Welcome back to another week meditating on this unfolding story of two sisters – Rachel and Leah. We have entered the childbearing part of this story, and Naomi kicked us off last week over on her blog.
Drama, drama, drama. That is what comes to mind initially when pondering on this week’s verse. People always say that women are great at emotional blackmail, and clearly Rachel is trying her luck with it her – join me as I ponder some more over this week’s verse:
“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!” ” Genesis 30:1
A sister on the edge
So the past few years have clearly been very stressful and odd for these sisters. Falling in love, betrayal by family members, being newlywed, sibling rivalry kicking in. I wonder how long after getting married and waiting to get pregnant that this verse happens? It doesn’t really give us a time frame, but we know from last week that Leah has had children by now, and so the logical time for things to happen naturally (if they were going to) has passed. Maybe you’ve been there or know friends who have. The point when that question starts to form in your head – “what if there’s something wrong with me? What if I can’t have kids?”.
It’s a heart breaking question for any woman desperate to conceive. It’s something that others are scared to bring up and ask, or a really awkward question to be asked when you are the woman in question. The impact of having this question going round in your head is huge, and must have affected Rachel’s mental health. The fact that the verse says she is jealous means that she is dwelling on this. As a woman, being childless would have been one of the biggest things that defined her, outweighing her status as “beautiful”. Rachel would truly have been a sister on the edge.
how do we react when things don’t go our way?
Rachel has found herself in an awful situation. One that I hope no-one does. Unable to conceive and surrounded by her sister’s babies. So I guess we can give her some allowances!! But the way that she reacts is nothing short of drama-queen in my opinion! She marches up to her husband and basically DEMANDS children from him!! I can picture this scene and the voice of her saying “or I’ll die!” is just so over the top. Whether you see this as blackmail to try to get more time in bed with her husband and increase her chances, or as just down right over reaction, this is not the beautiful Rachel we were first told about.
Rachel may have been pretty on the outside, but under-pressure she is showing her true colours. Nothing is prettier than a spirit that relies on God and finds peace in that, but Rachel here seems to have no grasp of that and have flipped the other way. We can contrast her reaction to that of Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel. Hannah experienced the same anguish, watching a rival produce children and being mocked for it. But instead of this drama-queen attitude in which she expected it was her right to have children, she turned to the Lord and prayed (1 Samuel 1:10-11).
Life is tough. Things don’t always go our way. There are going to be times of disappointment and hardship. But if we can learn but one thing from Rachel this week it is that our reactions are vitally important to the way things turn out. We can control our reaction and who we rely upon. Rachel tried to rely upon her own persuasiveness and blackmail to get a child. Hannah relied upon the Lord. When things don’t go our way, let our first reaction be to pray and leave it with God, rather than to over-react and try to twist the situation for our own good.
Join us next week as we start to see the consequences of Rachel’s decision to react this way and take things into her own hands.
” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.” Genesis 30:4-6
Naomi will be leading our discussion over on the Facebook Group so come and take part!