Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Will Go

Scriptures to study:
  • Genesis 22:23; 24:29; 28:5; 29:12; 35:8; 49:31
  • Romans 9:10-13
  • Doctrine and Covenants 132:37
  • Bible Dictionary pg 760
 "Rebekah, truly she is one of the most noble and glorious of women!" (McConkie, Ensign, Jan 1979)
Obviously, this post is on Rebekah. Even if you don't study any of the others, I absolutely recommend studying Rebekah. I find her absolutely amazing!

Bruce R. McConkie also said,
"What a marvelous example Rebeka has set for all the women of the church. Not only did she pray and get personal revelation when she needed it, but she so influenced hr husbad and her son that they did what was necessary so that Jacob married in the church and w/ his beloved Rachel, gained eternal life." (New Era, May 1978).

Bruce R McConkie seemed to be a big fan of Rebekah. I have several quotes from here. Here's another one:

Rebekah, whom Isaac loved

By Bruce R. McConkie

Elder of the Council of the Twelve

I think Rebekah is one of the greatest patterns in all the revelations of what a woman can do to influence a family in righteousness. Here, among other things, is what happened in her life:
“And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” (Gen. 25:21)
The man and the woman have a great problem: they desire posterity; the united faith of both of them is involved.
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.” (Gen. 25: 22)
Now note it well. She did not say, “Isaac, will you inquire of the Lord. You are the patriarch; you are the head of the house,” which he was. She went to inquire of the Lord, and she gained the answer:
“And the Lord said unto her [the woman], Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)

That is to say, “To you, Rebekah, I, the Lord, reveal the destiny of nations that are to be born which are yet in your womb.”
Now, one more episode from Rebekah’s life. When “Esau was forty years old, … he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:34–35)
That is to say, Esau married out of the Church; Esau did not marry in the everlasting covenant revealed to Abraham; Esau chose to live after the manner of the world, rather than to keep the standards of righteousness which the Lord had given them. In the light of all this, the account says:
“And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?” (Gen. 27:46)
In effect she is saying, “If Jacob marries out of the Church as Esau has done, what good is there left for me in life?” And having been encouraged and impelled to step forward and assume his responsibility, this is what Isaac did:
“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan” [which means, “Thou shalt not marry out of the Church”].
“Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.”
And then Isaac gave Jacob, in effect, a patriarchal blessing which promised him the blessings of Abraham, his father:
“And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
“And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee.” (Gen. 28:1–4)
Rebekah—truly she is one of the most noble and glorious of women!
 In case you tend to get the wives of the ancient patriarchs mixed up, let me refresh your memory. Rebekah is the wife of Isaac and the mother to Esau and Jacob. She was told while pregnant with them that the younger would have the birthright. As she watched her sons grow she saw Esau continue to make poor choices... He slept with women, sold his birthright to Jacob and married out of the covenant. Through inspiration from the Lord, she knew Jacob was to receive the birthright and not Esau so she made sure that happened. Afterwards, she feared for Jacob's life so sent him away to find a wife so he could marry in the covenant. I'll put a timeline below to make it all a little more clear. :)

  • Isaac is born to Abraham (100) and Sarah (90)
  • Isaac is offered as a willing sacrifice
  • Isaac (37) loses his mother, Sarah (127)
  • Abraham sends servant to find wife for Isaac
  • Isaac (40) and Rebekah marry
  • Abraham marries Keturah and has six more sons
  • Esau and Jacob are born to Isaac (60) and Rebekah (after 20 years of trying to have a baby)
  • Isaac (75) and Ishmael (89) bury their father, Abraham
  • Esau (40) marries 2 Hittite women (Isaac 100)
  • Rebekah guides Isaac to give Jacob the birthright
  • Jacob departs for Padan-aran to find a wife
  • Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael
  • Ishmael dies (137)
  • Isaac dies (180) 
 One of my favorite things about Rebekah is the story of Eliezar , the servant, finding her. She shows a compassionate heart when she offers to water his camels... there were 10 camels. Did you know that one camel can drink 25-30 gallons of water at one time? Can you imagine how many times she had to dip her jug into the well, scoop up the water, and walk back and forth between the well and the camels?  Also, in this story we learn of her faith. When the servant of Abraham asked Rebekah's family if he could take her back to Canaan to marry his master's son, they insisted on letting her stay but the servant wanted to leave immediately. They called in Rebekah to find out and her response was simply, "I will go." She knew this was what Heavenly Father wanted and even though she had never met Isaac and she didn't have time for a proper send off or a proper farewell, she knew what she was supposed to do and did it. What faith. This reminds me of Nephi. He is always used as an example, I mean, there's even a song for it, "I will go, I will do the thing the Lord commands..." (now that song will be stuck in my head all day) but Rebekah showed just as much faith with her simple, "I will go." She was just amazing and continued to amaze me through her story.
"We each have to ask ourselves, 'What will I create of my life? My time? My future?' First, go where the Spirit directs. Be still and listen. Your Heavenly Father will guide you as you draw near to Him. Immerse yourself in the holy word of the prophets, both ancient and modern and the Spirit will speak to you. Be patient, ask in faith, and you will receive guidance in your creative efforts.
"Second, don't be paralyzed from fear of making mistakes. Thrust in your hands into the clay of your lives and begin, I love how Rebekah of old responded to Abraham's servant in search of a wife for Isaac. Her answer was simple and direct, 'I will go,' she said.
"Rebekah could have refused. She could have told the servant to wait until she had the proper send-off, a new wardrobe, until she lost a few pounds, or until the weather was more promising. She could have said, "What is wrong with Isaac that he can't find a wife in all of Canaan?' But she didn't. She acted and so should we.
"The time for procrastination is over. Begin! Don't be afraid. Do the best you can. Of course you will make mistakes. Everyone does. Learn from them and move forward." (Smoot, Ensign, May 2000)

Time for the questions:
What is unique about Rebekah and her story?
How does she fit into the time period she lives in?
What Christ-like qualities does she exemplify?
What would I ask her if I met her?
How can I relate to her?
What can I learn from her?

1- What is unique about Rebekah's story?
Among the wives of the patriarchs, she is the only one who is in a monogamous relationship -- even though she was barren for 20 years. Barrenness seemed to be the trigger for several relationships to marry another woman. She is also a more active character in the scriptures. I love her individuality and spunk!

2- How does she fit into the time period she lives in?
She was a hard worker, willing to serve others and a true servant of God. When given a task, she wouldn't back down but would say, "I will go."

3- What Christ-like qualities does she exemplify?
I love her attitude of serving others. In Genesis 24:19 she offers to water TEN camels for Elizer. We've already discussed that amazing act. :) Also, her obedience. We've discussed these examples as well. :)

4- What would I ask her if I met her?
I'd ask her to bear her testimony. I bet it was an amazing one.

5- How can I relate her her? (see next question)

6- What can I learn from her?
I love, love, love the fact that when Rebekah had a question she turned to the Lord (Gen 25:22) and asked and received personal revelation. She wasn't a follower, she found things out for herself. She didn't go to her husband, the patriarch of the family, and ask him to pray for her (of course, he already was praying about having a baby). Instead, she went to the Lord herself to get an answer for herself. What an amazing example for all women.

I hope that we can all be more like Rebekah as we serve others without being asked and obey the Lord unconditionally and discover the truths for ourselves instead of leaning on the testimonies of others. It is so important to have our own testimony so we can continue to learn and grow.
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