Desperate Housewives

 

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

This is the story of deception, manipulation and rivalry. It is the story of two sisters in the bible who were envious of each other. Leah and Rachel were Jacob’s wives. The lesson that you and I can learn from this is that envy does not get us what we want, it only makes us miserable.

Jacob loved Rachel; she was pretty and Leah was not. Therefore Leah was not desirable to Jacob. He worked for 7 years to earn Rachel’s hand in marriage from her father, Laban. At the end of those 7 years, Laban prepared a feast. Then, at night, he took his daughter Leah, instead of Rachel, to the bridal chamber to wait for the unsuspecting groom. Jacob did not realize that the woman in the chamber was actually Leah. It was customary for a bride to be covered and fully veiled on her wedding night. She would only remove the veil in the morning as a sign that the marriage had been consummated.

Morning was probably the moment that Leah dreaded. She knew what her father had done. She also knew that Jacob did not love her. And when the groom realized that he had spent the night with a wrong woman, he immediately went to confront Laban who had deceived him. His new father in law responded by saying, “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfil her week, and we will give you this one also for the same service which you will serve with me still another 7 years.” Gen 29 v 26 – 27.

A week later, Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel. I feel sorry for Leah; she was caught up in the deception that was not of her own doing. Have you ever been caught up in someone else’s drama? Have you ever been caught in a web of lies and deception that was not of your doing? Like any other woman, all that Leah ever wanted was to be loved for who she was.

The bible says when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah, knowing that she was unwanted, went on a crusade to prove her worth the only way she knew how-by having babies. She burst out four boys in a blink of an eye, hoping this would make Jacob love her. Her efforts proved futile. We see the evidence of her hopes to win over her husband’s love when she named her first son Reuben saying, “Now my husband will love me.” When her second son Simeon was born, she said, “The Lord has seen that I am hated.” She named her third son Levi saying, “Now my husband will be attached to me.”

But even three sons did not cause her husband to love her.  Finally, Leah moved her focus from man to God. Naming her fourth son Judah, declaring, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Is it not interesting that we only run to God once our efforts to be accepted by man have failed?

The two sisters wanted what the other had. Leah so desperately wanted Jacob’s love; Rachel desperately wanted to have Jacob’s children. Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children she envied her sister and said to Jacob, “Give me children or else I die.”  And Jacob’s anger was arouse against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Gen 30 v 1 – 2.

Desperately, Rachel gave her maid to her husband so that she could bear children through her and two of Jacob’s sons, Dan and Naphtali, were born. Leah was not to be outdone; she took her own maid, doing what her sister had done. Leah was determined to remain the majority shareholder. Two more sons, Gad and Asher, were born to Leah in this way.

At that time Leah had stopped giving birth. It is unclear whether this was due to fertility issues or it was because Jacob was just not going in to her anymore. But one day Reuben, Leah’s son brought some mandrakes from the field. He gave them to his mother, (apparently mandrakes helps boost fertility). When Rachel saw the mandrakes she said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes?” Leah retorted, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband, now you want to take away my son’s mandrakes also?” This statement made me believe Jacob was now with Rachel full time. Rachel replied, “He will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”

Ok, I know in the sisterhood we are not supposed to feel sorry for “them”, but honestly my heart went out for Jacob-there was just too much drama. These two sisters made the women of Wisteria Lane in Fairview to look like saints (if you know what I am talking about). When he came home that evening, Leah was waiting for him, and she said, “Tonight, you are mine. I hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”

That night he slept with Leah. She conceived and bore him a son Issachar. Later, she also gave birth to Zebulun and then a daughter, Dinah. Then God, in His own time, remembered Rachel and gave her two sons, Joseph and then Benjamin.

Loved or unloved, pretty or not pretty, God had plans for both Leah and Rachel. Joseph (Rachel’s son) became great, God used him to save the whole nation. While out of the lineage of Judah (Leah’s son) was born the Messiah who would save the whole world, Jesus the lion of the tribe of Judah. If only they had known Jeremiah 29 v 11, they would not have had to live their lives so miserably.

Signed: #RestoredMe

Stormy Seasons

 

Dear #PrisonerOfHope

Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 tells us that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in one of life’s storms, no matter what you do, how you try, it seems that you cannot make any headway? Life seems good and then…..”Suddenly”…… out of nowhere comes a storm that threatens to drawn your hopes. Storms of life usually come on rather unexpectedly; they take us by surprise, and fill our hearts with fear and test our own faith.

Life can be tempestuous, tossing us with winds of misfortune, grief, shame, or stress. Although we embrace the good times, we also experience hardship, loss, suffering and things that are difficult to understand. It is easy to recognize God in good seasons, when everything is clear and there is sunshine, but in stormy seasons, it is very hard to recognize Him, even His disciples thought He was a ghost (Matthew 14 v 26)

I talk a lot to people who are going through storms or who have survived storms. The reason being I can relate to what they are going through or what they have survived. I find it hard though, to relate to people who know nothing about the storms of life. It is not like I am jealous of them or anything, but they just don’t minister to me. And surely, it is also not about misery loving company, but it is about what Jesus said to Simon Peter in the last part of verse 32 in Luke 22.

If we live long enough, we will soon realize that life does not spare its rod on any of us. Storms are an inevitable part of life. Some of the life storms that we find ourselves in were birthed through the womb of our own decisions or disobedience like Jonah. In the book of Jonah 1, we see Jonah facing the storm of his own creation.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of storms created by others. Apostle Paul in Acts 27, found himself in the storm he was dragged into by others. He was a prisoner who had tried to warm them, but they wouldn’t listen, so he was dragged into the storm. Sometimes we face storms that are not of our own doing.

In the book of Matthew 14 v 22 -24, we find the disciples of Jesus trapped in the grip of a fierce storm. The disciples were commanded by the Lord to cross the Sea of Galilee. They were in the will of the Lord and yet, they found themselves struggling against the storm.

What do we do when we find ourselves stuck in the storms of life? When the disciples of Jesus found themselves stuck in a life-threatening storm, they ran to Jesus (Mark 4 v 35 – 41), and Jesus rebuked the wind and say to the sea, “Peace be still.” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. When a storm hits, God can do one of two things: calm the storm, or calm you and me in the midst of storm. We find courage to stand strong when the waves crash in; when we know that He is in charge. When storms of life come, and they assuredly will, it is good to remember the words of Jesus; “Peace, be still!” Then claim His peace. His peace may not always come instantly, like it happened in Galilee, but when we allow Him to bear our burdens, peace comes in small reminders of His love and care, giving us hope and strength to get through the storm.

No one is exempt from the storms of life, but storms we face can bring us to a deeper knowledge of God. “Who is this, even the wind and the waves obey Him?” Mark 4 v 41. No storm is big enough to prevent God from accomplishing His will. God has promised us a future filled with hope, and storms of life cannot change that.

Signed: #RestoredMe