The Hillbilly Soap Opera of Genesis Part 1

The Hillbilly Soap Opera of Genesis Part 1

Genesis 29:31, 30:22 – When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren…Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.

Earlier in chapter 29, we learned about Laban’s meddling in his daughters’ lives, leading to Jacob marrying the sisters Leah and Rachel. At this point in the story, Jacob is now an old man (perhaps in his 80’s) and the fact that he can keep up with what quickly becomes a lot of baby mama drama is perplexing. Leah is hated by her husband, who was tricked into marrying her, and Rachel is loved by her husband. The promise of many sons has not yet occurred until this chapter where we witness at least seven years of family drama and the birth of sons, and a daughter, born to four mothers who are often pregnant together.

This scene of Genesis shows God’s blessing to Jacob through children despite the sin in his family. Because Jacob loved his wife Rachel but did not love his other wife, Leah (literally hated her, we learn in the Hebrew) God chose to close the womb of Rachel and open the womb of Leah. In this we see the loved wife childless and barren like Sarah and Rebekah before her in the covenant family line.

In very tragic words, Leah articulates her heart’s desire that, through bearing Jacob a son, he would love her. God then gave Leah three more sons – Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Leah’s sister Rachel responded to the births with jealousy and anger, much like Esau had responded to the blessing of her his brother Jacob.

Rachel demanded that her husband give her children, or she would die, and these words later proved to be both prophetic and tragic in Genesis 35:16-19. And, in a demonstration of growing faith, Jacob rightly stated that her womb was ultimately controlled by God.

Rather than trusting God, as his father Isaac had in waiting 20 years for him to be born, or turning to God in prayer, the couple copied the sin of Sarah, who gave her husband Abraham to sleep with her maidservant Hagar. Much like Eve, Sarah, and Rebekah before her, Rachel took matters into her own hands rather than trusting God in faith and Jacob went along with the sin, ultimately conceiving Dan and Naphtali with Rachel’s maidservant. Rachel appears very godless in all of this as she is pushing her husband to have sex with another woman, and she attributes the children born to that woman as God enabling her to beat her sister Leah, whom she is very jealous of. Tomorrow, we will learn more about this crazy, messed up family with one man, two wives, and four baby mamas and how God remained faithful to them despite their sin and folly.

After seeing God’s sovereignty over the womb of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, what do we learn about motherhood? How does this help set the stage for God’s sovereignty over the womb of Mary also?

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Mark Driscoll
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