“When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!’”Genesis 30:1 (NLT)
Sometimes my wife has watched the television program “Sister Wives.” I must admit that I’m intrigued by how all this works out. Don’t the wives ever get jealous of each other? In the story of Leah and Rachel, that is exactly what happened. It was a contest to see whose womb could be the most fruitful! Leah was the clear “winner”, which was God’s doing, since she was unloved by Jacob. These sister strivings were motivated by envy.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”James 3:16 (NIV)
Leah and Rachel’s envy of one another motivated them to scheme and strive to get what they wanted. But were they trusting God? Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Faith is living without scheming.” If we truly trust God, then we will relax and yield to His plan. We will “chill in His will”. Sadly, all this wrestling and wrangling made for an unhappy home and damaged the love between two sisters. Meanwhile, Jacob was bounced from wife, to wife, to concubine, to concubine. Funny, that we never hear Jacob complaining about being loved by four women! And yet through all these human maneuverings, God was building the twelve tribes of Israel. Amazing grace!
We have all been tempted to envy someone in our life who is above us or who has what we cannot have. Sometimes it feels like everything goes so easy for them while everything is such a struggle for us. But the truth is that we all have our share of comforts and crosses; we each have a mixture of blessings and burdens. God is sovereign in these things, and the more we can accept this and lean into God’s plan for us, the happier we will be.
“Heavenly Father, thank you that you are watching over our lives. Forgive us when we have been envious of others and failed to trust in you. Help us learn to be content and to rely on your grace in all of life’s circumstances. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”
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