What clashes have you had at home recently?
We’re going to keep this question in mind as we continue to look at the story of my namesake in the Bible, Rachel
In part one of Rachel’s story, we learned she did not take her problems to God.
Today, we’re going to look at the troubles she had at home and discover the root cause of them. You can read along in Genesis 30.
Rachel, unable to get pregnant, came up with a plan. It was nothing outrageous and perfectly acceptable in her culture, although the “method used” seems shocking to us. She would use her servant as a surrogate mother. So, like Sarah and Abraham, who also couldn’t conceive, they had a child by their servant.
Rachel’s wrongdoing wasn’t that she asked her husband to sleep with another woman to have a child, it went deeper than that. It was her attitude.
Not only did she lack trust in God, she was also deeply jealous of her sister, Leah, and envy turned to rivalry.
When Rachel’s servant had a baby, Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.”
We begin to see the effect of jealous thoughts, allowed to run rampant. They had taken root in Rachel’s heart and turned into competition with her sister.
This makes me consider thoughts I have left unchecked that have contributed to turning a relationship sour.
In fact, I know I have behaved the same as Rachel. With the long distance between my parents and myself, I have been envious of family get-togethers, when I can’t join them. Then I’ve found myself competing for the attention of my mother, in particular.
In our story, the friction didn’t stop, though, after Rachel had her first baby.
Then Leah stopped getting pregnant, although, she did have four children at this point. You would have thought Leah would have been content. However, she was more interested in getting one up on Rachel.
Leah had two more children by her servant.
Everyone in the family got dragged into the conflict, and this included the children.
During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Genesis 30:14a (NIV)
Mandrakes were believed to increase fertility. Reuben must have known about the family feud between his mother and his aunt. Why else would he bring his mother mandrakes?
Have you ever colored your children’s views about another person you don’t like or who has offended you? You’ve made your child side with you, in subtle ways, of course, by dropping a comment here and there about another person. I know I have.
We shouldn’t be surprised to read that Rachel:
asked Leah for some of the mandrakes. Genesis 30:14b (NIV)
Leah’s reply is fraught with bitterness, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”
Whoa. Hang on a minute—Rachel took away Leah’s husband and took what belonged to her son? Let’s remember, Jacob didn’t want to marry Leah in the first place. Leah distorted the truth.
So, now we discover Leah had a bone to pick with her little sister and those unchecked feelings came tumbling out in the heat of their squabble.
How often do we, in the middle of an argument, pour out our resentment and accuse the other person of things that are not true?
Then Rachel bargained with Leah. They turned Jacob into a cheap object sold at the lowest price:
“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
At this point, Jacob should have stayed away for the night, on a business trip. Instead, Leah went out to meet him.
“You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”
Rivalry displaced any affection that existed between husband and wife. It turned two sisters into prostituting their husband.
How ridiculous their situation had become. Yet, how often do we let matters get out of control?
Envy, bitterness, anger, selfishness, insults and quarreling, when not dealt with can contribute to a lot of tension, an unhappy home life, arguments with your spouse, absurd judgments, and be an negative influence on future generations.
The Bible says:
Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things. James 3:16 (CEV)
Let’s not be these kinds of people. Let’s not suffer the consequences of taking matters into our own hands.
Turn to God so conflicts don’t get out of control.
We need to get on our knees and pour out our problems to God. Then: the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. James 3:17 (CEV)