If

OPENING PRAYER

Loving God, I thank You that Your love is from everlasting to everlasting.

 

Read: GENESIS 29:31—30:24

[31] When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. [32]Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” [33] She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. [34]Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. [35] She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. [1]When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” [2] Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” [3] Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.” [4] So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, [5] and she became pregnant and bore him a son. [6] Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan. [7] Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. [8] Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali. [9] When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. [10] Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. [11] Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad. [12] Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. [13] Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher. [14] During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” [15] But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” [16] So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. [17] God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. [18] Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. [19] Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. [20] Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. [21] Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. [22] Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. [23] She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” [24] She named him Joseph, and said, “May the LORD add to me another son.” 

 

Reflect: THINK ABOUT THIS STATEMENT: “OUR IMAGE OF GOD IMPACTS EVERYTHING.” WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF GOD?

 Having heirs was a big deal in the ancient world. It made sure that you would be looked after inold age and that your family dynasty would continue. Leah quickly has four children, whileRachel is unable to get pregnant. There is jealousy and desperation in these verses.A child-bearing competition ensues, involving their maidservants. Eventually Rachel gives birth,but the sisters’ jealousy will spill over into the next generation as their children will carry thesame sense of resentment.Reflecting on this passage, the thought that jumps out to me is the word “if.” Leah believes thatJacob will love her if she produces heirs. And Rachel fears that she will lose Jacob’s love if shefails to have children.Much of what we do in our lives (sometimes even our relationships) is governed by the word“if.” And we can come to God with this same attitude: “I am loved by God if I attend churchregularly or if I strive a little harder.” But, unlike many things that are conditional in this world,God’s love is unconditional.

 

APPLY

How might the word “if” be impacting your view of God?

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, no matter what situation I find myself in today, let my response be like Leah’s: “This time I will praise the Lord.”

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider