When Rachel crested the hill she noticed a few other flocks near the well. She looked back at her sheep. “We’re right on time, guys. They haven’t rolled the stone, yet.”
A lone man approaching from the west caught her attention as unusual. “Who could that be?”
The fact the men were staring at her wasn’t unusual. The new man had a familiarity about him that excited her.
Before she could introduce herself the new guy rolled the well stone off without assistance. Her sheep took the hint and drank the water he filled into the trough.
When they had their fill he approached Rachel, hugged her tightly and kissed her cheeks. “I am Jacob.”
The heat in her cheeks increased as she searched his eyes for more.
He stepped back with his hands on her shoulders. “Your father has a sister named Rebekah.”
“I am Rebekah’s son. She is well.”
Rachel sprinted to tell her father. Her sheep followed her to town.
Seven years later Rachel waited in her tent as the day’s festivities came to a climax. The scene at the well played through her mind several times. Soon they would be one for life. As the minutes became hours she began to wonder what the delay was. She drifted off to sleep alone.
When morning came she opened her tent flap.
Jacob came from his tent in a rage. He found Laban. “What is the meaning of this deceit? I worked seven years for Rachel, not Leah.”
Laban smiled. “It is not our custom to marry the younger daughter off first. Fulfill Leah’s marriage week. Then you shall have Rachel for another seven years of labor.”
Tears blurred Rachel’s vision as she fell in her tent and sobbed.
Several years later Rachel’s anger lashed out at her husband. “You’ve given my sister four sons. When will you get me pregnant? Give me children or I’ll die.”
Jacob held her close. “It’s not up to me to decide these matters. I’m doing all I can for you. God is the one who makes that call, not me.”
Rachel shook free, then pulled her maid servant, Bilhah, into the tent. “It’s our custom that my maid can have children for me. See if your god can give me children through her.”
When Rachel finally conceived she had a son. “I’ll name him Joseph so God can give me another son.”
When Jacob ordered his family to pack to move away from Laban Rachel sneaked into her father’s tent and took the family idols.
When Laban came to the fleeing Jacob ordering the return of the idols Rachel packed them into a camel’s pack and sat on them. When her father came in search of them she insisted her period was too strong for her to move off the saddle. He left without finding his heirlooms.
Rachel’s second pregnancy came while Jacob led his family into the land God had promised to his fathers. Her contractions began as they neared the town of Ephrath.
After several hours of agony she felt the child slip from her body as her energy slipped away.
The midwife’s voice rose over the cry. “You have another son.”
Rachel summoned her last breath. “He shall be Ben-Oni.”
Rachel was the beautiful daughter who was cheated.
Jacob’s first love became his second wife by deceit of her father, Laban. She had no clue she was just a pawn so easily discarded in a chess match.
She felt cheated by the gods, and by Jacob’s God, when her sister gave him six sons and a daughter while both maidservants added four more sons as her tummy remained flat.
Greed led her to name her first-born Joseph: literally–“He will add.” She longed for God to give her another offspring so she could catch up to Leah.
That second son cost her her life in birth. She named him Ben-Oni–“son of sorrow” as she died. Jacob changed his name to Benjamin–“son of my right hand” as soon as he could.
The place of her burial would play a prominent role in prophecy as Jeremiah 31:15 became Matthew 2:18, also. In response to the murder of the boys in Bethlehem this passage is quoted: “Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
You see, even a death occurring during a time of travel plays a part in God’s sovereign plan.
Joseph would have been a boy when his mom died. Perhaps he was seven years old. Her features would fade from his mind as time progressed, as would her influence.
Why did God allow Joseph’s mom to die when he was so young? I think it was because she would have been a bad influence on him. That answer doesn’t hold true for all moms who die when their children are young, but it fits here.
I don’t think Rachel ever fully embraced Jacob’s God. That’s why she stole her dad’s gods before they moved away from home. She was still drawn to her belief of their power over her destiny. She turned the tables on her dad when she convinced him she couldn’t stand from her position on the package that held those idols he wanted.
Deception isn’t a good character trait for a strong leader.
Rachel was taking notes from the men in her life. She was passing her tests with flying colors. One way for God to keep that trait from being passed down is to end the line attempting to carry it forward. We’ll see another way next time.
[Tweet “Deception isn’t a good character trait for a strong leader.”]
What example are you living out before your children? Does our life glorify God as much as you humanly can, or are you clawing your way to the top by any means possible? Your children are watching you and taking notes.
It’s not too late to make changes in your lifestyle.
A positive change will have a dramatic impact on the next generation.
I’ll see you later. Wade