Getting along with people can be a challenge, whether it is in the workplace or in a social setting. It causes unspoken tension which can lead to verbal explosion. The good news is, you get to walk away from the person and go home, shut your door and leave the world outside.
But what if….
…the tension is in the home?
I have been reading about Leah, Rachel and Jacob. Talk about family dynamics! This family had issues to put it mildly.
Leah according to Genesis 29:17A NIV had weak eyes, or as the NLT version puts it “There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes.” I wonder if she not only had poor physical vision but also a poor self imagine?. Jacob however was not attracted to her, he had eyes for her younger sister Rachel who had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (Genesis 29:17B NLT).
Long story short Jacob worked for their father, Laban, for seven years as payment to marry Rachel. On the wedding night he was tricked and ended up marrying Leah. When he realized what had happened he and Laban exchanged a few words. Laban explained the custom was for the older daughter to marry first. I can’t help but wonder why no one in the seven years Jacob was there didn’t mention this custom to him.
At the end of Leah’s bridal week, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob in exchange for another seven years work. Think about that; Leah gets married to a man who had no intention of marrying her, then one week later she has to share him with the woman he does love, who just happens to be her sister.
Leah give birth to two sons and each time she hoped her husband would now love her (Genesis 29:30 & 31). On the third son she hoped he would feel affection for her (Genesis 29:34), sounds like a downgrade to me. After the fourth child, Judah, she stopped having children, at least for awhile.
In the mean time Rachel was not getting pregnant and became jealous of her sister, so she gave her maid Bilhah to her husband for the sole purpose of producing children. Bilhah and Jacob had two children together and Rachel was delighted. After the second son Rachel declares, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I am winning!” Talk about sibling rivalry!
Leah then gives her maid Zilpah to Jacob, they have two children together. The sibling rivalry continues, in Genesis 30:15 we read, But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole mu husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?”
Don’t know about you, but I kind of think it was Leah who stole Rachel’s husband. I’m telling you TV soap operas have nothing on this family.
Leah gives birth to another two sons, Genesis 30:20b “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” She has gone from wanting to be loved, to a show of affection, to settling for respect. After six sons Leah gives birth to the only girl in the family; Dinah. Who by the way was raped by a prince who then fell in love with her, but Dinah’s two full brothers, Simeon and Levi revenge slaughtered every male in the town, read for yourself in Genesis 34.
Rachel gives birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin but she had a hard delivery with Benjamin and dies just after she named him. Joseph goes on to save Egypt during a seven year famine but that’s another story.
I find the old testament fascinating it is filled with flawed people, yet the Lord chose to use them. Matthew 1 records the genealogy of Jesus and guess who is there? Jacob and his son Judah (vs 2), the same Jacob who married two sisters Leah and Rachel.
Leah and Rachel’s lives revolved around having babies. They did not perform heroic exploits or ruled as judge over a nation but without Leah, Judah would not have been born, remember he is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Without Rachel, Joseph would not have been born and so would not have been able to save not only Egypt but his whole family from starvation, so persevering the family line.
We may long to do great exploits, to be remembered for a special accomplishment and for some that may happen. But the greatest accomplishment as mothers/grandmothers whether we are the biological parent or not is to teach our children about Jesus and to cover them in prayer. Our children are the workers and leaders of tomorrow, only the Lord knows their future and how that will affect generations to come. You are more than a diaper changer!
Family life can be rough on times and raising children is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it. The Lord does not require us to be perfect parents, rather parents who ask Him for wisdom.
To all my friends in the UK, Happy Mother’s Day for March 26th.
Until next week
Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance
Do you have a piece of advice to share on parenting or something the Lord has shown you from studying Leah and Rachel? Feel free to share in the comment box.