The Bible is full of many wonderful characters of faith. Men and Women who put trust in God and obedience to his calling far above all other things. Who risked their lives and their prosperity and their possessions to go on a journey of faith and discovery following a God who leads and points and guides where he wants them to go. Sometimes God makes the journey clear, however, most of the time it appears that while God is leading the journey he often only gives enough information for the day or the moment ahead, not showing exactly what’s going to take place, and not always alleviating the tension at the moment we want it relieved. Instead he allows one to follow in faith and through trust and obedience stretches his followers into a deeper relationship with him. Often we honor these characters, as we should, holding them up as examples to follow and emulate. We understand that they are not always perfect, but that doesn’t bother us, because what we want is not perfection, what we want are real life humans who have to deal with life and still triumph, still overcome, still hold fast to God even when life doesn’t make sense. However, there are times when some of these characters go under the radar, when we fail to honor them as their deeds deserve. And while these characters do not need honored, they didn’t act in faith so that others would honor them, they can serve as powerful examples for us to emulate. Rebekah is one such character that needs remembered.
Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, and mother of Jacob and Esau is often most remembered as the wife who tricked her husband into blessing their youngest child Jacob instead of Esau, the one he meant to bless. Rebekah, the one who is often thought of as a contriving wife who tricks and lies in order to get what she wants. And while Rebekah did make this mistake she also is a great testimony of faith and trust in God because she followed, she believed, she trusted God with everything.
In Genesis 12, when God decides to call Abraham he calls him to leave his family, his homeland, everything that he has known and to set out to a land that God will show him. Abraham is in Haran at the time and he leaves all of the security he knows to travel with God on a journey, and we honor him for it. He trusted the promises of God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Abraham was a great man of faith.
In Genesis 24, the author recounts the story of the Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. Abraham sends his servant back to his homeland, to the area of Haran, to find a wife for his son Isaac. And while the story has many plots and turns, what is interesting that when Rebekah is presented with the option to leave with this servant and become a part of God’s story she acts exactly like Abraham. She doesn’t question, she doesn’t complain, she doesn’t mourn her lost life…she goes. She follows the servant, and in turn God, and joins the journey. She leaves her homeland, her family, everything she has ever known to travel to a land she has never seen trusting a God she may not completely know, but she goes. In faith she goes, and God’s story moves on.
We need to honor Rebekah, not because she is seeking honor, but because her story can teach us to live and trust a God we do not always fully know or understand. Her story reminds us that there are times when God calls us to leave an area of safety, an area we are comfortable in, an area where we control the outcome and to trust God that he will lead us into even greater things in the great unknown. To trust God that what he has in store for us, even though we can’t see it or control it, is better than the comfort of our current situations. To hear the calling of God and go in faith, without questions, without comments.
Following God like that is not easy, to follow him into the unknown and trust and hope against all rational reason. However, Rebekah reminds us that it is possible. And through the action of trusting and following God one gets the opportunity to be used as a player in the story of God, to help move along the story, and to encourage others to do the same, so that God’s Kingdom may come on earth, as it already is in Heaven.