Gracious God, I wonder at the miracle of my body. It is amazing! What’s more amazing is that it’s the temple of Your Spirit.
Read Genesis 29:31-30:24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
When did you first begin to follow the Lord? What was happening in your life at the time?
A long time ago, a teacher colleague of mine told this story to an assembly of young teenagers as though he were giving the sports report: “Leah 1, Rachel 0; Leah 2, Rachel 0” (and so on). He glossed over things somewhat with the addition of Bilhah and Zilpah into the relationships, but his version of the story, in addition to appealing to the sports fans, captured the element of competition very well.
Emotions are more obvious in this reading, being directly mentioned and evident in the conversations, but there is little sense of the passing of time. Of course, a number of years went by while Jacob’s sons and daughter were born. There was a long time for Rachel’s jealousy to fester, for her to grow desperate and bargain with her sister. There’s a feeling of anything you can do, I can do better as they each give their maids to Jacob. Leah’s desire for Jacob’s respect and affection after giving him all those sons is most touching. Also, despite the fact that Bilhah’s sons would be considered as if they were Rachel’s own, she still has a sense of shame within her that is only dispelled by Joseph’s arrival. Jacob is in the middle of this emotionally-charged atmosphere, contributing to the mix by loving one sister more than the other, but unable to give her what she so desires, until “God remembered Rachel” (22).
Commentators indicate that the birth of Joseph is a turning point. Jacob’s life story revolves around the birth of his sons, Joseph specifically. This careful arrangement of the narrative is also seen in other Bible stories, such as that of the flood, and Zacchaeus. God’s intervention is always decisive in that it brings about a change in thinking or circumstance, and things are reversed.
Reflect on any occasions in your life where God intervened in a direct way. What led up to that? What followed? Give thanks for his loving hand on your life.
Mighty God, I praise You for timely interventions in my life, for turnaround circumstances that You accomplished. What a great God You are!
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.