Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Respect and Leadership

As I have mentioned before, I am a strong willed woman. While it is a characteristic that God blessed me with for survival as a child, God continues to show me that it no longer needed in my life. HE has shown me that being strong willed often inhibits my ability to respect my husband. Have you read the book "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs? Man I only wish I had been able to read this book before I was married not after I have been married for 34 years! I highly recommend it for men and women alike - it's a must read!

Anyway, today God clearly allowed me to see how Rebekah disrespected Isaac in Genesis 27 and the consequences that played out because of her actions.  Isaac was old, about to die and wanted to bless his eldest son Esau.  Rebekah heard Isaac speaking to Esau about this blessing and began to put "her" plan into place.  She wanted her younger son Jacob to receive Isaac's blessing not Esau and so she went to great lengths to make that happen (who is leading here). While the blessing is obviously passed on to Jacob according to God's divine pleasure, what struck me were the disastrous consequences of Rebekah's lack of respect of Isaac and her blatant lack of following Isaac's leadership, both areas which I often fight against in my sinful flesh.

Because Jacob deceptively received his Father's blessing Esau wanted to kill him. Therefore, Rebekah sent Jacob to her brother Laban's home to live. Jacob was there for 20 years avoiding Esau and Rebekah NEVER saw her son again.  She missed out on 20 years of fellowship with her son and never laid eyes on him again.  Esau lived out his disregard for the covenant blessings by marrying daughters of the land.  In Genesis 27 verse 46, Rebekah says to Isaac, "I loathe my life because of the Hittite women" (which Esau married).  And Rebekah died without any mention of her death in scripture.  Could it be because of her deception, lack of respect and her not allowing Issac to lead?

But what saddened my heart the most was when I read how all of this sin in Rebekah's life adversely affected Isaac's life as well. Probably the most significant was Isaac appeared to stop leading his family somewhere along the way, especially when compared to his Father Abraham. Isaac followed his senses (touch, taste and smell) rather than to depend on God's divine guidance when he was about to bless who he thought was Esau his eldest son. Isaac made no attempt to find suitable wives for his sons as Abraham did for Isaac. It was Rebekah at the end of chapter 27 that moved Isaac to talk to Jacob about this wife thing. And Isaac lived on through out scriptures without significance. It's apparent that the lack of Isaac's spiritual leadership was not only insignificant but contributed greatly to the family chaos. And I found myself wondering did Isaac's leadership diminish because of Rebekah's strong desire to lead? Did Isaac just get tired of fighting to lead as I am sure has been the case in my own marriage? It was obvious to me the ripple effect my sin can have on my own husband who I strongly desire to lead our family.  

I don't mind sharing with you, that I struggle breaking these patterns of 34 years have been prevalent in my own marriage. But today as God showed me how obvious it was in Rebekah's life, He also convicted me that it's obvious in my own life/marriage as well. I Praise Him for allowing me to see the end result in Rebekah and Isaac's life and the motivation that His word provides to be more obedient in this area of my life. Oh I know that I can't "work it up", "grit my teeth" and seek to accomplish these changes in myself. However, I John 2 verse 1 says that I "have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" and it's here that I can fall on my knees and plead for His intercession on my behalf, to change me into a respectful wife who follows the leadership of my husband.

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