This was a tough one. Chapter 30 of Genesis starts with a sister-wife spat between Leah and Rachel. They’re trying to “one up” each other in the area of childbirth. Servants are involved. It’s a mess. The conflict is rooted in lack of contentment and distrust of the Lord. When the Lord doesn’t give us what we desperately want when we want it, we try to solve the problem ourselves. We see this repeatedly in scripture. As humans, we are prone to “figure it out” and rely on ourselves. To pull ourselves up from our bootstraps, so to speak. Comparison causes jealousy. Someone else has something we think we deserve. And, in our earthly eyes, this is proof that God has favorites.
He doesn’t. I know he doesn’t because He says so. Reading His word and experiencing a relationship with Him has shown me that I don’t get everything I want when I want it. Praise God. He is a good father. He wants better for me than I want for myself. Am I willing to wait? More than that, I’m called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Am I able to rejoice with a sister that has received a gift I’ve been begging God for?
Absolutely. I’ve seen His faithfulness in the weirdest ways too many times. When you prosper, your joy takes nothing from me or from the Lord. We can rejoice together that He’s answered your prayer.
So often we take matters into our own hands. Waiting is uncomfortable. Waiting feels helpless. Waiting on the Lord relinquishes our control. It places all hope in Him alone.
That’s where it should have been all along. I wonder how much of my waiting is God trying to show me I’m not the boss – I’m not in control. He’s shown me He is faithful. I’ve learned He will never leave me. I am not alone in the waiting. I have not been put on a shelf for some future use. The waiting is full of purpose and growth. The waiting teaches me my position in relationship to my Lord and emphasizes the position of His throne in the universe and in my life.
In the middle of Genesis 30 and all the mess of wives and servants, Genesis 30:17 says “And God listened to Leah.” In the middle of the mess, He’s still listening. God doesn’t just hear us when we cry out. Prayer isn’t like a phone call that starts and stops. The Lord hears us at McDonald's when we are ordering. The Lord hears us at the doctor’s office in the waiting room. The Lord hears us like we hear our children. We know the sounds they make and what those sounds mean. We are hard-wired to respond to their cries. We can discern between an acute threat “cry” and one they’ll get over.
If we are attuned to our children’s cries, how much more is the Lord? You think He’s not listening? He hears your sighs. Bro, He hears your snores.
Back to Genesis 30, the Lord doesn’t show favoritism between Rachel and Leah. In verse 22, it says He remembered Rachel and she conceived. I love this concept of the Lord remembering. First, because He doesn’t forget, well, except our sin and I don’t know how that works. But when we see the words “the Lord remembered” in scripture, something happens. When the Lord remembered Noah, the waters receded. In Numbers 10, when the Lord remembers Moses, he is rescued from his enemies. The Lord remembers injustice as well. In Revelation, we see the Lord remembers the sins of Babylon – they are piled up, it says in Revelation 18:5. We can be sure the Lord, who is just and loving, remembers us and remembers those who harmed us. He can handle justice way better than I can. Forgiveness hands the responsibility for justice to the Lord. We can rest assured vengeance is His.
The second half of Genesis 30 is about how Jacob prospers despite his controlling father-in-law. They work out a deal where Jacob gets all the spotted goats and Laban gets the flawless ones. Then there’s this weird passage about putting wood in the water trough that caused more spotted goats. I don’t get it. This sounds very Narnia-esque. Is there any science behind this weird “tree bark” practice?
There is. From the article “Jacob’s Odd Breeding Program of Genesis 30” by Troy Lacey from Answers in Genesis, poplar tree trimmings have been shown to increase reproductive rates in ewes. Sweet almond was used to treat inflammation, relieve birth pains, and increase mother’s milk. This is another case where the Bible is light-years ahead of the scientific community.
Laban thought he was duping his son in law, but God had other plans. Jacob’s spotted flocks increased and eventually we see that Jacob can flee his father in law’s control with his prosperous flocks.
Are you in a situation you can’t see out of? Have you asked the Lord to provide a way through? I’m confident as I submit to the Lord, He is able to rescue me from any oppressive situation. “Now to him who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen!”