaps that early 'false sacrifice' experience with his father Isaac left him a bit distrusting or resentful. Wealthy though he is, he lives within the limitations of a tent, and his spiritual blindness has manifested as a physical equivalent. His mistake is in trusting to his human senses of taste, smell and touch in bestowing his inheritance and his blessing. The lesson is that spiritual choices cannot be effectively made based solely on mortal input.

Rebecca seems to have the relationship with God that her husband Isaac lacks. She is clearly a take-charge woman. She is told during pregnancy that her twin sons will live in conflict with each other, and that the younger will dominate the elder. Her mistake is in assuming that it is her responsibility to make that happen; she engineers the intricate plot by which the younger Jacob tricks his father into bestowing the inheritance and the blessing. (The inheritance represents the eldest son's share of the estate, which by law would be twice that of his younger brother; the blessing represents the spiritual leadership of the tribe.) She does not trust God to accomplish what she believes God intends, so she steps in to manipulate things herself. The result—the lesson—is that she loses the very son she has been fighting for, since he is forced to flee his brother's wrath. Because Isaac is spiritually dead the family lack strength in making godly decisions. Because her husband lack spiritual strength Rebekah turns to Jacob for social and spiritual strength (Parent seeking to communicate with her child in grown up situations).

As a Pastoral Counselor, I will use the above Bible Story to build a case study: Helping to build a healthy functional family God’s way. We will unravel the dynamics that are occurring within the story and explore God’s way of parenting. There are a lot of action going on in this story. We find a lack of communication among the family, hurt feelings, rejection, loneliness, and spiritual malnutrition. Because of these dynamics taken place within the family; we encounter a lot of misunderstanding within the family. Eventually, Rebekah encourages Jacob to leave home, and Esau marries foreign women against the wishes of his parents’. Contemporary mothers we can prevent this type of behavior.

When favoritism is shown among the sibling of any family, there will be some type of resentment among the siblings. Because of Rebekah interference in trying to get the blessing for Jacob her way, a strife arose in the family. This problem caused one son to leave home and the other becomes very defiant toward his parents. We know that God doesn’t need any help in choosing leaders. Jacob was going to become a leader, God’s way. All is not lost because when Jacob leaves his familiar surroundings, God was working behind the scene to help Jacob become the patriarch of the Israelites.

Rev Ed tells us that Jacob—the supplanter—learns two important lessons from his life story. First, finding your good involves stepping into the unknown. In fleeing into the wilderness after the deception he is abandoning everything he thought he knew about himself, and everything he thought he wanted and/or was entitled to. Ultimately you can 'inherit' great spiritual power; you have to claim it for yourself. Through all the challenges, hardships and success—and much like Joseph later in the story—"God meant it for good." He does, in fact, become the patriarch of the Hebrew people—but not by simply stepping into his father's shoes. It requires many life lessons—and it requires that he be healed in terms of his own past.

We just explored Rebekah’s dysfunctional family and the problems and behavior the family faced. So, what is a healthy family? A healthy functional family does things God’s way. We know that parenting is hard, but when we allow God to direct our path; things will work out the way God plans it. God is our example of a loving parent. Parenting is praising, advising, reminding, encouraging, nurturing, teaching/training (Ps. 78:1-8, Prov. 22:6, 2 Tim 1:3-5), influencing, nourishing, giving, and disciplining children (Prov. 13:24; Hebrew 12:5-8). It is teaching them to live a Christian life by word and example. Parenting requires patience and compassion. You have to mirror the attributes of God (persistence, patience, mercy), and demonstrate a good Christian marriage (1 Tim. 3:4-12). It helps if we are reliable and trustworthy like God. Our children depend on us to be there for them. When we function in a healthy family, we notice the above things taking place. The opposite is true in a dysfunctional family as we saw in the story of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Isaac. Therefore, what type of environment do you want to raise your child/children in? In a dysfunctional family or a healthy functioning family. The choice is yours.

© 2017 by Gertrude Williams. All Rights Reserved.

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