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]
Gift of Sleep
For many years of my life I had a problem sleeping. I had very bad insomnia. Then I worked night shift for many years because if I couldn’t sleep at night, at least I could be productive. This crazy schedule changed my mind’s understanding of sleep. It was almost like I forgot how to sleep. On some days I was lucky to get an hour or two of sleep. It was horrible. I tried different methods in hopes of getting sleep. I took pills. I drank herbal tea. I listened to music. The list goes on and on.
God made us as beings who need rest. We cannot keep pushing ourselves along without sleep and still function properly. We need to rest. We need sleep. It’s a fact. Yet in society, we see more products introduced to help keep us awake longer. Rather than rest, people speak of taking the energy drinks—the Monsters and the 5 Hour Energy Drinks are very popular. People want to stay up for long periods of time. They have work to do—overtime to complete, projects to finish, etc. Rather than sleep, people believe enough caffeine will be satisfactory.
The Psalmist reminds us that God wants us to sleep—“He gives to His beloved sleep.” That’s YOU! He gives you sleep. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest.” There should be no reason to get up real early and then go to bed in the wee hours of the night. Rest is important. It refuels us. It strengthens us. It revitalizes us. And it’s a gift—a gift from God. So tonight, accept this gift of sleep. If you’re having problems getting settled in, put it in God’s hands and in time may you find the joy of rest that I found after I gave my insomnia to God. My many sleepless nights are a distant memory—each night I am able to close my eyes and thank God for His great gift.
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2 [ESV]
The Psalmist noted that “it’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.” Does that sound like someone you know? I remember a time when I was that person. I was all work work work. What happens then? You don’t enjoy life. You don’t have time to get done what God truly wants you to do in life. You busy yourself up so much with useless work. You end up not giving each area of your life the attention it requires because you keep piling on the work.
Even if what you do is important, it can be a problem if you are working your fingers to the bone. I was working in nursing. I was taking care of people. Hard work is important. Hard workers should be something we all strive to be; however, there is a difference between hard workers and over-workers. There is a difference between giving everything a hundred percent and shortchanging some areas of your life because you are pushing yourself too hard in another area.
God enjoys giving us rest. He loves us. He does not want us to be burdened to the bone. If you are in ministry and you are working too much, you are pushing too hard in an area where the Holy Spirit does the greatest work. At your job if you are overburdened, you need to consider where the problem lies. Are you not delegating tasks? Are you taking on too much? Do you understand your job requirements? Are you working too much for the overtime pay? Remember, whatever it may be, God wants you to work hard at everything you do, but He always wants you to rest.
“If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?”
-Psalm 127:1-2 [MSG]
Twice this week I have seen a young man walking his son down the middle of the street. I often see runners and walkers alike walking on the street at the side of the road. Many of them have florescent clothing and typical exercise attire. All of them are looking forward to be aware of any oncoming traffic while walking on the proper side of the street to be as safe as possible. This man with the small child; however, rarely looks up as he walks his child. He has his face looking downward at his “Smart Phone,” keeping his attention there for blocks at a time.
If you have a child, God has blessed you with that child. You have been entrusted to care for the child and to raise the child in the way of the Lord. Numerous passages speak of teaching our children the Lord’s Word. Numerous passages mention training up a child. Sadly, there are many parents who are lost themselves, walking hap hazardously through life. This can be not only dangerous for the parents but can also be hurtful to the children. Other parents, even those who know the Lord, have been engrossed with other things in life, that their children do not get much of their attention.
Today, if you have a child—thank God for such a great blessing and seek Him for guidance. Rely on His Word to help you train up the child as the way to go in life. Ask yourself—are you active in your child’s life? Do you know what is going on at your son’s school? Are you interested in what your daughter is interested in? Get interested. Pay attention. Hug. Show love. Show support. Share wisdom. Share Jesus. They need it.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [ESV]
We all have moments when we are not at our best—moments we would like to erase from our memory. The other day I had one of those moments. I could make excuses and say I was run down, tired, in pain and all of them are true; however, there was a way around the mess that arose. Sadly we so often make that mental note after the fact.
The problems that arose involved three big factors—two that I already mentioned. Firstly, I was in pain. Secondly, I was tired. Pain and exhaustion cause us to react differently than we usually act. You are more sensitive, less patient, more irritable. Thirdly, I had things bottled up. A few weeks prior, things had occurred that I did not get to yet discuss so they were still sitting there in the pot. Oh what a pot that boiled over that evening.
Yes, we all have the moments. Thankfully I have a lot less of them. Today, remember to address things right away. Don’t bottle things up so they can boil over later. Be sure to get the rest your body needs. If you are in pain or distress, address that as well. Don’t leave any room for the devil to stir up a boiling pot so it boils over.
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” – Psalm 127:2 [NLT]
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 [NLT]