Thursday, June 16, 2011

Genesis 30:1-24

The competition is on! You need to read all of the verses in Gen 30:1-24 at one sitting to appreciate how bad it became, but I’ll just share two of them this morning.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”

Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” (vs. 1-2)

Talk about desperation! Rachel is so needy here that Jacob gets mad at her! I’m assuming that this was not the first time he had heard her complaining about being barren. But now she has become obsessed to the point of complete despair. As Jon Courson points out in his commentary, the irony is that Rachel actually WILL die in childbirth with her second son, Benjamin. Courson also notes that Rachel has been the one who always had everything. She was the good looking sister who attracted all of the attention. But now, her older sister has everything she really wants and Rachel is consumed with envy. She does not want to go on if Jacob doesn’t give her children. She thinks that children will meet all of her needs (apparently Jacob isn’t enough, which may have been part of the reason he was fed up).

ALL of us have this same void in our hearts - we were purposely created with it so that we might seek God to fill it. Romans 8:20 says, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope. . .” God gave us this innate desire for Him. If we do not fill our lives with Him, we will spend years in frustration desperately trying to stuff that void in our hearts with something else: relationships, food, drugs, things, the praise of others, etc.

Rachel was sure that children would fill that longing within her - and as a woman I totally get that! Our children DO fill a great need within us to be needed and to love and be loved. We get such fulfillment in being a mother, yet like every other thing we do, mothering is temporary - if we’ve done our job right, anyway. These darling babies have the nerve to grow into adults who marry, move away, and have lives completely separate from our own! And that’s the way it is designed to be! But sometimes we make our children the center of our universe, to the point that they are almost idols in place of God (and believe me, I see it all the time as a teacher: the mother is so focused on her children’s lives, so overly involved in all they do, that the marriage suffers). And with infertile women, it’s the NOT having children that becomes the obsession as we see here with Rachel - and this, too, can destroy a marriage.

There’s so much more to this story and much to learn, so we’ll continue tomorrow!

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