Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: Conflict in the Camp

14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
Genesis 30:14-17, KJV

Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: Conflict in the Camp

We will remember from our last few devotions that Jacob, fleeing to the land of his mother's birth, found more than just safety. He found a beautiful woman! Yes, it was love at first sight. He loved Rachel so much that serving his uncle for seven years to secure her as his wife seemed as if no time had gone by at all. His uncle, however, tricked him and gave him his oldest daughter, Leah, as his wife. In return for another seven years of labor, he could receive Rachel as his second wife.

Agreeing to his uncle's terms, Jacob now found himself with two wives. As sisters, one would expect it to be one happy family. However, that was not the case. 

Seeing that Leah was the unloved wife, God blessed her with children, but Rachel was barren. Years of conflict became the normal life for this "love triangle," as the sisters competed with each other for children and for Jacob's love. In our passage shown above from Genesis 30, we see an example of this continuing conflict. 

Reuban, Leah's firstborn, found mandrakes (which were believed to make a woman fertile), in the field. Rachel demanded the mandrakes for herself. How did Leah respond?

15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.

In other words, Leah "bought" a night with Jacob in exchange for the mandrakes. Was it worth the trade? Yes, indeed! God blessed Leah with a fifth son.

Looking at the bigger picture, what do we find? In the end, God blessed both women with sons as well as giving them sons through their handmaidens. These twelve sons of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel became the twelve tribes of Israel.

Which sister won? Neither actually won, as both were blessed with sons. Rachel always remained the love of Jacob's life. Though Leah had the firstborn son and had more sons than Rachel, she never earned Jacob's love. How, then, did God compensate for that lack of love? Leah's son, Judah, became the head of the tribe of Israel from which the Lord Jesus Christ would be born.

We do not live long in this life before we face many kinds of conflict. How do we view that conflict? Does God work through conflict in our lives? Yes! Though God is never the author of sin, He uses our sin and the resulting conflicts which arise to order our lives and to accomplish His perfect will.

Let us always remember that God is God and we are not. Let us not try to bring God down to our level as though He is just a glorified man. Let us, instead, fall down and worship Him as our only God and King. May we walk in His perfect peace and love knowing that He brings all things to pass for His own glory. Nothing we do can circumvent His will.

How amazing that such a God as we have sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, through the tribe of Judah, to this earth for one purpose. Christ came to purchase a people for Himself. Reach out to Him today; cry out to Him for salvation. Fall at His feet and accept Him as your only Lord and Savior.

What an amazing God we serve. This reminds me of a song: "Sitting at the Feet of Jesus" by Joseph L. Hall, published in 1868.


1 Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last. 



2 Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather

Grace and comfort every day.
 
3 Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As *I sit low at Thy feet; [*I’m waiting]
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.



Go, today, and sit at the feet of Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda