When you look at the relationship between Leah and Rachel, on the surface you may feel bad for Leah because you read of Jacob’s great love for Rachel. Read Genesis 29. Rachel was younger, “had a lovely figure and was beautiful,” while Leah “had weak eyes” (v. 17 NIV). Plainly put, “Jacob was in love with Rachel” (v. 18 NIV).
Despite her love of Jacob, Rachel sacrificially remains silent so that Jacob would marry her sister Leah first. It was not a custom to have the younger child marry off before the eldest. Though Leah was “not loved” by Jacob as she desired, God soon blesses her with Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Note, Judah is the line that leads to Jesus.
These two sisters certainly had their moments, and more children followed to form the twelve tribes of Israel; Leah bore six of the twelve. Though Leah lacked the love of Jacob that she desired, God provided her a huge family and wealth. She is mentioned in Ruth 4, along with her sister, as building the house of Israel. Eventually she would be buried beside the man she adored, in the cave with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 49:29-33). God was with her and her children. She was loved by Him. She was not for lack. God loves you too. Today, rest in His love. You, too, are not for lack.
“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31 [NIV]
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [NASB]
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No matter how many times Jacob said he was the servant to Esau, it wouldn't change God's plan. Jacob was positioned to receive the blessing. Not Esau. No matter how many times you try to deny or thwart or stall God's plan, His plan stands. Embrace His plan. #Genesis32 #Jacob #Esau #Bible #BibleStudy
In Genesis 32, we read about Jacob preparing to meet Esau. If you remember, the last time these two brothers were together, Jacob had taken Esau’s blessing through deception. Esau was furious and vowed to get revenge. Jacob fled to safety. In this chapter, Jacob wrestles with God and is renamed Israel. After all of this, he continues to call himself a servant to Esau.
Esau was the firstborn, and rightfully was to have the firstborn rights. We read about Jacob taking Esau’s birthright over some stew. We later read that Jacob dresses as Esau to take the blessing as well. God foreknew this all. Remember, Genesis 25:23 tells us that the birth order will be switched – the older will serve the younger—so this shouldn’t be a surprise.
As you look through Genesis 32 and 33, note all of the times Jacob says he is the servant to Esau. As many times as he states it, it never changes what God has ordained long ago. The line of blessing was Jacob’s line. This great line would become a great nation. It is through the line of Jacob that we find Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Today, consider who God says you are and what God has shown you for your life. This is precious. This is to be embraced. No matter how many times you try to reach for something else, deny something, change the order or design, God’s plan stands.
“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” – Psalm 33:11 [NIV]
I love when Jacob and Esau reunite. When Jacob and Esau were last together, Jacob was stealing Esau’s blessing. His mother and he were following a plan of deception with included wearing clothing to disguise the truth, and cooking food to carry out the bad intentions. Yes, it was all a part of the youngest son ruling the oldest, as was spoken before these men grew to this point; however, the deception was present and emotions were high. Esau wanted to kill Jacob.
Jacob was fearful of Esau and took off for another area directed by his mother. When Esau was nearby, Jacob separated his family into sections and sent forth a large gift. Esau doesn’t seem angry at all. He doesn’t seem like the same Esau who threatened Jacob’s life. Instead he comes forward with a smile and an embrace. Jacob says that Esau’s smile “is like seeing the face of God!”
Wow. The face of God. Esau’s smile was like the face of God because it was grace-filled. It was compassionate and merciful. Esau did not approach wanting the vengeance he once desired. He came with forgiveness. When people see you today, will they say it is “like seeing the face of God” or something very different? Remember, we are to bring Jesus everywhere we go—forgiveness, love, mercy, grace, compassion, humility—everywhere we go.
“But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!’” – Genesis 33:10 [NLT]
In Genesis 30, “Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister” (v. 1 ESV). She went to Jacob and basically said if you don’t give me any children Jacob, I will die. Jacob got angry at Rachel. He said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” More or less he was saying, “Hey Rachel, I’m not to blame. It’s not my fault.” Notice how Rachel was jealous and she went and placed the blame on Jacob. Then Jacob, who was incorrectly on the receiving end of the blame, became angry as a result of the misplaced blame.
Sin spreads. When a seed of sin is planted in a relationship, it can easily grow and spread. It can start as a small sin and turn into something very destructive. Too often we play the blame game and see things fall apart right before our eyes. Blame can ignite into anger and lead to a large fire that spreads out of control.
Be careful when you are placing the blame on someone. Often blame is misplaced. Instead fix your eyes on Jesus. Take whatever is on your heart to Him. Seek His Word. Taking everything to God instead of playing the blame game will lead you to a better reaction. Instead of placing blame, you will be placing everything before the feet of the One Who holds the world in His hands. It’s okay to be honest and pour out your heart. May God open your eyes to the Truth and touch your heart, leading to transformation. Transformation is so much better than destruction. Amen!
“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!’ Jacob became angry with her and said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?’” – Genesis 30:1-2 [NIV]
Jacob wanted to build an altar to God. An altar represents the presence of God—it was how one would have an encounter with God. He recognized the need to be clean before a holy God. He commanded everyone to toss out all of the other gods. They were to rid themselves of anything and everything that was not God the one true God. Then Jacob commanded that they take “a good bath and put on clean clothes.” They were purifying themselves. This was an outward display to signify a change of heart—a ceremonial cleansing.
Many scholars see this bathing as a likeness to baptism as this washing was done to signify their choice to serve the one true God. Baptism is an immersion into water or sprinkling of water which signifies purification. It is the ceremony people participate in when they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In doing this, people choose to give their lives to the one true God. By doing so, you receive the Holy Spirit and therefore have the presence of God within you.
You may have already been baptized, but you might not have tossed out all of the alien gods in your life. Something might be pulling you away from the presence of God. Evaluate where you are today and see if anything is taking the place of God in your life. He should be first always. Today is a good day for a cleaning. Let us put on clean clothes and walk forward in His presence.
“Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, ‘Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes, we’re going to Bethel. I’m going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone since.’”
-Genesis 35:2-3 [MSG]
Words are powerful. I learned that at a very young age. I grew up writing and realized how much power there was in the words my hand penned. Even today as I am typing these words into my laptop, I understand their power. I know how God can use them if only I allow Him to use me and the talents He has given me.
The proverb for today says that “words of the godly are a life-giving fountain.” What a beautiful description. The term “life-giving fountain” is found in the Book of Proverbs in other areas. The fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain (Proverbs 14:27). The instruction of the wise is a life-giving fountain (Proverbs 13:14). Discretion is a life-giving fountain (Proverbs 16:22). To consider the words of the godly as life-giving, one can easily agree that positive words build up and encourage, while negative ones do the opposite. We can take this a step further. A friend of mine always says to “speak life” onto people.
How do you “speak life” onto your life and others? You believe in the promises of God. You trust Him and His Word. You “speak life” upon the situation, knowing that He can deliver. He can restore. Through Him you can overcome. This is the best description I have for a “life-giving fountain.” Start speaking to people like Jesus spoke to people—He spoke to Zacchaeus as the man He knew Zacchaeus could be, not as one pushing someone downward for being a tax collector. God renamed Jacob Israel which was a life-giving fountain. Jacob the deceiver was no longer—Israel the man who prevails with God from then onward. Speak life today.
“The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.” – Proverbs 10:11 [NLT]
God’s timing is the timing that matters. In a world where we are so timed focused, trying to shove as much as we can into the time we have, and trying to plan out every second of every day, God’s timing is still the timing that matters. He is in control, and if we try to take shortcuts to get where we think we are meant to be, or even to get to where God has shown us to be, we will find that God is still in control. We cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
God made a promise to Abraham, but He did not specify the details. After years past and Sarah still had not had a child, she considered making sure that God’s promise came true. She gave Hagar to Abraham so that God’s plan would be satisfied. Ishmael was then born. Clarification was made by God in light of the impatience shown by Abraham; he would have a son from Sarah, and this would be the son who would continue the chosen line. There was no shortcut. There was no “taking things into my own hands” type of situation that would work. God’s timing was the only timing that mattered.
Now Reuben, the son of Leah and Jacob, discovered mandrakes. When Rachel got wind of this information, she wanted to bargain with Leah for the mandrakes. The mandrakes were believed to help with fertility and Rachel wanted a child of her own. Up until that time, she had no children. Jacob’s children were all from Leah, Rachel’s sister, and both handmaids. The deal was simple: if Leah would give the mandrakes to Rachel, Leah could spend the evening with Jacob. Leah wanted so badly to be loved by Jacob so she agreed. Unfortunately, the mandrakes didn’t work for Rachel. Her plan didn’t succeed. Once again, we cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
Eventually Rachel had a son; in fact, she had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph assumed the position of first born son when it came to the family blessing, receiving a double portion of the inheritance. Joseph was used by God to save Israel. Sarah also was the mother of many nations, as she too, had a son, Isaac, who was Jacob’s father. Both of these stories ended with the fulfillment of God’s Word, but neither of these situations occurred on human timing. God’s timing prevails. He is in control.
You may be at a time in your life when you are wondering why God is leading you in a particular area after all of these years. You may be considering when the big blessings will come. Perhaps you are losing patience. Just remember, you can make attempts to reach where you think you are to be, or where God has shown you will be, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands. Patience can sometimes be difficult. It’s important to rest in the character of God. He is faithful. Trust Him. Don’t rush.