Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rachel: Lost in Longing for Her Own Dream

Do you have a dream for your future? Do you lie in bed thinking of it? Planning for it? Scheming for it?

Rachel did. She had a dream that someday she would have sons, the ultimate accomplishment for a woman of her generation. Her dream was frustrated by God who blessed her sister Leah with four sons and yet she remained childless.

What do you do when you wait and wait and wait for your dream to come true? When your dream seems to be happening for everyone around you, but still you wait?

Family not a place for envy: it is a place to share the love.
Here are cousins Deanna and Debbie at the beach.
Rachel did the unthinkable. She asked her husband Jacob to have children for her with her maidservant, Bilhah. Oh, did I mention that hubby Jacob already had two wifes, Rachel and her sister Leah? Consumed with jealously and desperate to fulfill her goal, Rachel takes matters into her own hands by adding yet another wife to the mix. Bilhah then has two sons and Rachel feels vindicated.

Leah, who stopped having children at this point, retaliates and gives her maidservant Zilpah to Jacob and Zilpah has two more sons for Leah. Then Leah buys a night with Jacob with some mandrakes and she has another son. After that, Jacob must have given Leah some nights for free, for she conceived a sixth son.

Are you following all this?

As we discussed this story at our study group, we marveled at the dysfunctional of this family. We talked about how the sisters' jealousy must have affected the sons of Jacob. Leah and Rachel, sisters and both wives of one husband, were locked in a desperate battle for success and love. Rachel had the love of Jacob but longed for children. Leah, had many sons but dreamed of having Jacob's devotion. Both were willing to do whatever seemed expedient to get what they wanted.

However, it was God who was in control the entire time.

Then God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”

Although Leah and Rachel knew God was ultimately directing all these events, they did not trust Him. They were impatient and did not wait for Him. They schemed to get what they wanted in their own way, in their own time. They thought they knew better than God. In the end, Rachel dies giving birth to the second son she longed for.

God has His own bigger dream for Jacob's family. Renamed Israel during his encounter with God in Genesis 32:28, these 12 sons of Leah, Rachel and their maidservants became the 12 Tribes of Israel. God's goal was for this family to be His chosen people from whom He would send His Messiah. The dreams of Leah and Rachel were so small compared to how God wanted to use them.

How often I do this!  I think I know better than God, than my husband, my boss, my own mother. I don't listen. I go ahead with my own plans to fulfill my longings and in the end lose like Rachel did.

When we take matters into our own hands, we create chaos.

Beloved Jesus, my dreams seem so important to me, so right. How I long for them, work towards them, become engrossed in them. But You know all things, from the end to the beginning. You know if my dream will hurt others or even kill me. You are ultimately in control and no dream I desire can come to me except through Your hands. Help me come to You with my requests. Help me trust You and be patient as You work out all the details of my life.

Your dream is so much greater than mine.

Read the story of Rachel and Leah: Genesis 29:1-30:24 and Genesis 35:16-26 

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