Family drama isn’t anything foreign for many of us. Parents, siblings, & in-laws oh my! Some level of drama is present in all of our families, and it is a common theme through scripture. Jacob’s family arguably had what we might consider dysfunction; by verse 24 he has 4 wives and 12 children. Rachel and Leah both, during a time when they could not have children, gave Jacob their servants as wives, similar to the story of Abraham and Sarah. Though it is incredibly strange to us today to think about a wife having a servant, and for her to give that servant as another wife to her own husband, it was actually a part of their ancient Near Eastern culture. Children born to the substitute, or second wife, were regarded as belonging to the main, or first, wife. In this way, the family line was reserved.
The lineage of Jacob will soon be incredibly important. His family will become the first nation that God promised to his grandfather, Abraham. Soon Jacob will receive a new name, Israel, and his 12 sons will become a mighty nation. It’s clear why the Bible spends so much time on Jacob’s children compared to other lineages. This is an integral part of the entire narrative of scripture. In fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, God is multiplying Abraham’s offspring. Though it seems like chaos and dysfunction to us, God is at work in the mess. Remember, just a few chapters prior, this is the same Jacob who stole the blessing of his father Isaac from his brother. God often uses unlikely heroes to advance His plans and to bring Him glory. God was at work in the mess of Rachel’s barrenness and Leah’s jealousy; He was using them for His plan.
Today, be encouraged that God is able to work through messy situations. God often uses circumstances which we never planned for in the most impactful ways. No matter what it is you are facing this week, God is sovereign over it and in control of it. He heard the prayers of Leah and Rachel, and He is listening for yours today.
By: Alex Boswell