Rabbi Ken Alpren
Sermon Notes by Teresa Bennett, Pharm.D.
November 6, 2010
Genesis 25:21, “Yitz'chak prayed to ADONAI on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. ADONAI heeded his prayer, and Rivkah became pregnant.”
G-d has a purpose in all that happens to us; our difficulties are for a reason. G-d intervened through Yitz’chak’s prayer. What Rivkah and Yitz’chak could not do naturally, through prayer, G-d did supernaturally.
When Yitz’chak and Rivkah were married, Yitz’chak was 40 years old. He was 60 years old when the twins were born. He prayed for 20 years!
The Hebrew word for prayer in this passage is ‘athar’ which means to pray, entreat, supplicate, urge, plead. We are to pray without giving up knowing that G-d’s promises allow for difficulties so we will turn to Him in prayer.
We are all dysfunctional. Right? Things don’t always go according to our plans and our timing!
David was even tempted to believe that others who didn’t even have the L-rd have it all too easy. In Psalm 73, he recounts thinking that the wicked are free of misfortune and keep increasing their wealth. David realized his thinking was wrong when he came into G-d’s presence and was given a heavenly perspective regarding their end and realized it was his poor attitude that predisposed him to envy.
Psalm 73:21-23, “When I had a sour attitude and felt stung by pained emotions, 22 I was too stupid to understand; I was like a brute beast with you. 23 Nevertheless, I am always with you; you hold my right hand.”
David was temporarily short sighted. He needed to see from G-d’s vantage point. Although there was dysfunction with the twins, even from the beginning, G-d’s purpose was being worked out.
Genesis 25:22-26, “The children fought with each other inside her so much that she said, "If it's going to be like this, why go on living?" So she went to inquire of ADONAI, 23 who answered her, "There are two nations in your womb. From birth they will be two rival peoples. One of these peoples will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." 24 When the time for her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first to come out was reddish and covered all over with hair, like a coat; so they named him 'Esav [completely formed, that is, having hair already]. 26 Then his brother emerged, with his hand holding 'Esav's heel, so he was called Ya'akov [he catches by the heel, he supplants].”
Notice even from birth the twins were so different. They were different in appearance and vocation. ‘Esav was a hunter and Ya’akov lived peacefully in tents.
Each of us are uniquely different; we are fearfully and wonderfully made as described in Psalm 139. Do we wish we were different from how we are? Maybe we want to be taller, smarter, thinner, stronger or have different features? If we were to be thankful for how G-d made us, perhaps we wouldn’t envy each other and allow for a root of bitterness to grow as with ‘Esav and Ya’akov.
Perhaps if we were thankful for who G-d made us to be we could allow Him to use us the way He intended; in ways we could only imagine.
We are beautiful as He made us; Jew and Gentile grafted into the Olive Tree as described in Romans 11. There is no need to try to be like others; we need to be who G-d made us to be!
‘Esav and Ya’akov were both oriented on the flesh instead of the spiritual; but with different modes of behavior and focus. ‘Esav was careless with his birthright, he lacked control and was easily persuaded to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew because he was hungry and exhausted, and he didn’t seem to care about G-d. Ya’akov was calculating and planned the method by which he would barter for the birthright and steal the blessing. He was controlling as well and used G-d and godly matters to manipulate for his own desires and purposes.
Watch G-d’s grace in retrospect toward these twins!
Hebrews 11:20, “By trusting, Yitz'chak in his blessings over Ya'akov and Esav made reference to events yet to come.”
In spite of their behavior, Yitz’chak still blessed both of them!
Even so, we must be careful to fulfill G-d’s calling on our lives and our unique purposes He has for us. He has made us each who He wants us to be; uniquely designed and chosen. We should decide to follow Him wholeheartedly to be more like Him rather than measuring ourselves to each other.
1Kings 18:17-21, Isaiah 45:9-10, Romans 8:4-6, Ephesians 1:4-6, 1Corinthians 5:6, Hebrews 12:15-16, Revelation 1:6, 1Peter 2:9, Galatians 5:6, Hebrews 12:15, 1Samuel 20:18, Deuteronomy 30:4, Song of Songs 4:7, 2Corinthians 10:10-12