Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Women of Faith - Rebekah.

Rebekah - Who are you when no one's looking?
Boy, have I missed writing or what! Well, writing something that isn't papers or essays or quiz answers, that is.
In Genesis 24 we read of Abraham sending a servant out to find a bride for his son, Isaac. If I were this guy, I'd be a little afraid. Hello, pressure? Instead of freaking out, like I may have done, the servant pulls the smart move and prays to God for a sign.
"Then he prayed, "O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.  See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too'-let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."" - Genesis 24:12-14.
That's one devoted servant! He wanted to be as sure as possible that he had found the right girl for Isaac, the perfect one that God wanted for Isaac.
No sooner does the servant do this then a girl named Rebekah comes to the well to draw some water. Scriptures tell us that she is the relative of Abraham, which is the first thing that Abraham required in his son's future wife. Check. The second thing we learn is that Rebekah is beautiful - a major plus, obviously, but not required. The third thing we read is that Rebekah is a virgin. Check. Just like that, three things that were important were settled - and Rebekah hadn't even talked to Abraham's servant yet.
Rebekah goes over to the well and draws water, when the servant rushes over. Seeing his chance to have his prayers answered, he asks for a drink of water. Rebekah gladly gives it to him, and - the servant's prayers becoming answered - waters his camels as well. She doesn't even know it, but Rebekah just passed the unwritten test. Check, and mate.
The servant had prayed for a sign - just a hint that this was "the one." Rebekah caught his eye by going the extra mile in common courtesy and offering him and his camels a drink. She was exactly what he was hoping to see - a selfless, caring woman. Rebekah had the inner beauty that radiated from her selfless nature and her purity as a virgin. She was a complete beauty, inside and out - lucky Isaac! They were introduced and immediately married. Rebekah's admirable, kind nature took her from watering camels at the well to becoming a part of a family chosen by God to bless the world (see Genesis 17:16.)
But the story doesn't end here. Later in life, Rebekah was put to the test again - and this time, she didn't do so well. She and her younger (and favorite) son, Jacob, double-teamed Isaac in his old age and conned him into giving him Isaac's blessing instead of the eldest son, Esau.
Our reputation lies in who people think we are when they watch us from afar. However, character is who we really are - especially when no one is looking. When I taught this lesson to my girls at camp this summer, I used the Pixar movie The Incredibles as an example. In the movie, the characters are superheroes that have to hide their true selves and act as if they were normal people, because the real "normal" people don't like the superheroes. Their reputation lies not on what people think of them as "normal" people, but rather the superhero identity that they have when no one knows who they really are. In the same way, character is who we really are - especially when no one is looking. Rebekah knew what it was like to win and lose in both arenas. She lived up to her selfless reputation one moment, unaware that anyone was even looking at her. But then she showed her entire family a completely different side of her character.
Like Rebekah, we live in a watching world. Everywhere we go, people are ready to take one look and judge us by what they see - or what they thing they see. People always look to see if we're real, and for signs of our true nature. Are you one way at church and another at school or work? Are you sweet to your friends' parents while mistreating your own? If others catch you in the right moment, at the right time, what are they most likely to see?
The NR challenge for this post is obvious - be a Rebekah in the early part of her life, not the end! Let your inner beauty shine and your reputation show who you really are, nothing fake. Don't be like Rebekah was at the end - completely fake and unreal.
Are you in?


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