In Genesis 29 & 30 it tells a story of two women named Leah and Rachel. Leah was the 1st wife, who desperately wanted to be loved and accepted by Jacob, her husband. Her many attempts at acceptance with him unfortunately came to nothing; the methods she used were through her children. She continually reasoned with herself “I have borne him a son, now he will love me”, but with all her trying, it didn’t work. With great joy she bore son after son but only with the notion that with each baby, it brought her closer to him. Three son’s later, same motivation. But the fourth child was different. When he was born, she gave praise to God, his name was Judah. According to the meaning of their names, they brought her good fortune (Gad), pleasure (Asher), and reward (Issachar).
Leah’s babies, came from a womb of Rejection
Now Rachel was different. She was equivalent to Marsha on the Brady Bunch, she had it goin’ on. She was beautiful, young and was skilled as a shepherd. In Jacob’s eyes, there was no flaw in her. However, there was one thing she didn’t have at the time, and that was children. She saw Leah building a family and became jealous. When she finally did have children, they were born with competition in mind, they symbolized her success. They vindicated her (Dan), made her feel victorious (Naphtali), and took away her disgrace (Joseph).
Rachel’s babies, came from a womb of Envy
The story stood out to me as an example of the validation we receive by what we possess. After reading this, it made me evaluate some things in my own life. Though Leah and Rachel were different, they shared a commonality of broken motives and unholy desires. It led me to think, what have I let validate me? I thought about my ventures throughout life and my “why” behind it. A lot were real pursuits while others were resume builders. At times it was to glorify God, other times I found myself pleasing people. If we were to be honest, how many of us have made a modern day Jacob out of our parents, peers, spouse and even ourselves? Using our involvement, accomplishments and talents as a stamp of approval.
I've come to realize that if what I pursue or obtain is not coming from a basis of pure motives, it’s a "baby". If all of my drive at work is so I can be esteemed by my supervisor or if I go back to school so my family can be proud that I have my Masters, none of it amounts to anything. It’s not fulfilling because my heart is in the wrong place. Obtaining these goals aren’t a bad thing. Neither was Leah and Rachel building their families. What makes it flawed is that they used what they possessed to validate them. No wonder they were never satisfied. In the same sense, if what I do comes from a foundation that’s opposite of that, it will be like the 4th child and provoke praise back to God because He’s the true source. In Him I live, move and have my being; not a degree, not a man, and not an affiliation.
The Fruit of Our Wounds
Jealousy, striving and the need for approval were the fruits of a wound we couldn’t see. Unlike people, God can see way past that and get right to the root cause of it. Contrary to what it feels like, He doesn't point them out to embarrass us, but to restore. Whether we’re fine with it or not, He stands ready to redeem it.
After times of being both Leah and Rachel in life, I’ve come to know that the only One who can pull up a root is the Gardener Himself. It’s also my belief, that when we stop bearing babies for this world, we’ll make way to experience the truth that He fully satisfies.
Until next time,