Remember how Jacob went into his father’s tent and began to lie. In answer to his father’s question, he said, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I have done what you told me…” In answer to Isaac’s next question as to how he hunted and dressed the animal so quickly, Jacob again lied. “The Lord your God gave me success.” Ouch, he even brought God’s name into his lies! Still Isaac wasn’t convinced so he asked Jacob to come near so he could touch him, saying, the voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. However, he still wasn’t convinced and asked again, “Are you really my son, Esau?” And again, Jacob lied when he said, “I am.” Finally, when Isaac caught the smell of his borrowed clothes, he was convinced and blessed him. (Genesis 27:27-29). Three outright lies and a couple of unspoken deceptions. Double ouch!
Immediately after the successful deception (Genesis 27:30), Rebekah and Jacob heard the anguished cries of Esau when Isaac and Esau fully realized they had been fooled. Jacob, their intelligent, clever, homebody son, would now be the patriarch of the family and receive twice the inheritance (and it couldn’t be undone). Perhaps Rebekah gripped the hands of Jacob more firmly, jubilant in their victory. God had overruled Isaac and had seen to it that he gave the blessing to Jacob inspite of Isaac’s disobedience. How much better though if Rebekah had let God work all this out without her scheming and deceiving. We don’t know what God would have done, but we do know he would have ensured His will was carried out!
But their joy was short lived. Rebekah was told that Esau had vowed that as soon as the period of mourning for his father’s death was over, he would kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41). Thinking Isaac was about to die, Esau didn’t know he would live another 43 years!
Rebekah’s keen mind went into action again. Jacob would leave at once for her brother, Laban’s, home. He would be safe there. He would only have to stay a short while until his brother’s wrath was forgotten and she would send for Jacob. “When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” (Genesis 27:45) She probably added something like this aloud to Jacob, “Don’t worry, Jacob, I’ll handle your father. I’ll get his permission for you to leave.”
And she did (Genesis 27:46). Just like Rebekah figured, Isaac sent Jacob away. How long would it be before he came back? It would be twenty long years (Genesis 31:38) and the sacred record never mentions Rebekah upon his return indicating she died during those twenty years. She paid a high price for her teachery. As far as we know, she never saw her beloved son again. Jacob, too, paid a high price, for he would be out tricked by his future father-in-law, Laban, when he gave him the wrong wife (Genesis 29:25-28) and again when Jacob was seeking to build up his flocks (Genesis 30:31-36)! What we sow we reap (Galatians 6:7).
For the time being, Rebekah got everything she wanted; the birthright and the blessing were Jacob’s, Esau would never lead the family and Isaac had sent Jacob away for his safety. But in the process, she lost all that mattered; she never saw Jacob again as far as we know, she probably lost whatever relationship she had with Esau and most likely her marriage took a while to recover from the deception of her husband.
What had been her strengths in chapter 24 turned to weaknesses in chapter 27; what had been her tenderness turned into manipulation, what had been her charm turned into cruelty, what had been her adventuresome, independent spirit became bossiness. She had to be in control.
She had convinced herself that deception and trickery were fully justified and that the end justifies the means. But she was out of control even though her goal was good, her method was wrong. Remember it is never right to do wrong to do right. The end does not justify the means.
Within us all, there exists the same potential for the sinful changes observed in Rebekah; strengths turning into weaknesses. It’s a subtle thing. We may not even realize it’s happening. The safest way to check on ourselves is to monitor the behavior and reactions of those we live with. Do your children disappear when you’re in a bad mood? Does your spouse speak to you very carefully to avoid trouble? Have those near you stopped confiding in you? Has your spouse withdrawn his or her affection from you, essentially living his or her life apart from you? Are things different? How different? Are you thinking that others really need to hear your opinion? Have you become bossy, feeling you need to be in control of everything and everyone? We need to ask God to enable us to become aware of our strengths becoming weaknesses. We need to be more aware when we are out of control and ask God to change us. He will help us.