Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don't Be a Hittite

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.” (Gen 27:46)

I’ve always found this verse amusing. There’s more than a hint of cattiness to it. But there’s a serious side also. God’s will was for Abraham’s descendants not to intermarry with the pagan Canaanites. Yet Esau had married two local Hittite women. Gen 26:35 says “They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” How, exactly? The Bible does not say. No doubt it was partly their pagan religion. But I think this verse hints at more than that.

How do we treat our in-laws? Do we love them like our own flesh and blood? When Ruth went to live with her mother-in-law Naomi she said, “Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) The words of Rebekah suggest that this was not the attitude of Esau’s wives. How might they have grieved her and Isaac? Were they critical, disrespectful, rude or selfish? We don’t know. But we do know that God expects us to love our in-laws, to graciously accept them and to honor them by deferring to them. Lord, I don’t want to be a Hittite! Help me be like Ruth. Teach me to be loving and gracious to my whole family, whether by blood or marriage. Let your light shine in me and through me. Amen.

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