Here is some coverage from the time of the almost sacrifice of Issac’s to his son Jacob:
Issac, the son who laid on the altar to be sacrificed but was spared by God grew up. His father Abraham sends a servant to find a wife for his son who is grieving the death of his mother.
The servant goes to a well and finds the right match. Rebekah, is the soon to be wife, and she leaves her family to marry Isaac. Rebekah and Isaac have children, TWINS, Jacob and Esau. The two fight when they are in her womb, during labor, and after delivery.
Esau foolishly sells his birthright (inheritance) for some stew that Jacob made. Rebekah devises a plan to slap hair on Jacob so he feels like his brother Esau. The plan works and Jacob, the younger son, is given all of the blessing and inheritance. Esau is understandably upset (however this is the same guy who sold his birthright for stew). Esau is so upset he wants to kill his brother Jacob.
The threats make Jacob and his mother nervous so he takes off to his mothers family and a man named Laban.
During his travels Jacob encounters God in his sleep.
He gets to his destination, the home of Laban, and falls for a pretty girl. He works 7 years, a stipulation the father placed on him in order to marrying her. Laban, the father of the pretty girl, pulls a fast one on Jacob and gives Jacob his other daughter (the one with weak eyes we might call her the ugly one) to Jacob instead. He eventually gets to marry the pretty one he fell in love with.
Rachel and Leah now share a husband and have what a person could call a baby battle. There are probably some shocking similarities between these women and the mommy wars we see today. A couple of women trying to show just how great they are because of the parents they are and the children they have.
Now that we are up to speed here is the story of Jacob, his two wives Rachel and Leah, and their babies.
When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.
When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.
And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” And she called his name Joseph,[n] saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!
Children have always been treasures to their mothers. In the time of Rachel and Leah children were more than a status symbol. Depending on what circle you are in today they can be a status symbol too. In the days of Rachel and Leah having children showed that you really were someone and that your husband loved you and perhaps they even saw it as a sign of the love of God, a sign they were right with God.
These ideas were of course wrong but we can see similar ideas today too. It is easy to fall into thinking if all is ‘going well’ we are right with God and if things are not going well God is upset with us. I can not say enough times that this type of thinking is NOT RIGHT. God gives us good things in spite of who we are and what we do. God uses difficult, hard, and horrible situations. He gives the good and redeems the crap.
These two women have a child bearing competition. The competition and the names of the children reveal something about each woman and their relationship with God. We can see ourselves in these women and their ever changing feelings and relationship with God. While their disposition and feeling changes with every child or every month that there is no child God remains the same.
Children became idols for Rachel and Leah. Children became the thing that told Rachel and Leah you are ‘okay’. Children became the thing Rachel and Leah put their hope in. Children became the thing that told Rachel and Leah that God loved them. Children became the ‘good works’ of Rachel and Leah.
I do the same thing as Rachel and Leah. It may not be having the child that it is the idol for me but many things related to my children become idols. Things like how my child behaves makes me say ‘everything is going to be okay’ or ‘everything is crumbling’. Things like I have 4 kids and kept the house picked up this week becomes a good work. Having 4 kids and keeping the hose picked up is great. It is great, however, it does not change my standing before God.
The conversations I have with myself in my head are similar to the names that Leah gives to her children.
Rachel and Leah give reasons like because I am hated God had given me a child. Or I have done what I needed to do so I now have a child. On the flip side of that at times Rachel may have though…what am I doing wrong or what I have I done that God will not give me a child. This line of thinking is not how God works. He does not give us things based on our merit. If us being good or doing good was why he did things nothing would be happening. He gives us good things because of the work that Jesus does. He gave Rachel and Leah these children so he could bring Jesus into the world. These children will end up being the 12 tribes of Israel. Leah’s son Judah will be a direct descendant of Jesus. In spite of Rachel and Leah he uses them to bring about their rescuer, Jesus.
Just like us these women believed they are in complete control of their lives. They did things to manipulate the situation. They did everything in their power to get what they believe will earn them the love of their husband and the love of God.
One already has the love of her husband.
One does not have the love of her husband.
Both have the love of their Savior.
Both will be used by God to bring about the 12 tribes of Israel, the people that God will bring Jesus, their Savior from.
Both are loved and included in the family of Christ in spite of their actions to bring children about.
There is no peace for these women, or for us, unless we rest and find peace in the work of Jesus. We will not find peace or rest in our toils, work, or manipulation of our little worlds. No accomplishment will give us peace or rest only the accomplishments of our SAVIOR JESUS.