Scripture: Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!” Genesis 30:22-24 ESV
Observation: As Jacob’s story continues, there’s much more drama awaiting. Laban agrees to grant Rachel’s hand in marriage for seven more years of labor. And Laban graciously gives each of his daughters a female servant who would later become Jacob’s concubines: Zilpah (Leah’s) and Bilhah (Rachel’s). So let the competition begin to win Jacob’s favor in the son production race!
While the author provides no timeline and only the order of arrival, we learn that the Lord first shows kindness to Leah (since Rachel was Jacob’s favored wife) and opens her womb to deliver three boys to Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. Envious of her sister’s fruitful womb, Rachel tells Jacob to impregnate her maidservant, Bilhah. Resultantly, Bilhah presents Jacob with Dan and Naphtali. Leah then ups the stakes and insists that Jacob take her maidservant, Zilpah, who gives Jacob two sons: Gad and Asher. And on one occasion, when Reuben harvests mandrakes for his mother, Leah bargains with Rachel to have Jacob for a night in the hope of conceiving another son. Nine months later, Issachar comes into the world. And one more time, she delivers a sixth son, Zebulun. But poor Rachel has to endure a long stretch of shame and disheartenment over her infertility until the Lord opens her womb and she conceives the soon-to-be favored child, Joseph (above verses).
Takeaway: As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” More notably, from our Christian worldview, Paul encourages us to patiently wait for what we hope but do not yet see (Romans 8:25). He adds that while we wait, the Holy Spirit interprets our sighs and groans and intercedes on our behalf to our Father (8:26-27). And thus, we can be confident that our Lord is working all things for our good (8:28). Indeed, as with Rachel and Paul, God’s blessings are timely. They come in the waiting and the eventual fulfillment of our heart’s desires. But if we grow weary and take matters into our own hands, we will short-change the extent of God’s blessings and often create more heartache.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for all the ways that you bless us—first and foremost in the gift of your Son. So would you please help us exercise patience in the timely fulfillment of your blessings that address the desires of our hearts? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling