Monday, January 24, 2011

Genesis 29 & 30a - Jacob and the Childbearing Wars

LINK: Genesis 29-30a
(Just read to 30:24 today)


BACKGROUND


Jacob was promised a "seed" in the last chapter. Now, he looked for a bride to fulfill that part of the promise. He got way more than he bargained for. 


Jacob arrived at a well near Haran in Paddan-aram. See a map of the location HERE. A well signifies blessing throughout Scripture (16:13-14; 21:19; 26:19-25, 33). He was blessed by immediately falling in love with Rachel and loved her enough to work seven years for her. At the end of that time, Jacob, the deceiver, was himself deceived by his Uncle Laban into marrying Rachel's older sister, Leah. Now, Jacob was getting a taste of his own medicine. 

Is this a case of reaping what he had sown (Galatians 6:7)? Leah, the firstborn, was presented deceptively as the younger as a turnaround of Jacob having presented himself as the firstborn to his father, Isaac!


Laban gave Rachel to him if he would work for seven more years. Rachel was worth it, and he loved her best. Leah was unloved but able to have Jacob's children while Rachel remained barren.


Then it all got really dysfunctional when the maids, Zilpah and Bilhah, were given to Jacob.  The family got bigger, but Leah still felt unloved and Rachel still felt jealous and competitive with her sister. Then Leah found mandrakes that helped her conceive again until, finally, Rachel had Joseph. WHEW! The score was:


Leah - 6
Zilpah - 2
Bilhah - 2
Rachel - 1 (and another to come soon)


Leah won numerically, but she still felt lonely and unloved!


Here is a chart from The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament): 
These children will form the twelve tribes of Israel we will hear so much about in the future.  Dinah, the only daughter of Leah and Jacob, will also figure prominently in a future story. Stay tuned. 
REFLECTION


This is a story of women trying to take matters into their own hands. How often have we done that because we wanted to somehow manipulate the situation in our favor so that we might feel better about ourselves?


APPLICATION


Where have you tried to take matters into your own hands lately? Do you do rash things in an effort to gain love from others? 


Talk to God and ask Him, "What do you want me to know about why I do that?"  Then, dwell in His presence and listen to what He says. Perhaps you believe a lie about yourself. Then let Him speak truth to you. Be sure to RECEIVE that truth once He speaks it to you too! It might take some time to really "sit and soak" with Him, but I guarantee that He will show up!  Don't take matters into your own hands. It is not a good plan. :)


Praying God's Word by Beth Moore has an excellent chapter entitled "Overcoming the Insecurity of Feeling Unloved." If you are local, I have two copies to loan out to anyone who wants to come and pick a copy up! 

PRAYER

Lord, we release all the ways we try to manipulate things to help us feel better about ourselves. Bind the enemy as he tries to convince us that we are unloved. Thank You for loving us. Help us to receive that love right now. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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