Monday, March 17, 2008

Beloved Rachel

UPDATED Monday night ...
Be sure to read Genesis 30:1-24 of you have not yet, as it was not in yesterday’s online readings.
At the same watering well that Rebekah met the servant searching for a wife for her cousin Isaac, Rachel meets her cousin Jacob, and thus begins an enduring love story. The romance between Jacob and Rachel has no parallel in all the Bible.

The text says that Rachel was “beautiful in every way, with a lovely face and shapely figure” (NLT). The Message translation describes her as “stunningly beautiful.” Her beauty immediately captivated Jacob. One Jewish midrash writes, “From the moment he saw her at the well, his soul was bound to hers.” And there you have it – a biblical case for love at first sight!

As soon as Jacob catches his breath, he valiantly launches into action – displaying strength, he single-handedly moves the stone covering off the well. He waters all of the flock she is leading, which belongs to her father, his uncle. This would’ve taken some time and though the Bible doesn’t record it, there would’ve been opportunity for each of them to feel the attraction between them.

While they maneuvered the sheep to the water, I imagine they likely exchanged some longer than necessary glances – their breathing rate increasing and their heart rates accelerating with each meeting of the eyes. Standing there in the daylight, surrounded by noisy sheep, stressed over his brother Esau, tired from his travels, Jacob is smitten. He cannot stop staring at this beautiful shepherdess. Pulsing with emotion, Jacob moves in and kisses Rachel. Was that a bold move or a customary greeting? She responds.

I'm guessing it was a tad more passionate than a quick hello kiss, for it’s written, “Jacob kissed Rachel, and tears came to his eyes.”

Oh, let’s just all take a moment to collectively sigh!

Being her cousin, Jacob goes home with Rachel to meet his Uncle Laban and stay with the family. (All that has happened between them so far, including the kiss, would have been within the bounds of appropritate family interactions.) After a month with them, Laban offers to pay Jacob for his work around the ranch.

Jacob declines money and suggests instead that he work for seven years for the right to marry Rachel. Work for seven years … with no pay … wait seven years without a wife … just so he can marry this gal.

Can you imagine a seven-year engagement – while living in the same house with your fiancé and her family? Seven years of daily labor and its written, “But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.” Oh… let’s just go ahead and sigh again!

Finally, the wedding day arrives and neighbors are invited to a big feast. Perhaps a lot of wine was consumed? When its night and time for Jacob to officially “take” his wife, he waits in his tent for Rachel to be brought to him once she has been primped and prepared by her family and handmaids. Most likely, her face was also veiled with wedding wear as she is led to his bedside in the dark. After sleeping with her, he wakes to find in the daylight not Rachel but her older sister Leah by his side.

He’d been tricked. Two people had been switched while he was unable to see the difference. Can you imagine Jacob’s rage? And Rachel’s? I imagine it might have paralleled the rage Isaac and Esau felt when Jacob and Rebekah tricked them in the same manner. Hum…

Don’t you wonder what Leah thought of all this? Was she all for it? Did she secretly crush on Jacob? Or was this all Laban’s doing? Well, it was custom to marry the eldest daughter first. Where was Rachel at this time? Did she willingly go along with this? Or was she tied up in a backroom of the house that night? Or, maybe she’d been secretly carried off and kept away for a few days?

Jacob still desperately loved Rachel, enough to agree to work another seven years to marry her. That’s fourteen years of working and serving a less than upright man for the ability to call Rachel his own. But in the meantime, Laban let Jacob go ahead and treat Rachel as if she were already his wife. And it’s written, “So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and He loved her more than Leah.”

I would’ve hated being in Leah’s shoes. She was tangled in a love triangle – and no one seemed to want her there except her father. She was smack dab in the middle of a situation she didn’t belong in. “Because Leah was so unloved, the LORD let her have a child, while Rachel was childless” (Gen.29:31). In fact, Leah birthed four sons in a row at this time, the last being named "Judah."

God was carrying out his promised plan to birth the nation of Israel through Jacob, and though Jacob loved Rachel, God did not ignore Leah’s feelings. He allowed her to birth half of the sons that would become the twelve tribes of Israel. And also to birth Jacob’s only daughter.

“When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children, she became jealous of her sister” (Gen. 30:1). Rachel was clearly the favorite in Jacob’s eyes. Hands down, bar none, she had his undying love. But she knew of God’s promise to Jacob: “Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth… all families will be blessed through you and your descendants” (Gen 28:14). And she realized Leah, not she, was fulfilling that promise.

Rachel demanded of Jacob: “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Was she just being overly dramatic – or was this an actual suicide threat? I’m guessing this was not the first time they’d had this conversation. Jacob knew he was unable to fulfill her request – only God could. But Rachel was growing so desperate that he went along with her plan and slept with her maid, despite how poorly that had turned out for his relatives in the past.

By sleeping with Rachel’s maid (a customary practice at the time), Jacob had two sons. Rachel proclaimed with the birth of the second: “I have had an intense struggle with my sister, and I’m winning!” (Gen. 30:8). Her jealousy had given way to full blown competition with Leah, as jealousy tends to do. And Leah responded by giving her maid to Jacob to sleep with as well, and they produced two sons. Sibling rivalry existed between Jacob and his brother Esau, and now he was experiencing it with his two wives, Rachel and Leah.

At one point, Leah’s son finds a mandrake plant and digs it up. The mandrake was thought to have fertility inducing powers. Rachel begged Leah for it, but she refused to give it. The two sisters looked at each other, each having what the other wanted. Each unwilling to do or say the thing that would rekindle their sisterly affection, and restore their relationship. Rachel used the only bargaining chip she had, and one Leah wouldn't want to refuse. She offered to let Leah sleep with Jacob that night in return for the mandrake (we see here just how much Rachel presided over Jacob’s heart).

The transaction was agreed upon and it is written, “God answered her prayers” and Leah became pregnant again. The mandrake does not seem to have worked for Rachel.

Rachel eventually stopped taking matters into her own hands and relied instead on prayer and God to open her womb. Then, God “remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by giving her a child” (Gen. 30:22). God did for Sarah, and God remembered and answered Rachel – in His timing. She gave birth to Jacob's son Joseph. My how we need to embrace the spiritual discipline of submission to God and waiting on His plans and timing.

Jacob completed his second 7-year contract with Laban (who had continued to trick and swindle him along they way). Then he took his family and fled Laban’s house.

Unbeknownst to anyone else, Rachel stole her father’s idols before they left. These household idols would've been like small fertility statues, thought to confer power and good luck. They were also the sign of the head of the household, meaning they would've granted Jacob the ability to legally inherit Laban's wealth  -  most of which Laban gained through Jabob's 14 years of work for him.
Laban came after them accusing Jacob of the theft. Jacob insists they are innocent and tells Laban to search their stuff and see for himself. Jacob even (tragically?) insists, “As for your household gods, let the person who has taken them die!” Hum … foreshadowing of Rachel's early death?? Rachel hid them beneath where she was sitting so no one saw them (but God). When Laban didn’t find the idols, he agreed to make a peace treaty with Jacob.

Fast forward – through Jacob traveling back home and making peace also with Esau, and then traveling on towards Bethlehem. His beloved wife Rachel is once again pregnant with the last son that would form the twelve tribes that would make up the nation of Israel. Along the way to the city, her labor begins. She has a very hard delivery and then dies after giving birth and naming her son Benjamin. Jacob set up a stone monument over his beloved's grave and its written “it can be seen here to this day” (Gen. 35:20).

Of all the matriarchs (and patriarchs) of the Old Testament, only Rachel has a street named after her in Jerusalem today: “Mother Rachel Street” (Rehov Rahel Imeynu). Also, she has a shrine devoted to her memory – the memory of a beautiful, emotional, and complex woman that so completely captured Jacob’s (Israel’s) heart. Her shrine still draws thousands of fervent, praying pilgrims every year.

It’s interesting that all of three of these matriarchs began as barren wives, and only conceived children when the Lord willed it. Think He was perhaps showing His power?

Why did God allow sons of Israel to be born to three women and not just Jacob's beloved Rachel? Perhaps He wanted or needed to diversify the gene pool? We’ve since seen the birth defects that can happen in a limited gene pool. Or perhaps He just chose to work through the actions Laban, Rachel, Jacob, Leah and the others gave him to work with.

I learned this read through that the son of Judah - who was the line of Jesus - actually came from Leah and not Rachel. Leah had seemed to be smack dab in he middle of the wrong place but God evidently did not think so! Leah - so ignored and unloved in this family drama - had a divine part to play indeed.

I don’t have all the answers to your questions or mine, but I am certain that no matter the twists and turns our lives take, the LORD never abandons His plans or stops working His will. And - like Jacob with Rachel - God's love for us, His beloved, never fades.

So, what are your thoughts after reading Rachel's story?

128 comments:

  1. I read it in Montrose, Colorado.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello ladies, I hope you all had a great weekend!

    Here are my thoughts on Rachel and I’d love to know what you think. Though God dealt with Rachel, to me she seemed to never come to a place of true repentance and surrender. Only God sees the true condition of the heart, I am basing my observations on outward appearance here. When God asks us to repent, this means abandoning our sin, whatever is in our lives, and trusting Him. Being remorseful doesn’t accomplish anything. Remorse is sadness without change. Hosea 7:14 says that “They cry out for me from their hearts but wail upon their beds.” Often I think we do the same, we don’t want to do what it takes to repent, we don’t want to change, we simply wail upon our beds!

    It is totally possible to appear godly to others even though our hearts are unchanged. We, like Rachel, are still clinging to our sin, to our false idols. We are getting by but we are not experiencing the exuberant joy that comes from enjoying a clear conscience before God. Thankfully He does not abandon us and when we cling to our olds ways, He continues to deal with us.

    God dealt with Rachel, though she cried out to Him for help with her infertility, she stubbornly clung to her father’s false gods, bickered with her sister all her life, and died in childbirth, it seems she never experienced the lasting joy and peace that accompanies total abandonment to the Lord.

    Rachel hid her father’s false gods under her skirts; she told a lie to conceal them. It makes me wonder what I may be hiding, clinging to, that I do not want to give up, that I want to secret away as my very own. “Without fully knowing what we are doing, we hide things we secretly love and admire under our skirts, like Rachel, sitting primly and righteously on our camels, wondering why we still suffer, why we feel unreconciled to the God we profess.” Leslie Williams

    Parson me, I think I am sitting on something unpleasant and I must lift my skirts to kneel and pray!

    Arkansas, USA

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great quote, Miss Sandy! I agree that we do not really see a repentant Rachel in the text. That is left unanswered in her story.

    Rachel's powerful beauty and favor with Jacob seems to have led her to be a little too headstrong. She remindes me of Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind!

    Its hard for an arrogant, competitve heart to repent. I hope that I do not follow my namesake in that way. I don't want to hide idols, jealousy or pride under my skirt!

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You know you would think you would learn you lesson after the second attempt to do things on your own instead of turning everything over to God. As I was reading this with the childless thing and sleeping with the maid I was thinking "Oh great here we go again". But you know what it brought to light somethings in my own life that God is having to say "Oh great Nikkie here we go again, haven't you learn by now to let me handle your problems?" Excuse me but I have a lot of repenting that needs to be done. See ya'll tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I actually went back this morning and I think I read chapters 26 thru 35. It was very enlightening. Rachel, your writing and explanations on your namesake was very helpful also. I would not have wanted to be in either Leah's or Rachel's place. Praise God we don't have marriages like that today. I really feel sorry for Rachel that she never got to enjoy the fullment of a good marriage. She had too many things to deal with and as "miss sandy" said "she did some things she should not have done". But through all of this I can see just how much God loved Rachel and gave her the son who would eventually save his family even though his brothers had been mean to him. If God loved these two women that much, how can we not realize that He also loves us that much also and will answer our prayers when we give Him complete control. God has been so good to me and my family and I dearly love Him and praise Him for who He is and all He has done.
    I think I have been wandering in the wilderness and this study is bringing me back, not that I had quit loving the Father but because of circumstances could not find my place anymore. Thank you Rachel for this study and all that you do. I've read all that your involved in and you are an "amazing" person who I see really loves our Heavenly Father and is willing to share with others.
    God bless you all,
    AliceE.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Boy, did the first comments speak to my heart. How we all need to examine ourselves and make sure we are not deceiving ourselves and most of all what we are trying to hide from Him, We can hide nothing from Him, He knows it all. We must check ourselves and repent and turn....

    ReplyDelete
  7. When I started to read this, I thougth the same as niknik did. Oh, great! Here we go again. But I realize how hard headed we are and that we have to learn our lesson over and over and over and sometimes over again before we learn. (Sound like any KIDS you know--I teach elem. school so I know all about that.) Trusting God and putting all our faith in Him is such an important topic, God wanted to make sure we got it. I can't help but wonder what the maidservants were thinking when they were told they had to sleep with Jacob. I wonder if they were talking to each other about having to do this for the spoiled wives. I can't image someone coming to me and telling me to go sleep with him and give us a son. I don't think I could do it. I am glad that is not how things are anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It really is amazing how God's word speaks to us all in different ways according to what we need in at the time. I also felt like, I'm suppose to be learning about Rachel and yet I'm thinking about myself and I know that is what scripture is suppose to do. Anyway I'm a single mom of two and have been divorced for 10 years and all I could think of WOW JACOB WAITED A REALLY LONG TIME FOR GOD'S PROMISE TO BE FULFILLED. God said he will give us the desires of our heart. Ps 37:4 and yet I find myself going OKAY GOD WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON am I going to have a husband and father for my children before they grow up and I grow to old to care. Reading this situation with Jacob and how he was sleeping with other women maybe to keep the peace or hoping for peace when he had waited 14 years for the love of his life. Wow I need to get it together, and stop whinning! God's timing is perfect and if God said it, its so.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I forgot to say I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Also Thanks Rachel for committing your time and love to this, I can't tell you how much I needed this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I did it Susie in Mn.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This story sounds like a soap opera, and we can really learn alot like waiting on God's timing and to check ourselves to see if we are trying to hide anything.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Somehow I had always missed the verse about Jacob being able to treat Rachel as his wife even before completing his years of service to his father-in-law. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

    Again we see God answering prayer in his perfect time and way, not ours. Now if I can just remember this and get up off my camel's saddle too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. hello everyone
    It was very deep reading all the passages and maintaining concentration while searching for key words that strike out. Clearly its always done in God's timing yet we know this but when its taking too long we get impatient and start holding on to secret things and not wanting to just let go and let it be and no matter what he never speed up the time its only when he is ready.
    Trinidad, W.I.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I read it. I love the stories of the Patriarchs and their wives. I would not want to be in Leah's or Rachel's shoes. I can see how the jealousy would start, having a sister of my own. Praise God that we can go to him with our problems.

    I seem to like Leah in this story more than Rachel. Leah loved Jacob, but he did not return his love. But, he was buried beside Leah not Rachel. But God had a plan for them all.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I read it!! This was great to read and think about. I haven't read Genesis much, so alot was new to me. It is amazing to see many of the same promises in the OT that exist in the NT. I also found it interesting that adultry was frequent in biblical times. For some reason, you or I at least think that sex was rare back then...def not the case! This showed me that sin has always occurred, not just today. In addition, this reading demonstrated God's soverignty and that He often works in rare ways, but in His timing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. After reading all of the chapters on Sunday night I have thought about Rachel and the situation she was in the entire day today. My heart hurt for Rachel & Jacob that they really never seemed to enjoy their love for one another in a peaceful relationship. I can't imagine how it felt to know Jacob was also spending some nights with her very own sister. Then we see how she is not totally able to surrender to God through her taking gods from her father, and giving her maidservant to Jacob for a child. Sharing her husband must to have also led to some major insecurities! I must admit I had a difficult time grasping this story and the relationships. So, I may be more confusing then insightful. Sorry. There is just so much information to study with this one! Thanks for this study. As many times as I have read about these women I have never taken each to heart as I have this time.
    Blessings,
    Margaret

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It is interesting to me to see how one generation makes the same mistakes of the last....you still see that today in so many cases. Maybe if we tried to learn the lessons that our mothers and grandmothers learned before us, we wouldn't still be right where they were. What struck me the most was that no sin goes hidden from God, and no sin goes without consequences. Rachel stole her father's idols, and while she was not caught and punished by man, it certainly seems that she suffered the consequences. It really has made me look into my heart to see what I thought I got away with to see that I never have.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive!" by Sir Walter Scott. But, for sure God cant be deceived and He still keeps His promise.

    Leah probably felt unwanted and used by her father in the beginning. But, after having four sons, Leah might have seemed a little smug.

    Rachel your commentary is so refreshing. Thank you. Do you feel that Rachel's early death was the result of curse that Jacob pronounced on her unknowingly?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello. Having infertility issues myself reading about these women gives me mixed emotions. I definitely can relate to Rachels desperation to have a child. It is hard to see God's timing in the middle of personal heart break...but looking back at it, as we are, it is easy to say she should have waited on His timing. These stories definitely show that these old Testament characters were definitely human, as we are still today. I am sure many of us looking back on our lives wonder why we didn't wait on God's timing for one thing or the other.
    Beth Ann

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beth Ann, I'm sure these stories raise lots of questions for the many women today who struggle with infertility too.

    Such as, "Is the mandrake akin to modern feritlity treatments?" Or, "Does that mean we shouldn't use such technology but only rely on prayer?" I'm in no hurry to conclude that.

    I think in the case of these matriarchs, as I alluded to in one paragraph, God may have been intentionally allowing barren periods with these women in order to establish that this line of people - Jesus' line - came miracoulsly through Him and His power alone.

    As I said, I don't have all the answers. But my warmest thoughts and prayers go out to each of you still awaiting your womb to be opened.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I read it in Glendale AZ

    ReplyDelete
  23. After reading about Rachel, I thought about the pattern happening with all of these women, and for the first time, I started to look at these stories as a tool used to teach me a lesson rather than just stories. I think Becky's analogy about elementary school children gave me an aha! moment.
    I'm so thankful for all of your insights!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rachel, I don't know about others but my family and I are going to be gone Thursday to Sunday or Monday. I don't know that I will have access to a computer. What are your plans for the Easter Holidays for this study? or could you give us the scripture reading for Thursday and Sunday on Thursday so we won't get behind.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  25. I some research on the Internet to find out a bit more about Rachel/Leah. Most sites had very similar things to say, but one took a much more critical look at Rachel and a more positive look at Leah. I had always assumed that Jesus came from Rachel's bloodline but that site brought to my attention that both the Messianic line (through Judah) and the priestly line (through Levi) were Leah's descendants. It caused me to take a closer look at Leah whom I had practically ignored.

    I think that there are times in the lives of most people when we feel overlooked or underappreciated just as Leah did. I like the fact that through it all Leah was faithful and, from what we can tell, kept a much better attitude than I would have had in the same situation.

    I also like a lot of the insights that have been shared about Rachel and I can see some direct applications to my own life. Thanks to all for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Miss Sandy,

    Thank you for your insight, and especially for the quote you shared. I really needed it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments - Especially Miss Sandi's. I don't think that I have anything to add but I really appreciate all of your insight and it will definately give me something to think about and pray about when I reflect on my own life and the sins I hide. May you all be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  28. .....“Without fully knowing what we are doing, we hide things we secretly love and admire under our skirts, like Rachel, sitting primly and righteously on our camels, wondering why we still suffer, why we feel unreconciled to the God we profess....”


    Nice quote, Miss Sandy. I like that. Most of the time I THINK I am doing the right thing, but sometimes life and the devils evil scams get the best of me, without me realizing it until it's too late and the damage is done (like these women).

    I pray that God will search me and reveal the "idols" that I am still sitting on so I may repent and give glory to you Lord.

    During the reading about how the sister's were in competition to have more babies, my stomach felt a little queasy, and I felt sad inside. How hurtful and confusing it must have been for all the women, children, and Jacob. I would've been so mad to have to share a husband with 3 other women!

    It is so easy to point out the mistakes that were made repeatedly through the family line as I read them now, and say how they just needed to surrender to God completely; but I don't know if I would have been able to do that if I were in their shoes. Each person was put into circumstances and had to make difficult decisions.

    I have also felt pressure in my life to have to make decisions, and then get impatient waiting for God to answer. Sometimes I am not sure I do the right thing, but I pray that I will not forget how The Lord God has been to me and just continue to trust in him, and wait on him.

    Ic, I can relate. Being a single mom with 2 kids I ask God "How much longer do you want me to wait, Are you sure there is a husband left for me out there...somewhere?" I don't know. REALLY long day today for me. good night ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rachel from your picture we can see you are beautiful on the outside, and from your time spent with God it's "beauty on the inside" as well.

    To me this story has a BIG picture...Jacob loved Rachel dearly, Genesis 29:20 "the seven years seemed but as a day for the love he had for Rachel". He actually served Laban 14yrs. for Rachel as his wife.
    All the fault of this deception lies with Laban, he was only interested in using Jacobs hard labor to prosper his sheep farm, he cared very little about his daughters to have placed them in such a situation.No wonder they turned against him...Genesis 31:14-16.
    As for Rachel, in the beginning she seems a selfish, jealous, spoiled brat. She gave her maid to Jacob only to satisfy her want for a child, not because she loved him or thought anything of a Godly inheritance, as Sarah did. Rachel trusted in her sisters mandrakes more than God to conceieve..Genesis 30:14-16.
    Genesis 34:19, 34-35, Rachel stole the household "gods" and lied to her father.
    In Genesis 30:22-24 we see Rachel turn to God, " God remembered her and opened her womb and gave her a son, Joseph, "God hath taken away my reproach", she had finally grown-up. God gives her another son, Benoni "the son of my sorrow", but his father called him Benjamin "the son of my right hand", Genesis 35:16-20.

    Her son Joseph goes on to become one of the best loved men in the Bible, and gets the people through the famine, (among many other things). Genesis 37-50

    "God saw Leah was hated and opened her womb". Genesis 29:31.
    It was Leah who gave Jacob his first four sons, her son Levi would bring the priestly line, Deuteronomy 10:8-9. Her son Judah is where the Jewish lineage of Jesus Christ comes from. It also was Leah who was buried in the family plot, with Abraham and Sarah, (not Rachel). Genesis 49:31.

    The lesson I learn (aside from God is Sovreign and His plans will be accomplished), is to always seek God first, ( I am guilty of not always doing this), and know all of our hearts desires come only from Him when we put Him ahead of everything and everyone else, no matter our station in life.
    2Corinthians 4 "Never give up, we have an Eternal Glory".

    God Bless You All, Josie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello all!

    I see through these studies God working in all our lives to cause us to take an in-depth look into our hearts...to see the areas of our lives He wants us to change so we can share a greater intimacy with Him.

    I have learned so much about myself through these studies that I would never have believed(or admitted to). It is so awesome how our hearts "hear" what God has to say.

    Thanks Rachel for your time and effort in following God's leading and thanks everyone for sharing your heart with me.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Can someone help me out here?

    If Jacob is the father of the line of Jesus, but Leah is the mother of the father of the line of Jesus, why does Rachel get the limelight so often? Is it because of the true love between Jacob and Rachel? Is it because everyone thinks of her as the "poor woman who was barren"?

    There is so much I don't understand and this story of the Bible is right at the top of the list.

    I would like to say that I empathize with Rachel, but in my heart, I don't know if I do. I feel very odd that she would be so intentionally manipulative and deceitful. My heart turns toward Leah due to her forced (apparently) circumstances.

    This was/is a hard story for me to digest. I know I need to do a lot of praying about it in order to get the clarity I need.

    Lord, help me.

    Emily in Fredericktown, Ohio

    ReplyDelete
  32. My post has been updated to reflect Leah's position as the lineage of Jesus with Jacob and to provide a little more detail on those idols Rachel felt compelled to take from her father's house.

    Yes, Rachel gets the limelight in death as she did in life. And gives us all much to ponder!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I read this with deep thought. I can relate to Rachel. We as Mothers and wives, probably have all done things that God wanted us to wait on Him for the answer. We've opened doors where there have not been any, and have closed them when they weren't ready to be. I don't know if anyone had read my entry with Sarah. I married a man that messed my life up so much that it took a tragic thing in my life for me to rely on the Lord for EVERYTHING! He went to prison when I was 8 months pregnant with my 3rd child. I didn't know what to do or where to go. Like Rachel I too willed and wanted things to happen. I married him because my parents didn't like him, I wanted to have children thinking the marriage would become better, and I kept a secret of physical abuse from everyone because I didn't want to be alone. Until I cried out to the Lord for help and He allowed someone terrible to happen is when I turned to the Almighty for my life. Until then I didn't see.

    After things don't go the way we want them to we go the Father, we cry out "Daddy, help, nothing is working out! Why!" To me it's like He says to us, "It's because you didn't trust me, I didn't want this "window" to open, yet you willed it open, and here it is." The Lord loved me so much while I was being abused yet I thought He abandoned me. It was all a matter of trust and relying on Him for everything. I was remorseful for everything I created through this man, yet I couldn't take back the past. I could only ask God for forgiveness and cry out for Him. I saw how God healed me and sent people in my life for many things and I use that as a testimony today. Often I have to go back and remember how the Lord never fails and does things in HIS time not ours!
    God Bless
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have read and studied the book of Genesis many times. However, this study led me to see things that I didn't see before.

    Missed the fact that Esau copied Jacob's move to marry a girl in Abraham's family by taking a wife in Ishmael's lineage.

    Also, missed Laban's other deceptions, previous noted only the switching of Leah instead of Rachael on the night of the wedding.

    I totally missed the way he "changed Jacob's wages" -- and how GOD mad Jacob victorious every time!

    I too felt for Leah. Her story reminds me of Hagar. Let's be careful how we treat others, God is watching.

    I am soooo grateful that GOD has a way of taking our mess and turning it into good. My paraphrase of Romans 8:28 :-)

    I've really enjoyed the lessons thus far. Looking forward to the next one.

    --MRT-- Baton Rouge, LA

    ReplyDelete
  35. Good thoughts, ladies. I enjoy reading your insights. I share the idea that this story is nudging me to think about the things I just might be "hiding under my skirt"... some things I need to hand over to God in prayer!

    I also have notice (like many of you) the pattern in these women that we've studied so far. My study Bible had interesting commentary on how these women were "Hardly Delicate Violets". The commentary goes on to mention how these women were pioneers. Don't get me wrong... the author in no way endorses their behavior but rather points out how these women were very strong, courageous ladies. The author of this insight points out how the ladies in Genesis are a "match for their men... in courage, in character, in independence, in determination, in orneriness" (I like that one...) I am also reminded by this commentary how women of that culture were "second class citizens" that showed through their lives that they were "the equal of anybody." I found this interesting. I think it is amazing how the stories in the Bible are so real and relevant to us in our lives today. I understand there are cultural differences, but for the most part... the examples that these women set (both good and bad) really hit home for me.

    I too, am really enjoying the opportunity to be blessed by studying God's truth with you all.

    Be Blessed!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Are you familiar with the song, "Everlasting God"?...

    “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
    We will wait upon the Lord
    We will wait upon the Lord

    Our God, You reign forever
    Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
    You are the everlasting God
    The everlasting God
    You do not faint
    You won’t grow weary”

    Scriptural Reference:
    Isaiah 40:28-31

    Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
    He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
    Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    but those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

    The words, "wait upon the Lord" continue to resound in my mind. We sure would like to hurry things along, but when we do things on our time rather than God's time, we mess with God's perfect plan for us.

    Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

    I am so blessed to be a part of this study. The Holy Spirit is speaking to me through the scripture. He is whispering, "Not yet, little one, not yet."

    Sister love, from Missouri

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am absorbing, as I reflect on our readings thus far, the need to trust the Father in regards to "our daily Bread". Yes, it must have been tough on Rachel (and Leah too), but how much quality time with Jacob did she waste by obsessing about Leah? After a while, Jacob didn't even sleep with Leah without Rachel's approval. All this scheming, competing, complaining-just snowballed into misery for everyone (the legacy of sibling rivalry passed directly from the sisters to their sons). If Rachel had just rested in her Lord, she may have experienced a nurturing, romantic life with her husband before the babies came, and the contentment of resting in the peace that surpasses all understanding. Make the most of what the Father PROVIDES for us daily, and lean not on your own understanding.(Boy do I need to follow my own advice).

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am absorbing, as I reflect on our readings thus far, the need to trust the Father in regards to "our daily Bread". Yes, it must have been tough on Rachel (and Leah too), but how much quality time with Jacob did she waste by obsessing about Leah? After a while, Jacob didn't even sleep with Leah without Rachel's approval. All this scheming, competing, complaining-just snowballed into misery for everyone (the legacy of sibling rivalry passed directly from the sisters to their sons). If Rachel had just rested in her Lord, she may have experienced a nurturing, romantic life with her husband before the babies came, and the contentment of resting in the peace that surpasses all understanding. Make the most of what the Father PROVIDES for us daily, and lean not on your own understanding.(Boy do I need to follow my own advice).

    ReplyDelete
  39. Reading the story of Rachel yesterday and the comments today have certainly given me a much enlightened perspective about Rachel and Leah. Rachel has always been a favorite Bible character of mine because I have always felt sorry that she was not given to Jacob as his first wife, and that she was only able to have two of Jacob’s sons; also that she died in giving birth to Benjamin. I guess I overlooked the “in-between” events that led to the birth of the 12 sons of Jacob and the jealousy that Rachel had towards her sister and the competition that erupted from that emotion.

    The lying, deceit, jealousy, and lack of love shown to Jacob by Rachel, I now believe, shows the discontentment she felt in her marriage and her life, and how unhappy she stayed much of the time! I believe that she and Jacob probably never really enjoyed the closeness that Jacob so desired.

    However, we see once again how, when Rachel “let go and let God”, God answered her prayers; she conceived; and Joseph and Benjamin were born. Again, God has still used these great men and women in spite of their sins and human weaknesses...should reveal to us that God forgives and is faithful to do what He says or has promised! The final outcome may be God's plan, but I believe the “journey” would be sweeter if we relinquished our control to God and His timing, and completely sold out to Him with every aspect of our lives!

    Miss Sandy...Your comments were most insightful and definitely applicable in my life...thanks so much for sharing. And again, Rachel, thanks for challenging us with your thoughts!

    God Bless--Cari in Boone, CO - USA

    ReplyDelete
  40. If at first you don't succeed, God will have you try again....
    Seems like this is the theme of this story. I too have compassion for Leah, but praise GOD for her role in the situation, as Jesus was ultimately the result of the whole thing! Oh to have 20/20 hindsight of the situations we are in! Thank you LORD for being in control of the mess I have made in my own life - that alone is uncomprehendable.

    ReplyDelete
  41. So many great insights...starting with yours, Rachel. The events in Leah's and Rachel's lives does make me wonder if the sibling rivalry was there long before Jacob arrived on the scene. The physical description of Rachel was graphic while Leah was only described as having "weak" eyes. Also translated as tender or delicate. What does that mean? This difference in their physical appearance also makes me wonder about Leah's complicity in the switch of sisters. Was it against her will or did she seize the opportunity to take what her sister loved.

    Laban's actions make me wonder if he only saw the monetary cost of having his younger daugther married before the oldest. Also, realizing the depth of Jacob's love, he knew Jacob would not give up on having Rachel as his own. After all he was willing to work 7 years and for free.

    All three; Jacob, Leah and Rachel, remind me of how far humans will go to get what they think they want no matter the consequences to others or themselves. It takes us right back to the Garden of Eden.

    It also reminds me of when I take away my teenagers' privileges as a result of their disobedience. When I'm finished I have this feeling of guilt... Oh, not for taking away TV or internet privileges; but, the feeling that I should have when to my heavenly Father first to repent of my own sins, to ask forgiveness and for the strength to sin no more. I wonder what privlieges I have lost for being disobedient?

    Melinda

    ReplyDelete
  42. I was able to read all the prior comments thank you ladies. As I ponder this story and your comments it comes to me thatt we are often put in situations beyond our control- RAchael and Leah was controlled by their father did they have a choice in any of this. Could Leah have refused to marry Jacob knowing he loved her sister, could Rachael have refused to marry Jacob in spite of her love for him once Leah became his wife. How many situations have we been placed beyond our control? When we are what does God do I have learned that He looks at how we handle the situation. What leah and Rachael have taught me is to look at how I handle the circumstances I find myself- do I handle them as God would have me to. Is God pleased with my response- was He pleased with RAchael and Leah? Probably not with the fact that they didn't continue a loving sister relationshipand raise their children in a loving atmosphere.yet He blessed them as He still bless me when I don't always respond in a godly manner.
    What I do love about Rachael is that she had faith which is seen after the birth of Joseph when she ask God to do it again. This help me to remember that if He loved me enough to do it once He is likely to take care of me in the future.
    In the times I have read this story before it never dawn on me to look at what I was setting on, hiding under my skirts- now I have pause-thanks for this insight and all your insights. I give God praise for you all and for helping me to see that waiting for Him to work things out is the best course of action as I have waited over 20 years for an answered prayer but like Jacob being blessed in the waiting period.
    VA USA

    ReplyDelete
  43. finished it - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow...I had a hard time with this one. I wanted Rachel to be this loving wonderful beautiful wife, but in studying her life, she really didn't seem to find peace. I know it must've been extremely difficult living with Leah and "the boys" and her daughter, but to give your servants to your husband and steal your father's idols none the less! I can't help but feel sad for all those involved. And then examine myself for areas where I also don't trust the Lord to work in spite of me. It all just struck me as very sad and a poor testimony of allowing God to work in her life.

    ReplyDelete
  45. There seems to be a root of bitterness in this story not to mention envy and strife. I have to ask myself how much faith these women had in God that they took matters into their own hands in order to have children. Much of the exercise of faith consists in patiently submitting, in waiting for the Lord's time. How difficult that is for us as women.

    I find Matthew Henry's Commentary interesting. In Genesus 30:1-24 he states: "At the persuation of Rachel, Jacob took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that according to the usage of those times, her children might be owned as her mistress's children. Had not Rachel's heart been influenced by evil passions, she would have thought her sister's children nearer to her, and more entitled to her care than Bilhah's. But children whom she had a right to rule, were more desireable to her than children she had more reason to love. As an early instance of power over these children, she takes pleasure in giving them names that carry in them marks of rivalry with her sister. See what roots of bitterness , envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations. The desire, good in itself, but often too great and irregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with the honour of having many children, and the reproach of being barren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between the sisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend."

    After reading this I have to ask myself am I doing anything that might cause future problems? Am I getting ahead of God? Just because something is acceptable to do does not mean it is wise or right. Why is it we don't stop to look at the consequences of our actions which could save us future problems?

    Matthew Hentry again in verses 21-35 "God can put a bridle in the mouth of wicked men, to restrain their malice, though he do not change their hearts. Though they have no love to God's people they will pretend to it, and try to make a merit of necessity. Foolish Laban! to call those things his gods which could be stolen!" (ladies how many times have we done this in our own lives???) "Enemies may steal our goods, but not our God. When we read of Rachel's stealing her father's images, what a scene of iniquity opens! Great numbers will acknowledg the true God in words, but their hearts and houses are the abodes of spiritual idolarty, When a man gives himself up to covetousness, like Laban, the world is his god;

    My prayer is that God finds no spiritual idolarty in either my heart or my house and that I would have the patience to wait on the Lord's perfect timing.

    I am writing this from New Mexico.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks for this study.
    I enjoyed reading all of the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  47. God’s Word stands forever and addresses all! This continuing saga of generations of faith, unbelief, control, power, love, lust, desire, jealousy, conviction, desperate calling to the Lord to restore peace, reconciliation, and so on, shows us God’s unfailing love, patience, justice in bringing about His plan and allowing us to be reconciled with Him and to become a part of His answer to sin. I thank the Lord for showing us “the way, the truth, and the life” [John 14:5-7 (in Context)].
    The story of Rachel and Leah is as relevant today as it was then, particularly in the Middle East and in Africa, and possibly in all parts of this world when considering series of marriages, divorce, remarriages, and blended families. I thank the Lord that He has taken me through such deep waters and I’ve found God’s love reaches each and all in the family. He erases and heals the jealousy, misunderstanding, and hurt, and sets our feet on a higher plane.
    I’m still learning patience, and moving forward to obedience in the Lord rather than my control, and trying to respond honestly before God to relinquish the “hidden treasures” I so desperately hold onto. Thanks, Rachel O, for another day of Bible study and reading the insightful comments of so many others participating.
    From South Africa.

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is amazing, I have read this passage so many times and I have never connected Rachel's death in chapter 35 with this verse from chapter 31...The one with whom you find those gods of yours, let him not live. Here before our kinsmen [search my possessions and] take whatever you find that belongs to you. For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen [the images]... Amplified Bible

    I guess I did not see the connection because she did not die immediately. We do not always know what the consequences will be for our actions either.
    When we pray for revelation the Lord brings his Word alive.

    In Joy.

    ReplyDelete
  49. As I was reading these scriptures and comments I realize we can be quick to judge these ladies of the old testament, wondering why they didn't learn from the wrong doings of their for-runners, and instead continue to make many of the same mistakes. But maybe they were just a little to close to the situation to see it all. I think this may be the same in our lives today....are we allowing things in our lives that are not pleasing to God because we are too "into" the situation to see what we are doing is wrong? Are we following past generations/sins/etc. and not allowing God full control of our lives today?
    Its wonderful that God has given us the Bible to learn from and in doing so hopefully not make the same mistakes over and over in our lives. I am learning that only through a close relationship with God can I be who I truly want to be and the woman that God desires me to be.
    I am so thankful for this time of study and pray that it will truly make a differnce in my life as a wife/mother/daughter/friend and in the lives of those doing this along with me. Thank you Rachel for your time devoted to this.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Isnt it funny how we all want what the other one has? We arent content with what we have and we focus on the things we dont have rather the the blessings we do have. We have been promised our needs to be met.The desires of our heart will be given to us as we rely on God and his timing and his ways. As we draw closer to God he changes those desires to be HIS desires, and in turn we take our place in HIS plan. Gods desire for us is to love HIM and love other people. The example in these stories points to me that we can all get caught up in the day to day living thinking that we know best, when all we have to do is look to God for the answers. and when we dont think he is answering, he really is. He is saying wait.
    These women were very self absorbed. There were some real opoportunities for relationship building and instead they were destroyed.
    I am thankful our God is so forgiving!!!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Yet again another example of waiting PATIENTLY on God's timing. We serve a big God, and only He knows what path is best for us.

    Easy to say...so hard to follow.

    Keri - Raytown, MO

    ReplyDelete
  52. I enjoyed the study on Rachel so much and everyone's comments.

    I had to wonder what it must have been like to wait so long for your husband, a patient one at that, and to share the one you loved and go through all she went through not to mention her relationship with sister,Leah. Dear Leah and all those children. I wonder how how they handled all those emotions and how it must have been getting along each day as they all worked so hard, I'm sure.

    God always has the plans.
    What faith they had then and we've had so much longer to learn to have faith. We have had all their lessons and still we have such a hard time obeying and our struggle continues.
    Thank you Rachel and your namesake.
    Blessings from Macon, GA

    ReplyDelete
  53. Such a lot to think about....

    My heart aches for the relationship between Rachel and Leah. Perhaps, as has been suggested they never did have a beautiful "sisterly" relationship. Maybe the rivalry between them always existed and this simply increased it - similar to the rivalry between Jacob and Esau but Jacob and Esau eventually made peace with each other. It doesn't seem to me that Leah and Rachel were ever able to do that...

    ReplyDelete
  54. I have read this and it is a powerful story and one that we should always remember. Waiting is very hard especially if it is something that you want now. Prayer is very important.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Doesn't it seem like when you're really struggling w/ something, every story and verse in the Bible just takes on new/different meaning?? I think that is so true for me right now as I struggle with what's going on in my life.
    The story or Rachel brings to light so many feelings that happen to me/us as women in our modern day. It is still SO HARD to wait on God to work or reveal his plan. Rachel got impatient and competitive, I get the same way (I'm glad I'm not alone!). I guess it just boils down to learning from what Rachel or Rebekah or Sara did WRONG and seeing it in our own lives and consciouly asking God to help change it.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I did it and loved it! Lots to learn. Thanks for the insight Rachel. Loved the comments. Wish I had more time to write. Will need to get up earlier in the morning!
    Connie - Canada

    ReplyDelete
  57. Miss Sandy..... That is a thought provoking one. I will surely examine my life in the light of ur wise words.

    I will like to say ( at the risk of justifying or defending some of Racheal's action) that Racheal was not as resentful as one would expect for a woman who lost the love of her life to her sister for the sake of tradition. (Remember it was Leah who even accused Racheal of stealing her husband when it was the other way round?)

    I suppose that accounted partly for the competition between them and probably like one of the sisters mentioned earlier....a long standing rivalry even b4 they met Jacob.

    Either way, i found myself relating with Racheal ( tho i could not understand why she stole the gods in her father's house; not until Racheal Olsen explained it)...thanks Racheal.

    One thing i have learnt for sure about God from all these 3 stories we have learnt so far is that....
    God can be so merciful and loving in circumstances that we human beings are unlikely to be. E.g..

    1. Sarah.....She doubted,but God still " did for her" ( i love that phrase.
    She also mistreated her slave tho' she was reponsible for all the trouble since she came up with the idea of Haggai slepping with Abraham. God had mercy on her neverthe less.

    2. Haggar... Inspite of the fact that she was rude and abusive to her boss ( Sarah)..and inspite of the fact that God knows the kind of trouble the generation of Ishmael would be in the future;
    God had mercy on them in the wilderness when they were cast away.

    3.Racheal....Inspite of the jealousy and spite against her sister....God rememeberd her
    Also,inspite of stealing and clinging to a false god, God blessed her still with another son. Tho she died during childbirth ( probably a consequence of her sin and Jacob's proclamation)

    God bless you all

    ReplyDelete
  58. I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I feel sorry for both of these women. Leah because she was in a loveless marriage and Rachel because she never experienced a true marriage with Jacob since she had to share him. I don't think I could have lived in this situation but back then women were second class citizens and didn't really have any choice. Have a great day everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  59. A thought occurred to me as I am reading these discussions. The animosity between Leah and Rachel must have showed itself within the family as their children were growing up... the jealousy of Joseph by his brothers(Leah's children) that resulted in the plan to kill him(later changed to sell him into slavery).

    It makes me wonder if Joseph, the dreamer of dreams, somehow felt superior to his brothers, because it is evident Jacob (here we go again that favoritism thing) favored one over the others maybe because of his true love with Rachel. Could their actions of favoritism, and Joseph's telling of his dreams have prompted his brothers' actions?

    I'm probably getting ahead of myself, but I see how there are consequences to every action and we should ask God for guidance in every decision we make because it
    seems to affect generations down the road. Does this make any sense?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi Ladies:0)
    I read it and my thoughts are:
    I Love reading about the women in the bible as they made so many mistakes but were still used in mighty ways and God's promises were still fulfilled. Even when we make mistakes and take matters into our own hands he uses them for good. How inspiring!!! Be Blessed!!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. I too had not realized that Christ's lineage had come through Leah. God really opened my eyes to the fact that we do not need the love or the support of man to be worthwhile in His eyes or to receive great blessings. Leah was shunned even as she produced male children, supposedly the highest honor a woman of that time could have.

    However, this was not enough to earn her the love of a man. During a time when I am trying to wait on God to bring me a husband, I look to Leah. Marriage did not bring her fulfillment, and I do not know if her love of God ever truly did. But I do want to learn from her, learn to be satisfied in the love of Christ rather than searching for my happiness in the love of a man.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Miss Sandy, I never thought of it that way. What great insight. We all hide things, even if we don't realize it. That is the way sin is. We must ask the Lord to reveal those things to us so that we may completely repent.

    I have always viewed this story as a "duel" between sisters, fighting for the attentions of a man. But God had great plans for both of them. They just failed to realize that. Same thing for us...God has great plans for us even though at this point we may not know what they are.

    I also think that Jacob's love for his beloved Rachel overflowed to his sons with her. He loved Joseph and Benjamin the best of all his sons. Imagine losing the love of your life, what else would you have to cling to other than your sons with that person.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Good morning! As I completed this study, I was so convicted of the many messes i have made in my life due to not being obedient, not waitng on God. etc. Like some of you, I have been pondering on what else am I trying to hide from God. That seems so silly when we think about it knowing that He is all knowing. But I am guilty of trying to hide those shameful sins from Him. I am grateful to be reminded that there are always consequences to our actions even if not realized right away. God is so amazing, in spite of ourselves, He still blesses us and still loves us. Thank you Father for the power of your word! thank you ladies for fellowship:)

    ReplyDelete
  64. Here were two women who should have loved and cared for each other, instead living in jealousy and competition. Its hard to imagine that either of them led a "happy" life.

    Sure, there would certainly have been happy moments, but imagine the overwhelming pain and confusion that BOTH of them experienced, probably a majority of the time.

    So here is my question. Do we think that we are supposed to have perfect and peaceful lives if we belong to Christ? So far in the lives of these matriarchs, I have seen very little evidence of what we would call happy or peaceful lives.

    But even in the midst of their personal difficulty, God was clearly accomplishing something huge, something much bigger than they could imagine with their human minds.

    I just wonder sometimes if we spend too much time trying to be "happy" instead of trusting that God is working out His plan in our lives. Sorry if this is a downer this morning, I'm feeling very reflective today.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Wow! I've never seen Leah in that light before. Even though she was unloved, and not "chosen" by Jacob, she was definitely chosen by God for His purpose and plan. How comforting to be reminded of God's divine plan for our lives, and His steadfast, incomprehensible love for us! Thank you, Father, for loving me even when I wander from You, and mess up. You are an AWESOME God!!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I read it in McFrarland, Wisconsin. There is a lot to think and pray on here. It is great to have all the different insight into this text.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Dear friends, greetings from Michigan!

    As we read about Rachel and her failures, let's remember that Leah also gave her servant girl to Jacob, to have children by her, even though she already was blessed with 4 boys. Why did she continue to feel the competition?

    It is interesting, there was a segment about sisters on the Today show this morning, and I am thinking about Rachel and Leah growing up together as sisters, possessing obvious outward differences that may have causes competition as children and then ending up married to the same man, continuing to share the same household community, never having a chance to get some distance from each other. My own sisters and I are all so different. There are things about each that I admire, some things that I hate to admire (competition), and things that I don't like about each--things that would be magnifide if I had to share husband and household (you know what they say about two women in the kitchen). I can't imagine being in that situation. As we grow older, hopefully more mature ( we are now 47 to 53), we do put more of our differences aside and enjoy each other more, but we still have some distance built into the situation--naturally we all married different men. We have each other for support, yet there are areas in our lives we aren't open about with eachother.

    God has answered prayers in my life--like Rachel's prayers for children--but I am not so quick to share with others my desperation and felt need to turn to God. I know God answers prayer. I am thinking about a marriage today that I am praying God will mend. If you are reading my response, would you please pray for this family with three children with me, that God would preserve this marriage? And pray for a marriage you know of which is going through difficulties.

    I feel for you who have shared your desire to have children. God has worked a wonderful miracle in our church. In a Wed night Bible study, I think at least three couples shared their desire for children, all had been waiting and trying. Praying for these couples became a major focus for this group and soon all three couples became pregnant! Today, our church continues to remember and rejoice over this miracles as we have watched these families grow. I struggled myself, but not with the same intensity--I had my firstborn followed by 4 miscarriages--then finally I had two successful pregnancies during each, however, I was spotting at 12-14 weeks. Prayer was important in my struggle as well, after 4 miscarriages, I felt powerless.

    As we think this week about these studies, let's all pray for our new on-line friends who with great pain and disappointment struggle to have children. Although your pain is greater than I have experienced, I know some of it.

    God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hello Ladies from New York City!

    So much has been said and well, what else can I add other than I thank God for:

    1: our culture is much different than in the OT times - at least here in America (no sharing of husband - can I get an AMEN!)

    2. if you think you came from a disfunctional family, well, think again - LOL There's plenty of disfunctionality involved from the begining (this explains a lot about YOUR FAMILY)... so, stop kicking yourself for your disfunctions (by the way, I'm speaking about myself as well).

    3. ladies, if we are honest with our self, there's so much in us just as Eve, Sarah, Rebeka, Rachel, Leah and the rest of the women in the Bible! We all struggle with jelousy, inferiority, manipulative and yes, we can even be deceptive - given the right circumnstances and timing.

    Conclusion: God is still God and nothing and no one will change his plans. His love is unexplainable -that's why He is God and lastly, even when we don't deserve forgiveness, He still forgives us. Rachel was definitely a rascal, but at the end, she prayed and prayed and God answered!

    Great study! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I read in Carnegie, PA.

    ReplyDelete
  70. It was an interesting obsevation that, although Judah and Levi were from Leah's womb, Rachel's son Joseph was used of God to preserve the family during a time of famine through out all the land. Do you remember the jealousy the brothers had toward Joseph?

    I am glad there is finally some unity in God's purposes in Jacob's family. The "two nations" theme makes me uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hello Friends,

    I read yesterday and then did some thinking. I have also been reading th posts. Here are some of my thoughts.

    Amanda- Interesting you picked that song, as I was reading your post that song was playing on my Chris Tomlin CD. It is a great example for this study.

    Julie- I had picked up on that thought to how we covet what it only appears another has. Each sister wanted or had what the other was given at first.

    I personally relate to both sisters. I longed for the attention of a man's love to long in my life. I thank God that now that I have that, I recognize it and truly appreciate the gift I have. I still long to have my own child. I know in God's timing, he will grant this wish but I still struggle in the wait. In the mean time, I satisfy that longing through my students and children of my friends.

    I am looking forward to tomorrow. Thank You again Rachel for this opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  72. So after reading your post, and all the comments, I am still undecided as to what to say. Leah and Rachel must have fought all of their lives, otherwise, I don't see them having as much animosity towards each other at this stage in life. Jacob knew nothing but animosity, thanks to his mother, Rebekah. He had chosen his favored wife, and would have no other, whether or not God had blessed the relationship.

    Which brings up a good point ... Did Jacob seek God in this marriage? If not, the marriage was doomed from the start between he and Rachel. Since Leah is in Jesus' lineage, maybe Leah was Jacob's "chosen one". Just a thought ... not sure where to take it, but it came to me as I was writing this comment.

    Beth Ann brought up a good point about infertility, and Rachel, I agree with you, none of us have all the answers, but it does seem that once true submission occurred in these situations, children began appearing.

    The same is true in other areas of life. True submission to God is key to finding blessings in life. He blesses those who follow Him without question or thought. Are we each submitting our lives to God every day of our lives? Are we taking blind steps of faith because God asks us to without questioning Him?

    ReplyDelete
  73. I read all six chapters. It literally took me all day between taking care of my almost two year old, and I had my husband home all day. It was worth it though. I was able to read a little and then reflect on what I read before I went on. I really enjoy this these chapters more and more everytime I read them. I caught that too, that the tribe of Judah came from Leah. Pretty interesting. I love how God uses our messes for His glory. No matter what we give Him to work with, He can always make Himself shine through it. I'm so glad I serve a God that deals with all of my screw ups and disobedience and I am still the apple of His eye. How awesome is that! I love Him. Thank you so much sweet Rachel (Olsen) for putting this study together and taking the time to reflect on each of the readings with us. It sounds like you are quite a busy woman and you have made the sacrifice of helping a group (a very large group it looks like) of ladies grow closer to the Lord and learn to really enjoy reading our Bibles. You will be blessed. Greenville, Ohio

    ReplyDelete
  74. hey rachel,its very obvious that once u interrupt GODS path u delay urself not him.lets be patient with GOD.
    CLAIRE.nairobi,kenya

    ReplyDelete
  75. Jacob finally learned what it felt like to be tricked and treated unfairly. However, I wonder if any of his past troubles had anything to do with the problems he incurred?
    I pity Leah because she was given to a man that did not want her in the beginning or in the end. She gave him great gifts i.e. sons who would become important.
    Rachel always had the upper hand and was a little arrogant about it. In the end, she would lose her life but not after she gave birth to the last son who would complete the tribes of Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I'm again amazed how God uses MUCH less than perfect people (both women and men) to accomplish His will.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Que lio mas grande!
    What a big mess! This story is better than a romance novel! I really feel for these two women. It seems that what was love at first sight for Rachel and Jacob turned into an unfunctional family. Tension and rivalry must have been the daily environment for them.

    I think things got worse day by day because of the situation of Jacob sleeping with both of them (+ 2 servants). Jelousy is very damaging. How would it have been if Jacob would have put his foot down and not let matters go so far. I think he was enjoying all this attention not to mention having a whole lot of FUN! Leah wanted Jacob's love, Rachel wanted Leah's sons and they seem to put this their number one priority. If we would learn to put God #1 I am sure we could avoid lots of heart aches and suffering in our lives!!!! Thank God for his mercy and blessings, they are abundant even thou we don't deserve them!

    I'm enjoying this very much! Love the comments Ladies.

    me from Puerto Rico

    ReplyDelete
  78. Another "wow" of a story! I am amazed how God has used "ordinary" (for lack of a better word) men & women for grand & holy purposes. People, like us today, who struggle with envy (Rachel & Leah) & deception (Laban who substitued Leah for Rachel, Rachel for hiding the idols). This made me think that because God is all knowing, he knew 2000 years later we may be able to relate to the Rachels, Leahs, Sarahs of the Bible & learn from them...learn that it's OK to mess up, we will mess up, but realize that God will answer our prayers regardless of the mess-ups, provided we have faith in Him.

    I'm really new at all this...analyzing the Bible & reflecting on it, so I hope those thoughts made some sense! lol!

    This is so wonderful & I'm so glad to be a part of it! :)
    Pat in NYC

    ReplyDelete
  79. When I first read this passage, I thought that Rachel was a beautiful, arrogant, whinny brat.

    Then I read Rachels commentary and was confused as to why she was the only matriarch that has a road named after her. There must be more than we can see from this story.

    I admit - I googled her. I read several articles from Jewish web sites. All show her as being compassionate. They stated she knew that her father would trick Jacob and she told him. They had a secret code that they would use so that Jacob would know that he was marrying the right girl (after reading this, I remembered being taught this as a child). On the day of the wedding, she saw it was her sister getting ready - did not want her sister to be embarrased when Jacob found out - if he decided not to go through with the wedding or caused a scene since this is not who he worked so hard to get - she gave her sister the code. One of the sites states that she laid under the bed so that when Jacob talked to her on the wedding night, she would answer so that her sister would not have to speak.

    You know that this has to be a very hard thing to do. Think about getting ready to marry the love of your life - to protect your sisters feelings - you let her take the man of your dreams.

    They say that Leah means tired or weepy. If Leah was weepy and depressed - chances are, this might have been why she was not married and dad knew he would have a hard time getting her married.

    I think the resentment between Leah and Rachel did not come until after Leah started to have children and Rachel didn't. She must have felt like she was not complete and somewhat a failure. Leah resented Rachel since she had Jacobs love. Rachel resented Leah since Leah was able to have children and she wasn't.

    Such a tragic love story. Thank you Rachel O for starting this series of women in the Bible. I have been pulling out my old dusty reference books (and internet) to delve deeper into the history in the Bible. Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I think it’s interesting to see the multi-generational problem here. All of these women took matters into their own hands. You would think that Rebekah would remember the stories of Sara and Rachel would think of them both as they tried to manipulate the situation. However, I know that I would do the same thing and in fact have tried to ‘help’ God out with what I thought would work. I’m also struck by the depth of the jealousy there is between Leah and Rachel and how destructive that can be.

    Crissi in Washington

    ReplyDelete
  81. I love the story of Jacob and Rebekah. How sweet it is!? However, I do have one question. I know that it may have been customary during the time, but I don't understand how a man can have more than one wife as well as mistresses (maids in this case) and it be okay with God. Could someone please shed some light here? I don't want to get tangled up in legalism or anything, I am just trying to understand things a little better. Thanks!

    I'm really enjoying myself Rachel! Thanks for doing this study!

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  82. As God repeatedly shows us - His plans and His timing are always perfect. We are not to always understand, but to accept (easier said than done). Leah & Rachel's stories are sad (in different ways) and they grieved my heart more this time than in times past, but the love that Jacob and Rachel had for each other should be an exeample to us all.

    ReplyDelete
  83. This particular passage is really speaking to me. We are having a difficult financial time. Only money will solve the problems. I have prayed and know that I need to wait on the Lord for the answer but am so tempted to take matters into my own hands. Our son has said he can and will help. But somehow I know that would be taking it out of the Lord's hands. Am I wrong?

    I love all your comments. God be with you.

    Janet in Latrobe, PA

    ReplyDelete
  84. To agape13c:
    I too have been in a similar circumstance. I don't know how to advise, but this I do know, GOD WILL PROVIDE! In my case, I asked for guidance and asked for prayer from the ladies in a group at church, explaining my need so they woud know how to pray. The next Sunday at church,one of those ladies pulled me and my husband aside, telling us that she felt the Lord was leading her to meet our need. GOD DOES PROVIDE! I Praise His Name! I will keep you in my prayers for your need to be met and for guidance.

    ReplyDelete
  85. agape13c: I agree with plant lady in that seek the Lord, pray and ask for His guidance. He will tell you or rather show you the path whether it's via your child or whomever or however He chooses to provide. The important thing is to go to Him in prayer and earnestly seek His way...HOPEFULLY, through that you will have discernment if it requires any action on your part. I know, personally, I struggle with this...I seek the Lord, pray diligently but then I can't discern what He's saying...is He telling me something or is my heart telling me something...

    Does anyone else struggle with this???

    ReplyDelete
  86. Thank you everyone! This study took me a long time. I first read just the verses that Rachel Olsen posted, and then today I read the chapters. There is so much to cover and I want to go into the men's stories (like the dream with the ladder, wrestling with God, Esau marrying in Ishmael's line even though Ishmael's house was destined to be at war with Abraham's house)but this study is focused on the women.

    I was struck by Leah with weak (or soft or dim) eyes. Was this a malady? Did her eyesight keep her from some of the activities that other women participated in? Did it set up a rivalry with Rachael early in their lives? Is it why her father felt he had to resort to trickery to get her married? Yet God used her to advance his purpose. God continually reinforces in His Word the notion that it is the inner person that matters, not the outer person. Rachel was beautiful to behold. She was popular. She was loved by Jacob. But maybe she was less likely to rely on God since she was a recipient of such earthly regard.

    Leah gave birth to strong men and leaders of the people. Racheal gave birth to men of quiet strenth, seems almost a reversal of roles.

    Thank you CCEEYOER for bringing up the question, did Jacob pray about Rachael as a wife, as the servant prayed for Rebeka. Imagine having the face-to-face encounter with God that Jacob had in his dream and not praying to see if this was the right choice? Did he pray? Or was he so confident that God was with him that he assumed God's choice for him was in front of him at the well?

    Lot's to think about. Thank you Rachel for bringing us together on this!

    - Karen, Pleasanton, CA

    ReplyDelete
  87. Amen to the comment that YES it is so very hard to see God's timing in the middle of our heart break. Boy do I struggle with that right now.

    Josie - you had very interesting insights regarding how Leah's role appeared smaller/hidden but yet maybe of more important because she: gave Jacob his first son, her sons brought Jewish and priestly lineage, and she was buried with Abraham/Sarah...It seems Rachel is seen more in the limelight and more emphasis on her yet Leah was "honored" in a higher regard.

    To fivedesigns (Donna) - thank you for a glimpse of your beautiful testimony. I love that statement from God's perspective: "It's because you didn't trust Me. I didn't want this 'window' opened yet you willed it open and here it is!!!" Wow...I've just never heard it phrased quite like that. How many windows have I opened that He didn't want opened?

    There again, though, it adds to my personal confusion and conflict of knowing when is God opening a window and when is He asking me to move toward it? I just can't seem to grasp the whole "when to wait on Him and when to move per His calling." Will I ever? I guess right now I'm struggling with this particularly and mainly in my relationship with my husband (or rather ex legally).

    My marriage is one that would covet your prayers in great appreciation! (My husband divorced me UNBIBLICALLY--no infidelity.)

    I love that we can bring anything to the table...even if it doesn't directly relate to the story or people of the Bible for the day. We can bring our financial, relationship, emotional issues and share them with other praying Christian women around the world! Praise be to the most beautiful and precious Jesus, Our Lord.

    Paula, Madison, Indiana

    ReplyDelete
  88. Wow... that's deep... Rachel, I, too, have a biblical name that I hope we discuss (Tamar). But anyway, it's fitting that despite her father's trickery, Jacob's love for Rachel never faded. Rachel, like Sarah, never dismissed God's promise and held on to the faith that so many believers like me admire today. Keep up the good work our shepardness!

    ReplyDelete
  89. debbie in Goose Creek,SCMarch 18, 2008

    1st,my mind goes ahead to the story of Joseph and how his brothers disliked him when Jacob gave him the beautiful coat. I see now that Rachel was Joseph's mother(her 1st son) and the other sons were from Leah or maids. Rivalry between sisters begets rivalry between brothers. No wonder Jacob mourned so deeply when he thought the son made with his Rachel, Joseph, was dead.
    2nd,Leah's firstborn was Reuben who was the big brother making the decision not to kill Joseph but sell him off.
    Lastly, Rachel's only other son, Benjamin was special to Jacob. When Joseph was in power and met his stepbrothers again in Egypt, I see why Benjamin was so special to Joseph--they had the same mother and father.I just never noticed what mother birthed which sons before!

    ReplyDelete
  90. I'm not sure what to say. I see the patterns that the women are following, and I see patterns that we women are still following. As many have said, it is easy to say we need to wait on the Lord and trust in him and but the hard thing is the doing. I would not have wanted to live in that time, competing with other wives and your sister... As for hiding our idols that take our attention off of God and the areas that we need to fix but haven't. Lets just say I'm not ready to cast the 1st stone. I am however working at being honest with myself to change these areas dig up those roots and live in the glory. As God Blessed each of these women even after they were deceitful, shows his mercy and love for all of us. That's a wonderful feeling. I am really enjoying this study and look forward to more. Thanks Rachel, your time is much appreciated.
    Lynn - Milwaukie OR USA

    ReplyDelete
  91. I'm loving these studies together. I feel a closeness to each of you ladies and I feel so blessed to be able to study like this. It was not by accident that this happened. I had been wanting more bible study and here it is.

    I, too, like Rachel have hidden idols, suffered the consequences, and today there's a peace in my heart that only God can give. God has blessed me so much and I am able to enjoy these blessings at this time in my life.

    I just have to remember:it's all in God's plan and in His time, not mine, and I'm thankful that He is using me and did not abandon me.

    Amazing Grace, How sweet that it saved a wretch like me.
    Thanks again,
    from central Louisiana

    ReplyDelete
  92. I read it in Chicago...Yay :)

    ReplyDelete
  93. During this Lenten season I have been struggling with whether or not my sins of the past, my sins of the present and my sins of the future (oh, I know they will happen!) will deem me unworthy in God's eyes. This study is helping me to see that no sin is too great to be forgiven if brought to the Lord with a naked sincerity. The journey to become closer to God must be taken EACH day with the humility to empty oneself in genuine petition so we may become the vision HE has for us. I pray that this lesson learned is a lesson kept close to my heart and lived every day!
    Blessings to you all!

    ReplyDelete
  94. The last couple of studies on the first ladies in the bible have ocmpletly began to transform me.

    I am greatful to have a sister like Rachel, ( and all the other ladies who are devoting themselves to it) who is being obedient to The Father's Will. He knew there would be those who need to become closer with his word and ponder how to always choose HIm......anyway thanks ladies.

    MISS SANDY...I think you made a great point...I'll join you in saying that I do not want to "wail upon my bed"....i want the Joy and Peace of the Lord.That is what the studies are doing for me, letting me let God reveal my sin to me , and understand my role as a women, wife, and mother.....Awesome!!

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hello Everyone, well I would be honored to say that Rachel covered every area of concern that I had in this reading of Rachel. There was a lot of revelation and I see som many similiar moments that each of the women we have read about thus far have in common. This reading has allowed me to know that there is someone who will love you unconditionally and go above the call of duty for your hand.

    ReplyDelete
  96. One of the things that these stories are all about is when all is said and done--God longs for greater intimacy with each of us.

    What I need to do in order to find that intimacy is to lift "my skirts to what is hidden there" and let the things I hide and the things I secretly love/covet out into the light and allow God to show me how He can replace these false idols with the real thing!!

    Alas, when I think about the sibling rivalry between Leah and Rachel I see what it bred in their children later in the story. It was Leah's sons who put Joseph (Rachel's son) down into the cistern and then plotted to sell him to the caravan of Ismaelites!

    But isn't the Bible awesome! It has such wonderful ways of showing us how much God loves us, how God is good all the time and that He has His hand on each of us who love Him and are called to His purpose.

    In Joy, G in AZ

    ReplyDelete
  97. Rachel, I loved it when you said, "We might expect God to only use women's moral actions, but the reality is God also uses the immoral actions of women (and men) to advance His ultimate will," because I have made mistakes that I fully regret and yet God used them to bring about beautiful changes in my life. I have always had a hard time reconciling that because it seems contradictory: do I regret them or not? Could I actually be [gulp] thankful for them? Certainly I wish that it didn't require bad choices for me to allow God to work in my life. But my husband always says that we won't change until we've experienced enough pain. And sometimes the pain you bring on yourself (and those you love) is the worst kind.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Wow, I read the whole thing to try to gain a better understanding. I feel that it is hard for me to get past all the cheatin and conieving going on (even if it was custom to do so). There is just so much that God leaves out.

    I have a hard time believing that God would Bless Rachel like He did if she only had a unrepented heart. I think that she just made similar mistakes over and over again, as we all do sometimes.

    I really liked miss sandy's post and it gave me much to think about. I do think that people can appear godly even though their hearts are unchanged but their "appearances" don't last forever. God know our hearts and He is the one who chooses how to deal with us and our changed or unchanged hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  99. I too like Rachel's statement about God using our immoral actions. How true it is AMTODD that we usually don't change until we've experienced enough pain.

    These two statements remind me of
    two scriptures.

    Romans 8:28 God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

    James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you suffer trials of many kinds...

    Isn't that what He does...takes our immoral and wrong actions and make good of them. Isn't that how we also find the joy in the trials and the wrong actions???

    Beautiful indeed....

    ReplyDelete
  100. I read it. I need to know what the next assingment is. I'm just loving this.
    K Mosley--Dolton,IL

    ReplyDelete
  101. I read it. My how these women moved before GOD and I just wonder what awesome things HE would have done for them if they had just hearkened unto HIM and waited. This is great what you are doing, Rachel! I was actually considering doing some type of online bible study or finding one to join and the next day I read about your idea of starting this one. GOD is good! My pastor taught about Sarah this Sunday and I feel this confirmed that we are all on one accord and that GOD is up to something great.

    LaTonya
    Florida

    ReplyDelete
  102. As I'm reading the comments,it dawned on me how this really does show the generational curses that exisisted and still exist. Wow, we have to make sure that when we know there is a negative pattern in our familes that we go to God and pray that it not attach to our children or the next generation. We must rebuke that curse and put it under our feet! I have always seen the pattern but never thought it out.

    ReplyDelete
  103. What strikes me so often and so strongly is that we are ALL ON THE SAME PAGE, literally and figuritively. God has moved our hearts to this study becuase He knew that we would get something out of it. He also knew that if He could touch us, He can touch all those in our lives. What an amazing thought. How many women are involved in this study multiplied by how many people we can touch during our every day lives equals a "whole lotta lovin' goin' on"!!!

    I feel honored that God called me to this study. I know that this is what I needed to move closer to Him.

    We are all over the world!!! We can show the Love of God ALL ACROSS THE WORLD. Just one little action each day and think of all the people who can be touched by God. Remember: He is found where there is LOVE.

    My soul prays for blessings on each of you.

    Emily in Ohio

    ReplyDelete
  104. "My how we need to embrace the spiritual discipline of submission to God and waiting on His plans and timing."
    This statement was so profound to me. You see, I have struggled with infertility and sometimes question God as to why this is happening to me. Only our Father in heaven knows that answer, and I'm sure in His time, He will answer my prayer.

    I ask for all your prayers. Thanks for this opportunity air my struggles.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Hello all!

    I found much of myself in Rachel, as I did with Sarah.

    I look at Rachel and I see that she was a good person, as (our) Rachel mentioned, she was "beautiful in every way." To me this means she was a good person and a loving person, not just a pretty face. Then we read on and it talks about how Rachel, who was cheated into sharing her husband with her sister, handles the situation. She was upset and jealous and spiteful of her sister. She lied to her father about the idols, etc.

    In thinking about this, I see myself. I consider myself to be a good person. I was always the good and well-behaved child who hardly ever got into trouble and didn't gossip with the girlfriends, etc...but I often feel like Rachel being cheated by my own parents. They give my brother things and do everything for him and hardly do anything at all for me, *because* I'm a good kid. They figure my brother needs the attention more than I do (I'm exaggerating to make a point). Then I find I start behaving like Rachel. I feel that because I'm good I deserve better treatment than my sibling. So I become jealous and I lie when I do do something wrong.

    I feel bad for everyone in this situation. Rachel didn't get her husband to herself, Leah was unloved, Jacob had to work 14 years to be with the one person that he loved, and so on. But on the other side, Jacob became very wealthy off of his uncle, he made up with his brother and he became the father of a nation. Leah was loved by Jacob (at least to some degree) and she was certainly loved by God, who allowed her to have so many children (who in turn would love her). Rachel was loved the most by Jacob and was eventually able to have Children as well, when she straightened things out with God that is.

    I guess I've learned that I need to trust God's judgement over my own, I need to wait for God's time and not my own, and I've learned that when you do things right, God blesses you (Even though He still blesses you when you do wrong, because as His children, He loves us.)

    Thanks Rachel!!

    ReplyDelete
  106. Ladies...Think on this, I realize that God has a plan fo rall of our lives and he was using Leah, rachel and Jacob, however, if Jacob loved Rachel so much or even Leah a little how could he lay with their handmaidens?
    I too feel sorry for both Leah and Rachel but also for the handmaidens who had no choice in how they would respond to Jacob.

    ReplyDelete
  107. I'm really enjoying this Bible Study. Everyone's comments, and most of how that God is helping me to see things that I didn't see before.

    I'm wondering why the custom of the oldest daughter which is Leah was to be married first?

    ReplyDelete
  108. Rachel was beautiful, while Leah was "weak in the eyes". But watching the happenings of Genesis 30, you wonder who was beautiful to God. My almost four year old loves lipgloss and play makeup, and it shows me again how important it is to teach her where true beauty comes from.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Your comment about the first three ladies we have studied- all were barren and did not have children until God willed it. I never realized that. Which is comforting. I do not have any children, wondering how that could be part of God's plan for me. But... its amazing to see it was in his plan for these other women.....

    ReplyDelete
  110. My thoughts on Rachel and Leah are:
    Where was Rachel on "her" wedding night ? I don't know about you, but it would have taken A LOT to keep me from my newlywed husbands side. As I understand this passage, Rachel went through the wedding ceremony and celebration, she entered into a covenant with her husband, but was not joined to him on their wedding night. !!! OW!! That must have been some wine they served, even then I think a strong prison would have been needed to keep me apart from my husband.
    And what about Leah, she was given cheaply, and in secret, as if she would not be wanted in her own right. No wonder Leah gloated and said she would be important to her husband after giving him sons.

    It seems to me that Jacob was not the only one mistreated by Laban. Laban didn't seem to have his daughters happiness in mind either.

    ReplyDelete
  111. My thoughts on Rachel and Leah are:
    Where was Rachel on "her" wedding night ? I don't know about you, but it would have taken A LOT to keep me from my newlywed husbands side. As I understand this passage, Rachel went through the wedding ceremony and celebration, she entered into a covenant with her husband, but was not joined to him on their wedding night. !!! OW!! That must have been some wine they served, even then I think a strong prison would have been needed to keep me apart from my husband.
    And what about Leah, she was given cheaply, and in secret, as if she would not be wanted in her own right. No wonder Leah gloated and said she would be important to her husband after giving him sons.

    It seems to me that Jacob was not the only one mistreated by Laban. Laban didn't seem to have his daughters happiness in mind either.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Thank you everyone - I am learning so much from you and the study! This is amazing!

    Holland, MI

    ReplyDelete
  113. Well, I read it a little late, but read it nonetheless. My thoughts on Rachel...Well, for starters, I completely agree with Becky (teacher). I have a 5 year old, and sometimes wonder how many times the same instructions have to be given, especially when dealing with routines that happen daily. I do wonder at times how/why God continues to bless me when I need to be taught the same lesson over and over again, and just seem not to learn after God has heard my cry (yet again), and continues to show his grace and mercy.
    What really struck me, and this was after Rachel's O's clarificatin on the idols, is that even after God heard Rachel's cry and gave her a son, she still took the idols. Maybe because that's how I feel I still live. Like I'm straddling the line, with one foot on God's side and one foot still on the worldly side. "Yes, God I trust you and need you to answer my prayers, but just in case, let me work Sunday morning, instead of going to church...or, I can't get up early to read the Bible tomorrow, because I was up late on a project and really need my sleep to ensure I do a great presentation to land that promotion to be able to really provide well for my familly."
    I would ask your prayers for me as I kneel before my Saviour and ask Him to reveal to me the idols under my saddle so I can fully confess and repent all. To be able to truly be filled with the Holy Spirit so that all I do will truly glorify the Lord.

    If this seems really "rambly", I'm sorry. When I first read the chapters, I really wasn't clear on the message, but as I read some of the comments, and started typing, the words just ended up on the screen.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Yes, I too thought more about Rachel's plight than Leah's, but both women were in a precarious situation. We don't really know why God allowed this all to happen except He gives each of us "free will" and He still did what He said He was going to do. What strong women both Rachel and Leah had to have been...Both vying for Jacob's affection and Rachel watching while Leah gave birth to Jacob's sons while she remained barren. How many instances in our times has this same scenario took place? Once again, Rachel, you made me look alot closer at the story of Rachel and Leah. Instead of Rachel allowing God to fulfill her wish to have children, she thought stealing her father's idols would make her fertile. Still trying to "help" God when He doesn't need her help. Greetings to all my fellow sisters in Christ...Keep up the wonderful messages...I look forward to each and every one..JoAnn here in Denver, Colorado

    ReplyDelete
  115. i read about one year ago some historical novels on leah and rachel. they were by liz curtis higgs. i loved reading them and they really caused me to think about these sisters.

    God's word is always awesome. i think as i read these things on this side of the cross... i wonder... why don't we trust a living, powerful God to give us His things in His timing.

    in the ministry i have watched quite a few woman go through the barren times ... childless... and it is so very painful. many of us don't know that pain ... and in that day... the pain was a disgrace as well.

    God's plans in time fascinate me. He used Leah's line to bring us Christ. God loves all of His princess', even the less beautiful ones.

    ReplyDelete
  116. I am surprised to see the drama that comes from this story but am awestruck to see how the Lord is working his will in it. It truly gives me more hope and peace knowing that God is so loving and faithful to his word that he works thru all turmoil and situations!

    ReplyDelete
  117. agape13c
    I know what you mean...sometimes you feel uncertain about how God is answering. I tend to look at it like this. God wants the best for us, I notice that family support has always been a model in the bible. I think it is great that your son wants to help and this could be a great blessing for him. I am sure that you and your husband have been wonderful parents and he wants to "give back". I guess my thought process would be...don't allow his help to be just a bandaid. Do what you can to turn your circumstances around. And I always take it all to prayer and try to remember that even in a wrong decision...God is still there!!! I have been in a financial mess before myself and we are beginning to see daylight...but it took some discipline, prayer and time (there is the waiting thing again!!)
    I prayed that you will get your answers!

    ReplyDelete
  118. I'm a few days late. But I knew God was telling me to read this. now I know why, how easy it is not to trust in God. Hello ALL POWERFUL. So we women still try to make things happen our own way. God creates miracles, how easy can He handle our petty problems. But God takes of them as if we are His only child. Once Rachel surrendered her life, God blessed it. How God showed His love through Jacob! He worked 14 yrs for the women of his dreams. I can't imagine being so in love. God's love is good, and trust in Him. He will bless that.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Oh man.

    I find it interesting that Leah should say, "Is it not enough that you have taken my husband without your taking away my son's mandrakes also?" when it was evident SHE'S the one who took Rachel's husband! I find it really hard to feel bad for Leah, because I just can't think that she wouldn't have had the opportunity to stand up for her sister and say, "I will not take this man as my husband!" instead of sneaking in to sleep with him at night. It makes me think that their relationship was not a good one in the first place, probably because Rachel was beautiful but Leah had "sad eyes". She was probably jealous of Rachel all her life and didn't think Rachel should marry before she did. I can imagine her desparation mounting as the 7 years progressed before Jacob would marry Rachel. I think she, too, took matters into her own hands and thus got herself a husband - but one who didn't really want her. Even after the birth of her sixth son she was still hoping Jacob would finally love/prefer her. How sad the consequences of when we don't allow the Lord to work in our lives in HIS time!

    However I know Rachel is not a saint. I just find it so much easier to sympathize with her and wish things were different for her.

    ReplyDelete
  120. In my comment on the 18th, I mixed up Rachel and Rebekah :). Brain moving faster than my fingers. It should say:

    I think it’s interesting to see the multi-generational problem here. All of these women took matters into their own hands. You would think that Rachel would remember the stories of Sara and Rebekah would think of them both as they tried to manipulate the situation. However, I know that I would do the same thing and in fact have tried to ‘help’ God out with what I thought would work. I’m also struck by the depth of the jealousy there is between Leah and Rachel and how destructive that can be.

    ReplyDelete
  121. I am struck with the thought that you reap what you sow. The deception that Jacob and his mother played on Esau & Isaac came back on Jacob by the deceiptful acts of Laban and Leah. So many parallels in this story. It was a great lesson. What stuck out was the mercy of God no matter what had been done before.

    ReplyDelete
  122. I have finished the reading and all
    the comments. There is so much
    information shared by all of you,
    thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  123. Wow, I can see a lot of similarities in myself from Rachels perspective...This is good to ponder and pray about. It clearly reveals how we place our trust and source of power in man! Alisa from Mt. Juliet, TN (Nashville)

    ReplyDelete
  124. I read it in Mt. Juliet, TN

    ReplyDelete
  125. Looks like Rachel learned alot of bad habits from her father...

    Charm is deceiftul and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
    Proverbs 31:30

    We must be able to totally put our trust in God, instead of trying to do things on our own. There are consequences. Rachel like us need to be at the feet of Jesus and to bring our dealings to Him. I like the following song when I'm at the throne of God:

    Down at your feet oh Lord is the most high place, in your presence Lord, we seek your face, we seek your face. There is no higher calling, no greater honor than bow and kneel before your throne. I'm amazed at your glory, enbraced by your mercy, Oh Lord, I live to worship you.

    Thank you for bearing with me, but it's Good Friday and my work let me out early to celebrate this glorious holiday. I'm in a very worhipful mood and can't wait for our special Good Friday service at church tonight. We will be celebrating the Lord's Supper. Rachel thank you for a beautiful Bible Study, I'm enjoying it alot.
    Happy Easter...He is alive!!! ****Praise the Lord****
    Tampa, Fl

    ReplyDelete
  126. Wow! Sounds like a daytime drama :-) However, the thing is it doesn't matter how crazy the situation, God seems to always work it for his good. In my life, it seems like everything is so chaotic and that there will never be an end. I have learned from this story, that perhaps I should sit still instead of trying to take matters in to my own hand and let God work them out for me :-)

    Amy T

    ReplyDelete

Chime in.