After the Lord called out to Abraham and prevented him from killing his son, Isaac, the boy grew into a man, worked the land, and took a wife, Rebekah. For the people of God, having children isn’t something you might be interested in. It is something that is a blessing from God Himself, which comes with a whole lot of work and a life-long reward. We see multiple examples in the Bible where women who were unable to have children are heart-broken. This might have been the case for Rebekah.
The first and only thing we know about their private life is that “Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren” (25:21a). This man must have loved his wife very much. I imagine she was in such a state that it called her husband’s attention away from his daily work and to his knees in prayer.
How did God respond? God granted Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah conceived. Happy ending, right? Well, yes and no. Rebekah was no doubt elated at first, but she might have wondered how the pregnancy could be a blessing when she had some pretty strong-and perhaps even painful-symptoms or sensations as life grew within her. In fact, she went to the Lord to ask why this was happening to her. His response was that the children (Surprise, Rebekah! You’re having twins) were fighting in the womb, and they would come out and fight for the rest of their lives on the outside, too.
Anytime the good news of a new baby is received, God’s people recognize that person as the gift from God’s hand that he or she is. God doesn’t make mistakes. Whatever the fears of the mother (like Rebekah seemed to fear what was going wrong inside her womb), or whatever prognosis is revealed (like the prophecy given about children that would cause great conflict), God alone opened that womb, gave the gift of those children, and would cause ultimate blessing to come about (for the whole world, don’t forget) through the growth of Abraham’s family. Every child is a gift to be received with joy. To resent or reject such a precious gift is to despise God and rob the world of unknown blessing.
“These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren, and the Lord granted his prayer and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, ‘If it is thus, why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.’
“When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.” – Genesis 25:19-26