Some people are initiators. They help get the ball rolling.  Rebekah would easily stand out in this group.  Her life was characterised by initiative.  When she saw a need she took action, even though the action was not always right.

It was Rebekah’s initiative that first caught the attention of Eliezer, the servant Abraham sent to find a wife for Isaac. It was common courtesy to give a drink to a stranger, but it took added character to fetch water for ten thirsty camels as well.  Later, after hearing the details of Eliezer’s mission, Rebekah was immediately willing to be Isaac’s bride.

Several later events help us see how initiative can be misdirected. Rebekah was aware that God’s plan would be channelled through Jacob, not Esau (Genesis 25:23).  So not only did Jacob become her favourite; she actually planned ways to ensure that he would overshadow his older twin.  Meanwhile, Isaac preferred Esau.  This created a conflict between the couple.  She felt justified in deceiving her husband when the time came to bless the sons, and her ingenious plan was carried out to perfection.

Most of the time we try to justify the things we choose to do. Often we attempt to add God’s approval to our actions.  While it is true that our actions will not spoil God’s plan, it is also true that we are responsible for what we do and must always be cautious about our motives.  When thinking about a course of action, are you simply seeking God’s stamp of approval on something you’ve already decided to do?  Or are you willing to set the plan aside if the principles and commands of God’s word are against the action?  Initiative and action are admirable and right when they are controlled by God’s wisdom.

Strengths and accomplishments:

  • When confronted with a need, she took immediate action
  • She was accomplishment oriented

Weaknesses and mistakes:

  • Her initiative was not always balanced by wisdom
  • She favoured one of her sons
  • She deceived her husband

Lessons from her life:

  • Our actions must be guided by God’s word
  • God makes use even of our mistakes in his plan
  • Parental favouritism hurts a family

Vital statistics:

  • Where: Haran, Canaan
  • Occupation: Wife, mother, household manager
  • Relatives: Grandparents: Nahor and Milcah. Father: Bethuel.  Husband: Isaac.  Brother: Laban.  Twin sons: Esau and Jacob

Key verses: “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Genesis 24:67).  “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28).

Rebekah’s story is told in Genesis 24-19. She is also mentioned in Romans 9:10.


©KingsWay International 1973.

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