Rachel: Green with Envy
(Genesis 29:15- 30:24)
She was “lovely in form, beautiful”…and she was jealous! Imagine that girl who has it all together. She has everything! The men want her, and the women want to be her! I met her in Genesis 29, her name is Rachel. Jacob worked to marry Rachel for a total of 14 years. He was madly in love with her. Talk about the fairytale love story. But there was a small, well not so small problem. Rachel had to share her husband with her sister Leah. And Leah could give Jacob something that Rachel couldn’t – children, sons, heirs.
“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!” (Gen. 30:35)
Can you hear the drama in her voice? Can you see her yelling with huge arm expressions, falling all over the table in huff? Death…that’s a pretty big statement huh? Right about now, God should be nudging you in your side telling you not to judge her so quickly and reminding you of your last temper tantrum or jealous fit!
In all fairness, Rachel was sharing her husband (although it was customary at the time), and it’s completely normal for a wife to want to give her husband children…but her jealously was the issue. There are many ways to look at her story, and many things to learn from her.
When we don’t get a certain thing we want, we can’t lose sight of all the other things God has so graciously blessed us with! When Rachel couldn’t bear children, she wanted to die! But what about Jacob who worked so many years for the honor of being her husband? Who loved her more than pretty much everything? Rachel had a life that others would have loved to have, but she couldn’t see past the one thing she was lacking to appreciate all the blessings God had already lavished on her. Ungratefulness and bitterness were setting in. We have to remember that even at our worst, there is always a reason to praise God!
God didn’t promise to give us everything we wanted, but He did promise to provide all of our needs! Our heavenly Father is just that, a great daddy. In Matthew 6, He tells us not to worry. If He cares for the birds and flowers, he’ll surely care for us! He only asks us to seek first His Kingdom, and He’ll take care of the rest! He knows how to give great gifts! They may not be exactly what you ask for, but they’ll be just what you need and better than you can imagine. Rachel wasn’t entitled to everything she wanted, but in seeking Him first, she should have been able to find comfort in the fact that her Daddy had it all under control!
Sometimes it’s not a no, just a not right now. Rachel didn’t have children when she wanted them, but she did later give birth to Joseph, because God remembered her (30:22-24). God did it in His time, because He had a plan for her and an amazing plan for her son! If you don’t know the story of Joseph, read Gen 37-50 on how he went from slave to the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt, saving his family from famine. We hear it all the time. God’s timing is perfect. When we don’t trust His timeframe, we’re showing a lack of faith in Him. Losing faith usually leads to us taking things into our own hands. And we are generally 99.9% successful in delaying, cancelling, or severely messing up His plan. Trust in Him! Don’t lose faith! Wait on His perfect timing!
God knows the future, the dangers lurking, and the traps that will hinder us from reaching our destiny! Ponder this: Rachel conceived a second time and gave birth to a son Benjamin. She died in labor (35:16-19). Rachel wanted to so badly to bear children, but did it cost her life? Did God know something about her body that He was guarding her from by not allowing her to conceive? Was it the power in her words of wanting to die coming to fruition? I’ll be 100% honest with you, I don’t know. But the thoughts kept running through my mind as I continued reading. God knows all. When we come to hear with our petitions in prayer, it is not a guarantee that He will “snap his fingers.” And quite frankly, we should be on our knees thanking Him for unanswered prayers. We don’t know the dangerous situations and toxic people God has helped us to avoid by simply not answering our prayers. On the flip side, how many downright jaw-dropping blessings have we received that we never asked for or never expected? This perspective changes things…
In our journey to becoming the women God has called us to be, we have to learn to take unpleasant situations gracefully, we have to find contentment even when we aren’t getting our way, and we have to understand that while God is a generous God, that doesn’t mean that He is going to hand over every single thing on our checklist. Finally we have to continue believing that God’s plan is perfect! Period. I know that it’s been said in nearly every lesson of the challenge, but it’s so true! The quicker we grasp that simple truth, the easier it is to accept both the ups and downs of life, because we know that whether God is giving or withholding, He has a great reason. Sometimes it’s a matter of life & death!
Challenge: Ask God to search your heart for envy or jealousy and reveal it to you. How can you find contentment even when you don’t get your way or others have what you want? In what ways is God supplying your needs? Do you have prayers that God didn’t answer when you wanted, but when He did, it knocked your socks off? What unanswered prayers are you thankful for? Share your thoughts with #WomenOfTheBibleChallenge.
Don’t know where to start?
Galatians 5:19-21 ~ The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God
Philippians 4:12 ~ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:19 ~ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:33 ~ But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 7:11 ~ If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Psalm 37:7a ~ Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;