a. A test of faith. Remember back when Abraham’s servant brought Rebekah to Isaac we were told that Isaac loved Rebekah. In verse 20, we get the fact that Isaac was forty years old when he and Rebekah finally get married. When we were introduced to Rebekah she was described to us as a young maiden, which would most likely make her a teenager. So the fact that we are told how old they are is important when we come to verse 21. “Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren.” If this sounds familiar it is because Abraham and Sarah had the same problems with infertility. The test of faith had come to Isaac. Is he the answer to the promise? How would the covenant continue if Rebekah couldn’t conceive? For twenty years, this couple had to wait. Isaac set this prayer, this request before the Lord, but he had to wait. Moses skips the twenty years of testing and goes right to God hearing and answering the prayer. But we must not miss the twenty years. Charles Naylor said, “We cannot hurry the Lord — all time is his. He works according to his own purposes and will, according to his own wisdom and plans. We cannot choose for him — we must be willing for him to choose for us. It must be his to say both as to “when” and “how.” Ours is to wait and trust — his is to choose and do.” b. A mother’s anxiety. I’m sure Rebekah was like all expectant mothers. There is a mixture of joy and excitement and concern. But as Rebekah’s pregnancy progress there is a problem. A big problem. So much so that she asks, “why is this happening to me?” You can sense the fear and anxiety in those words. And so, like her husband who sought the Lord when in distress, she does the same and inquires of the Lord why there was so much turmoil in her womb. God speaks to Rebekah and tells her what’s going on. Rebekah was pregnant with twins. These two, though twins, were two nations, two different peoples that will be divided from each other even from birth. The turmoil that she was experiencing was just the beginning of what will play out in the future. The one will be stronger than the other. If you look at biblical history we see that Israel beats Edom in battle on several occasions. God also says that the older twin will serve the younger. The one that, by birthright should lead the family, will not be the leader. In Romans 9, God explains why all of this is important. The Israelites had “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.” The problem of why, then, aren’t all Jews saved is explained by the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God chose Isaac not Ishmael for Abraham’s offspring to be named. God says in Romans 9:8, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” God again points to Rebekah having Jacob and Esau and the proclamation that he made that the older will serve the younger. Why did God state that? Not because they had done anything good or bad but “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls.” Why were some Jews saved and recognized the Messiah? Why were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the patriarchs of the faith and not Nahor, or Ishmael, or Esau? Why does God say, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated?” His answer is simply, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” c. A future foretold. Go back to Genesis 25:24-26. Here we find the birth of the twins and some signs of what the future holds for Jacob and Esau. First, Esau is born. He is ruddy or red and hairy. The redness of Esau we will see in a moment and we’ll see the hairy part come up again in chapter 27. Then we find Jacob holding his brother’s heel, and he is given a name that means the heel grabber, the follower, or the cheat. All of which is very true for this boy.