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Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant

Imagine you are dying and one of your children is not married.  What do you do or say to them?

I would call my girls to my side and tell each one of them how much I love them and that I want them to be happy.

Apparently, I am not as in tune with the spirit as Abraham was.  When Abraham was dying, Isaac- his eldest son from his most favored wife was not married.  He desired him to marry within the covenant.  In order for this to happen, Abraham did not call Isaac to his side to wish him all the best.

Who did Abraham call to his side? His eldest servant

Why do you think he called his servant instead of Isaac? He was a trustworthy and loyal servant.  He was prayerful and faithful.

What did Abraham tell him to do?

SCRIPTURE #1

Genesis 24:3-4

3 And I will make thee aswear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt bnot take a cwife unto my son of the daughters of the dCanaanites, among whom I dwell:

4 But thou shalt go unto my acountry, and to my bkindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

Why was it so important to Abraham that Isaac married someone from his own people and not from the Canaanites?

  • The Canaanites were not a faithful people
  • Abraham’s people had strong beliefs
  • They could marry under the covenant
  • Isaac would be strengthened by the blessings of the covenant

When you were looking or if you are looking for a spouse, what qualities are/were you looking for?

Personal story:

When I was single, I was dating men from different faiths and different cultures.  I believed that I could convert anyone to the gospel of Jesus Christ if we were meant to be together.  That wasn’t really working.  So a friend of mine challenged me to write down every quality and a description of what I wanted in a husband.  She said to write it down in a place that I would remember to read it often.  So for a time, it sat on my nightstand.  Eventually it got put on a shelf.  But, as soon as I would start dating someone seriously, I would take out my list and I would read through it.

I had my list divided into two groups.  The first was a “Must Have” group and the second was “Should Have’s”.

I still have that list.

Here is an excerpt from the first quality on my must have list…

“Strong Spiritually-  in his everyday life; reads the scriptures, prays, studies the gospel, lives according to the commandments, goes to the temple as often as he can.”

What would you put on that list? For those that are married, I challenge you to go through your list with your spouse and see how each of you can improve yourselves to fit more perfectly with the list.  Those that are not married, I challenge you to write your list.  Read it each night- and help yourself find that person for you.

Abraham’s servant knew what kind of person Isaac needed for a wife.  So, he made the long journey to Abraham’s homeland and went to wait at the well where the women would gather in the evenings.  When he got there, he knelt in prayer.
SCRIPTURE #2

Genesis 24:12-14

12 And he said, O aLord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, bsend me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.

13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw awater:

14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast aappointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

Assuming he found someone that responded the way he asked for, what would he know about the woman’s personality?

When Rebekah walked up to the well- before the servant could finish his prayer- what happened?
SCRIPTURE #3

Genesis 24:15-20

15 ¶ And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to aBethuel, son of bMilcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

16 And the damsel was very afair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man bknown her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.

18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.

After this meeting, Rebekah took the servant to her mother and brother.  They all agreed and rather than staying for a feast, the servant was anxious to get her home to Abraham and Isaac.  As we said before, he was a very faithful servant.

I thought that it was interesting that when Abraham asked his servant to go and fetch a wife for his son, he explicitly said that Isaac was not to go and help him and that an angel would be sent- if necessary.

I think that in the end of chapter 24, maybe we get a better understanding as to why it was so important Isaac did not make the journey.  I believe that sometimes attraction can speak louder than the spirit and many decisions have been made based on those attractions rather than the spirit.  By not having Isaac involved, the servant could go by faith, prayer and promptings of the spirit.  Also, Rebekah only had the spirit to go off of for her decision to follow.

To show what I mean, let’s quickly read verse 64 through 67.

64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, ashe lighted off the camel.

65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.

66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.

67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her:

What a sweet story of love at first sight.

As we know, Rebekah became pregnant.  During her pregnancy she was in a great deal of agony- as if there was fighting going on inside of her.  She prayed to God for an answer.

Throughout the scriptures, we have so few examples of women receiving revelation that I think this is very much worth a few minutes.  In fact Elder Bruce R McConkie felt that she should stand as an example to the women in the church.  He said, “May I now take our common ancestor, Rebekah, as a pattern for what her daughters in the Church today can do? … When Rebekah was troubled and needed divine guidance she herself took the matter up with the Lord, and he spoke to her in reply. The Lord gives revelation to women who pray to him in faith” (in Conference Report, Tahiti Area Conference 1976, 16).

What did Rebekah learn in her revelation?

SCRIPTURE #4

Genesis 25:23 And the Lord said unto her, aTwo 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 belder shall serve the younger.

As a mother, how would you respond to your twins if you had a similar vision?  Do you think it affected the way she treated her boys?

We are told in the scriptures that Isaac loved Esau the oldest and that she loved Jacob.

They were complete opposites
What was Esau like? Hairy, red and a hunter

What about Jacob? Gentle, smooth and stayed at home

Both sons were entitled to blessings, but the eldest was to receive the birthright inheritance and blessings.

What is the inheritance birthright? The oldest son of the favored wife (after Moses it was just the oldest son) was to receive twice the inheritance of the other sons.   With that inheritance, he was expected to take care of his mother and unmarried sisters.

Esau was the oldest- by minutes and he was to receive the birthright inheritance, but something happened and Jacob received it.

Has there ever been anything in your life that you have wanted or needed more than anything?  Was there something that you were willing to make a huge sacrifice in order to receive?

Was it worth it? In some cases- I’m sure that it was.  But in many cases, the sacrifice was probably not worth it.

Esau was hungry- very hungry.  His younger brother had food and was willing to give him food, but only for the cost of his birthright.  Esau gave his birthright for food.

Which of these two sons understood the birthright?

We have been promised a spiritual birthright from our Heavenly Parents.  What is it?

  • Priesthood
  • Temple blessings/ ordinances
  • Potential for exaltation
  • Revelation

How does who we marry effect our birthright? Without marrying under the covenant, we cannot achieve exaltation nor receive the fullness of our birthright.

Returning to Rebekah’s vision, we still know that the eldest will serve the younger.  Receiving this first birthright has made that true- to an extent, but by no means does it completely fulfill her revelation.

The birthright blessings were typically given to the eldest son but they were given to the most righteous.  Esau was in line to receive that blessing.

In fact, Isaac, whose sight was dim and his health was bad, called Esau in and asked him to fix him some savory meat and return for his blessing.  During the time he was out hunting, Rebekah called Isaac to her.  She had overheard her husband promising the blessing to Esau.  She intended to put a stop to it- in fact, she was willing to take the punishment on herself for the deception that was about to take place.  She fixed the savory meat and sent Jacob in to meet with Isaac, dressed in goat coats.  Isaac questioned him and knew it was Isaac’s voice but believed it to be Esau by the fur and the smell.

This leaves us with some questions…

1- Was Rebekah being deceitful or was she doing what needed to be done to fulfill the promised blessing and vision she had received?

2- Could Isaac truly be deceived and give a blessing to the wrong person?

I have to think that there are pieces of this story missing from the Bible, because what we have does sound somewhat deceitful, but we know that she was a righteous woman.  We also know that blessings are given by the spirit- and the spirit cannot be deceived.

What was Esau’s response when he learned of Jacob’s trick? In Genesis 27:41 we read “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.”

That being said, was Esau the more righteous of the two brothers?

We learn more about Esau’s and Isaac’s characters as they both go to take a wife.

We know the importance that had been placed on marrying within the covenant.  We continue to feel that same importance today.

But, who did Esau take a wife? Esau took two Hittite women as his wives- which caused a grief of mind unto Isaac and Rebekah. (Genesis 26:35)

Isaac followed the counsel of his mother and his father.  He made the efforts to marry in the covenant.  He returned to Rebekah’s land to be with her brother and to be protected from Esau.

While he was there, he met the daughter of Laban.  Jacob loved Rachel but she was the younger daughter of Laban and it was not right for the younger to marry before her older sister.  Jacob agreed to work for 7 years for Laban in order to marry Rachel.  Then Laban tricked him and gave him her older sister to wife.  Jacob agreed to continue working for him, if he could also take Rachel to wife.  In the end, Jacob had four women- two handmaids and two sisters.

Jacob understood the importance of marrying in the covenant and worked towards it for many years.

How are we showing that we too understand the importance of the marriage covenant?

I know that through eternal marriage we have many wonderful blessings opened up for us.  As we work with our spouse to receive these blessings, our marriages will be stronger and our examples will help our children follow the path of righteousness and eternal marriage.

Now- go and write down the traits and qualities that are important to you in a spouse.  If you are married, work with your spouse to get closer to what you both need.  If you are single, work off of that list to find your soul mate.  Enjoy!

resources used

Beardall 2000

LDS Lesson Manual

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2 comments to Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant

  • My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

    [Reply]

    Amy
    Twitter: familytrifecta
    Reply:

    Hi Piter- yes this blog is my hobby. I’m glad you like it. Where are you in Russia?

    [Reply]

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