Monday, December 10, 2012

RACHAEL - never enough

While Leah longed for her husband Jacob to love her, Rachel just longed for more. Throughout the account of her life, it seems that Rachel was never satisfied with what she had.

Numerous times in the Genesis account of Jacob and his wives, it states that Jacob loved Rachel.

It never says Rachel loved Jacob, though.

Rachel grew up as the beauty of the family. Jacob married her only a week after her older sister Leah and then worked seven MORE years for her.

So, Rachel had beauty. She had Jacob's love, but it wasn't enough for her. Leah was having baby after baby, but Rachel's arms were empty.

I would have a lot more sympathy for Rachel if not for the sentence,"Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister."

In other words, Rachel wanted children, but her reason wasn't to have a baby of her own. Her purpose was to one up her sister. You know, her sister whose husband didn't love her. The sister whose husband Rachel had married a scant week after Leah had gotten married.

She goes to Jacob and says, "Give me children, lest I die." Dramatic much?

Jacob gets understandably angry. What she is asking is beyond his capability - I'm sure he was doing his part, but he rightly says that only GOD can give children. It's the only time it states that Jacob was angry at Rachel.

In her desire to have children - and remember that children gave a woman status and Rachel was feeling her lack of status due to her barrenness rather keenly - she gave her maid Bilhah to Jacob.

We get a deeper glimpse of Rachel's character in the names she gives the two sons that Bilhah bears. The first one she names Dan which means vindication, and the second son she names Naphatali which means wrestling. She says, "With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and I have indeed prevailed."

It doesn't really sound like her motive was a longing for a baby. No, Leah had something that she didn't have, and Rachel couldn't rest until she had a few children of her own, too.

Then comes that bizarre mandrake story again. She trades the favors of her husband to Leah for mandrakes in the hopes of becoming pregnant. It's fairly obvious that she holds her husbands love lightly. I can assure you, that if Rachel had truly loved Jacob she would not have made that deal.

It's not until Leah has two more children that Rachel finally has her first son, Joseph.

Even then, she is not content. Joseph means, Jehovah has added. In the verse, she says, "May the Lord give me another son." She has one son but that isn't enough. She wants more. She wants to compete with Leah who by this time has had 6 sons and a daughter.

At this point and time, Jacob has had enough of working for his father in law and the family makes plans to leave. Fearing that his father in law won't be very keen on him going, Jacob sneaks his family out during the night.

How a man with 4 wives, 11 children and hoards of livestock thought he was going to sneak out at night without anyone noticing is beyond me, but Jacob gives it a try.

Laban comes after him and they call a truce, but then Laban comes out with the zinger - who stole our household gods or teraphim.

Jacob rashly says that nobody has stolen anything and if Laban finds the gods on anyone there, he can kill them.

What Jacob doesn't know is that Rachel had taken the household gods with her.

Lest you think that Rachel was overcome by nostalgia or that she was a religious fanatic, let me assure you this was not the case. Whoever had the household gods got the lion's share of the inheritance - even if it was a son in law.

So, Rachel, not content with the current financial status of her husband decided she needed to add to it by stealing the teraphim.

When her father gets to her, she greets him sweetly and respectfully and then tells him that she can't rise because her woman's time was upon her.

In other words - I can't get up because I have my period. You can bet her dad beat a hasty retreat and didn't press the issue. What he didn't know was that Rachel was sitting on the teraphim. Laban left, still baffled as to the disappearance of his gods.

Rachel has no idea that her words at the beginning of Genesis 30 prove to be prophetic. She died giving birth to her second son, who she called Ben-oni which means son of sorrow but Jacob renamed him Benjamin which means son of my right hand (a little better handle than son of my sorrow).

While God did great things through Joseph, Rachel never saw it.

Rachel had many blessings in her life, but she was never happy with what she had. She spent of her life wanting what she didn't have. It affected her relationship with her husband, with her sister and almost got her killed at the hands of her father. Eventually, Rachel did die - in childbirth because she wanted more children to even the score between herself and her sister Leah.

It wasn't enough for her that she held her husband's heart; it appears she didn't want Leah to have any advantages over her.

While it's easy for me to point my finger and shake my head in disapproval, how many times do I want what I don't have? How many times do I allow discontent to creep into my life? It can become such a habit, I'm not even aware of how negative I've become until suddenly, I hear myself and wince.

Rachel's life could have been far different if she had taken the time to be thankful instead of wasting her life longing for what she didn't have.

Are you thankful or are you allowing discontent to rob you of your daily joy?
~ blessings, Bronte

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