Read Genesis 30:1-22. It’s the story of two sisters competing for love; one competing for her husband’s love and the other the love of having children. These are the effects of favoritism and jealously played out.
Jacob loved Rachel and was willing work seven years to win her hand in marriage. After the seven years, Rachel’s father gave Leah, her older sister to Jacob as his bride instead of her. So Jacob worked another seven years to win Rachel’s hand. Can you imagine living with your sister and being married to the same guy?
It was very obvious Jacob loved Rachel rather than Leah. That’s favoritism. You know this is going to cause some problems. God has no favorites nor should we. God saw Leah was unloved so He gave her children.
Meanwhile, Rachel had no children and became jealous of her sister. Just like Sarah, Rachel decided to take matters into her own hands. If she couldn’t have children, maybe her handmaid could have children for her. So she gave her handmaid to Jacob to be a surrogate. Bilhah, the handmaid, had two sons to Jacob.
Leah had four sons already but she wanted more. However, she stopped bearing children for some reason. She saw what Rachel did and decided to follow suit. Leah gave Zilpah, her handmaid to Jacob to bear more children. Zilpah had two more sons.
These women were so focused on out doing each other with the number of children they conceived, they lost all perspective. As verse 15-16 show, they now bartered a night with Jacob just to get a few mandrakes. Talk about devaluing someone!
A little while later, Leah began to have children again. She gave Jacob two mores sons making that six sons as well as a daughter. Finally, Rachel bore Joseph her first son.
Isn’t it interesting after both women gave their handmaids to Jacob, they each had children? It’s as if God was showing them their error. Had they waited, they would have had children on their own. They now have to deal with a very complicated blended family all because they couldn’t wait or were too jealous of each other.
Isn’t it also interesting God chose Jacob’s twelve sons to become the twelve tribes of Israel? The story of how these kids came into being is nothing short of scandalous. For me, this proves the Bible really was written by God. It also proves God has no favorites and is no respecter of men. Had mere men written the Bible from their own efforts they would have been tempted to leave out the scandalous parts and present a more “respectable” version. I am amazed at how God works out His plans no matter what poor choices we make.
His Plans Prevail
No matter how ordinary we are, God can and does use us to fulfill His plan. Rest in the fact His plans will unfold exactly how He wants them. As we draw near to God and are conformed into His likeness, perhaps we can participate in His plans and reap blessings of obedience.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for allowing us to play a part in your plan. Help us live our lives pleasing to you and reap the benefits of obedience to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.