Emptiness can breed Envy

The account in the 3oth chapter of the book of Genesis begins with a sad state of affairs within a family – the family of Jacob. Rachel the second wife of Jacob who was relatively loved more by Jacob was barren, while Leah, Rachel’s sister and first wife of Jacob, had borne him four sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah) for the Lord had opened her womb. And when Rachel saw that she was empty, instead of seeking God for his blessings and praising God for her sister’s fruitfulness, she envied her own sister (Genesis 30:1).

Points to ponder:
Sometimes when life situations make us feel barren and empty, we can easily react as Rachel did.  Instead of seeking God for his blessings we can end up becoming envious of those whom the Lord God blesses bountifully, including our loved ones. What this demonstrates is not God’s character for he is just, but our own selfish character. It shows that we do not trust God of his sovereignty and that we do not rely on God for his provisions. It demonstrates that we do not love, for love does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Emptiness can breed envy. In other words, it can breed hate. The question that remains then is – will you let it to?
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love does envy.

Genesis 30:01 (KJV)
01 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

The Sons of Jacob :: Judah (and Jesus Christ)

Judah was fourthborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Judah  means “Praise”. He was so named by his mother who expressed that with his birth, she would now praise the Lord.

Points to ponder:
Leah yearned to be loved by her husband as is evident in the naming of her previous sons. Now with the birth of her fourth son, she recognized that it was not here husband but the Lord God whom she should be grateful for.

Who are you trying to please? Who are you seeking the praises from? Who are you praising? Praise the Lord God and no one else. Seek not the praises of men, but seek the Lord God and praise him for he is praiseworthy.

Genesis 29:35 (KJV)
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

The Sons of Jacob :: Levi (and Jesus Christ)

Levi was the thirdborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Levi means “The Lord has joined or attached”. He was so named by his mother who felt that her husband Jacob shall now be joined to her as she had borne him three sons. From Levi comes one of the tribes of the Israelites – the Levites, who served as God’s priests.

Points to ponder:
Leah yearned to be joined/attached with her husband just as the Church (the people of God who believe in Jesus) should yearn to be joined/attached with her bridegroom, Jesus. God sent his Son Jesus so that man could be joined (reconciled back) with God. God reached out to have man join back with him. Are you joined with / attached to the Lord? If you are, are you his priest, working to reconcile (join) others with God?

Genesis 29:34 (KJV)
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.

The Sons of Jacob :: Simeon (and Jesus Christ)

Simeon was the secondborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Simeon means “The Lord hears”. He was so named by his mother who felt that the Lord had heard that she was not loved (hated) by her husband.

Points to ponder:
God hears the cries of man, and his ears are attentive to the cries of the righteous (Psalm 34:15). God heard the groaning of all of his creation (Romans 8:22) brought about by the sin of man and sent his Son Jesus. When God identified Jesus to be his son, he not only expressed his pleasure in his son by stating that God was well-pleased in Christ Jesus but God also commanded that we all listen to Him. (Matthew 17:5). God heard us and expects us to hear him. Do you hear God?

Genesis 29:33 (KJV)
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

The Sons of Jacob :: Reuben (and Jesus Christ)

Reuben was the firstborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Reuben means “See a son”. He was so named by his mother who felt that surely the Lord had looked upon her affliction of being unloved (hated) by her husband.

Points to ponder:
God looked upon the affliction on all of mankind brought about by man’s disobedience (sin) and sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord sees i.e., his eyes are in every place beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17), but the question is, do you see the Son of God in Jesus? (Matthew 17:5). O taste and see that the Lord God is a good God (Psalm 34:8), who sees the affliction of man.

Genesis 29:32 (KJV)
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

Impartial Just Love

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban but the Bible records that his love for his wives was partial. He loved Rachel more than Leah, (Genesis 29:30) but what is interesting is that his lessened love for Leah was not regarded as lesser love but as hatred for Leah (Genesis 29:31). God intervenes and justly makes Leah fruitful.

Points to ponder:
Man’s love toward another person may be partial, but God’s love toward all is not only impartial but also just. Furthermore, loving one lesser than another is akin to hating the one loved less.

Let our love toward others be impartial and just. More importantly let us not love God less than anyone or anything else for doing so would be akin to hating him. The greatest commandments are to Love God with all our heart, soul, mind (Matthew 22:37) and might (Deuteronomy 6:5) and then to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), with love like that of God – impartial just love. How is our love of others and our love for God?

Genesis 29:30-31 (KJV)
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

Deceiver deceived

Genesis 29:21-30 records the narrative of two marriages in two weeks – the marriages of Jacob to Laban’s daughters, first to Leah the firstborn and then to Rachel the secondborn. Jacob had agreed to work for Laban for a period of seven years to wed Rachel, but after the seven years of labor was over, Jacob was deceived by Laban. Laban gave to Jacob, Leah instead of Rachel as it was allegedly customary to have the firstborn wed before the secondborn. Laban then agreed to allow Jacob marry Rachel after one week of being wedded to Leah, provided he gave Laban another seven years of service.

Jacob felt that he was beguiled and questioned Laban of the deception (Genesis 29:25), failing to realize that just as he was deceived by having had one sister switched for another, he himself had switched places with his brother, Esau, deceiving his father and robbing Esau of his firstborn blessings. In retrospect, one would find that the deceiver himself was deceived by his relatives.

Points to ponder:
This account is very well illustrative of the scripture “You sow what you reap; for God cannot be mocked – let us not be deceived” (Galatians 6:7). Jacob deceived Esau his brother and was deceived. He sowed deception and reaped deception. Additionally, deception by whom we call our own and love (our relatives) while hurtful is relatively lesser when compared to the deception one suffers when they deceive themselves (our own self). When we who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are adopted into God’s family (John 1:12). When we do not do what Jesus (our brother in God’s family) wants us to do but merely hear him, we are deceived for we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). Let us be doers of God’s word and not mere listeners. Let us not be deceived deceivers.

Genesis 29:21-30 (KJV)
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.