God’s Way Vs. Man’s Way
“Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by giving her a child.” – Genesis 29:22 NLT
These two chapters are like watching a television soap opera. There is so much scheming, drama, deception, revenge, hatred, and gratuitous sex, it’s almost unbelievable. And the amazing thing is that you are seeing the twelve tribes of Israel come about right before your eyes. In chapter 29 you have the deceiver getting deceived. Jacob, the guy who had tricked his own brother out of his birthright, then deceived his father into giving the blessing intended for his brother to him, gets hoodwinked by his uncle Laban. He agrees to work seven years for his uncle in order to gain the hand of his daughter, Rachel. But after seven years of faithful service, on the night he is to consummate his marriage to Rachel, he is given her older sister Leah instead. The deceiver got deceived. A week later he is given Rachel as well, but he must work another seven years for his uncle.
Then the fun begins. Rachel is barren. But Leah is prolific. She bears him a number of sons. But Rachel bears him none. Jealousy ensues. And Rachel comes up with a plan much like her grand-mother-in-law did. She gives her handmaiden to Jacob so she might bear him children. And like his grandfather, he agrees. Rather than seek God’s help regarding his wife’s barrenness like his father Isaac had done for Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Jacob just gives in to Rachel’s wishes. And so Jacob has another set of sons through his wife’s handmaiden. Not to be outdone, Leah gives her handmaiden to Jacob and she bears him sons. Do you see the competition, jealousy, pride, and lack of leadership displayed in these two chapters. It is almost painful to watch. Rachel and Leah even bargain over their husband and their right to have sex with him (Genesis 30:15-16). Jacob is a pathetic figure in this story. He is a pawn in the hands of his wives and displays no spiritual leadership at all. And the entire story is another display of men and women attempting to do God’s will their own way. But they are all out for number one. Everyone is concerned for themselves. They could really care less for what God is interested in. But in verse 22 we see that in the midst of all this deception and intrigue, Rachel had been praying to God. She had yet to conceive. She had yet to give her husband a son. She had come up with her own plan, but it had not satisfied. She was still discontent. So she prayed. And God heard. And He answered. In spite of all the unfaithfulness, scheming, jealousy, revenge, and deception, God showed grace and intervened. He opened Rachel’s womb and she bore Jacob a son. And what an important son he would prove to be. This child would prove to be the savior of the descendants of Abraham. He would be God’s chosen one who would become the second-in-command to Pharaoh and who would one day provide Abraham’s descendants a safe haven in the land of Egypt. Little did Jacob, Rachel, and Leah know the significance of this one birth. But the same is true for us. In the midst of all our scheming and attempts to live life our way and on our own terms, God is at work behind the scenes. He is the God who sees. He is the God who knows what is best. He knew Rachel’s problem and He had a solution. He heard her prayers and He had an answer prepared. Oh, that we would learn to wait on God and call out to God in the midst of our problems. But like Jacob, Rachel, and Leah, we are always trying to solve things on our own. God is in control. He has a plan and His plan is perfect. He really doesn’t need our help. He wants to show us His power, but we are too busy trying to show Him our power. We are too busy working our plans to stop and ask Him what His might be. But when Rachel prayed, God heard. When Rachel called out, God responded. And He gave her a son. A son who would prove to be a literal god-send in the years ahead. God’s way is always the best way.
Father, Your way is always best. Your will is always right. You have a plan and You are working that plan out in perfection Forgive me when I try to help you out by implementing my own plan. I am just as guilty of scheming as Jacob, Rachel or Leah. Too often, my plans end up being in direct conflict with Yours. But I am thankful that Your plans are unstoppable. And that even when I have messed things up, you hear me cry out and You answer. You are faithful Father. And I am grateful. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men