Day 11

Rachel



Genesis 29:31, Genesis 30:1-24, Genesis 35:16-20, Psalm 98:1-3

BY Raechel Myers

If Leah was the “unloved wife,” Rachel was the “beloved wife.” Scripture says Rachel was “beautiful of form and face,” dramatically describing how Jacob loved her from the moment he laid eyes on her (Genesis 29:9-18).

But while Leah was the fertile wife, Rachel was barren. Unloved or childless, favored or fertile, Jacob’s sister-wives both walked through decades of hurt and resentment, comparison and competition.

There are a number of truly fascinating things going on in Genesis 30. For example, when Rachel requests that her servant give birth “on my behalf,” the Hebrew is literally “on my knees.” In the ancient Near Eastern culture, concubines actually delivered babies onto the knees of the wives to symbolize the wife’s adoption of the child!

Just as interesting is the scene in which Reuben, Leah’s firstborn, brings mandrakes in from the field to his mother. Mandrakes were also known as “love apples” and were believed to promote conception (Song of Solomon 7:13). Rachel, desperate to conceive even 1 child to Leah’s 4 (and their concubines’ additional combined 4), actually offers Jacob to Leah for the night in exchange for a few love apples. Talk about crazy household rules!

But God gives Leah another child, not Rachel. Three more, actually—two sons and a daughter.

The mandrakes didn’t have the power to give Rachel what she wanted. Rachel felt forgotten. Worthless.

We read this story and we want to hug Rachel and tell her, Don’t you see—Jacob loves you! God loves you! You aren’t defined by the offspring you can or can’t produce!

And she’d say sadly back to us, But in my world, children equal worth.

And she’d be right. Because the world had all kinds of ideas about what made people worthy back then. And though some of the definitions have changed, things aren’t much different now, are they?

Verse 22 in chapter 30 has always puzzled me: “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” I mean, this was fantastic news. She finally got what she wanted, so who cares why? But I’ve always cared why.

If “God remembered Rachel” in verse 22, had He forgotten her sometime before then?

If God had never opened her womb, would we believe He forgot her entirely?

But if we look around in Genesis a bit, we discover this isn’t the first time “God remembered” one of His children. In Genesis 8:1, God remembers Noah and His creation and saves them. Genesis 19:29 says, “God remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived.” When God remembers someone, it’s always followed by a beneficial act.

Now, let’s try the opposite exercise. Where in Scripture do we read that God has forgotten someone? When I search, I come up short. Instead, I find verses like this:

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
– Isaiah 43:1

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
– Psalm 139:1-3

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
– Psalm 98:3

Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.
– Isaiah 49:16

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
– Matthew 28:20

Had God ever forsaken Rachel? No. “Remembering” in this context is an action of blessing or provision, not finally getting around to noticing she exists. God had treasured Rachel all along. Her worth in God’s eyes never came from her ability to give Jacob children, nor did it come from her beauty. Rachel’s worth may have fluctuated in the eyes of her world, but her true worth never budged. And neither does ours.

Rachel was not forgotten. And neither has God forgotten you.

Do you believe that? That you aren’t forgotten? If not, read back through those verses again. Read them until you believe them.

In this story of two sisters, each feeling forgotten in her own way, we see the God who remembers. He remembers His covenant promise to His people, graciously building up the nation Israel in its homeland. He did not forget Leah in her rejection or Rachel in her desperation. And today, dear child of God, He has not forgotten you.

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Post Comments (223)

223 thoughts on "Rachel"

  1. Kristi says:

    I love when I read a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten me. While the story of Leah and Rachel is extremely different from my own (especially motherhood as I am not mother) – it reminds me that God knows me and knows where I am in this crazy thing called life. When I feel alone, I’m not. When I feel sad or scared, He’s with me.

  2. FC says:

    It took 5.5 years for us to have a baby. We were told that medically our chances were pretty much as good as nothing. At the start of us trying to get pregnant I had a clear promise from God that He would give us a child. We lost 2 babies along the way to having our beautiful daughter.
    I learnt from the journey that, as someone has already said, when you want something that much you miss all the blessings you have. I also learnt that God needs to put us through the refiners fire at times to point us back to Him.
    He loves us regardless of our marital status or having children. He knows our needs & desires. He will not forget us – even if t seems like He has along the way. You are His beloved child & He can & will do more than you can ask & imagine – even if it is not how you envisaged life turning out.

  3. Christine says:

    This devotional really resonates with me today. My husband and I have been trying for a baby for about 8 or 9 months now with no luck. I’ve been really depressed lately because I wonder if there is something wrong that is preventing us from getting pregnant or if God is asking us to wait. I have anxiety and struggle with depression sometimes, so waiting for a baby like this is very hard for me. I keep thinking that my worth is in having children and I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t conceive my own. I’ve been trying to pray about it but can’t keep the feelings of sadness and worthlessness away. How do you combat that? Any books or verses?

  4. Beatriz says:

    The following text may suggest that God forgot Israel,
    “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
    In a surge of angerI hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Isa 54:7-8.
    And it certainly may be the way we feel when we are suffering: alone, abandoned, forgotten. But just by the nature of God, all knowing, all powerful, ever present, He cannot forget. But I believe He uses language we can understand to let us know that the time of crying is passing, and now the time of peace, or rejoicing, or dancing is coming. And He definitely uses the hard times to mold us, if we take the opportunity since the hardships are a given in this world, even (or especially) for believers. There is a time for everything, but always with God.

  5. Andrea Z. says:

    I think this is a good reminder that God can use anything for good. This wasn’t an easy living situation and it was that way from the beginning, but God still used the son of Rebecca to be the lineage of Jesus. And even though both sisters had a hard time, in they end they were both given their heart’s desires.

  6. Rebecca says:

    As I was reading the devotional and I came to the part that talked about how many years of comparison and heartache and hurt Rachel and Leah had to go through I found myself thinking, “This wouldn’t have happened if Laban had just given Rachel like he promised! They wouldn’t have had to go through this!” But then I realized that if he didn’t, then Jospeh might not have been the favorite son, his brothers might not have sold him to Egypt, he wouldn’t have been able to save them from the famine, the Hebrews wouldn’t have been enslaved by the Egyptians, Moses wouldn’t have needed to deliver them to the promised land… God in His wisdom was weaving together a story that would ultimately bring Him glory time and time again for hundreds of years!

    1. Thanks Rebecca for pointing that out! I was thinking the exact same thing as well as how terrible it would be to feel that jealousy and hatred towards a sister. Their lives sound awful and my heart aches for them, and it was hard for me to understand why this happened. I wasn’t taking a step back to look at the big picture, and you helped me do that, so thank you! Just one more reminder to trust in God and know that he has a plan for all of us!

  7. Jamie Becker says:

    I’d like to testify to how God has remembered me. We were infertile and he gave me my precious Cara. Then although He lifted my infertility issues completely and although we were totally fertile, He clearly led us to adopt Katie from China, who is deaf, autistic, and unbelievably adorable. She’s also precious to us. In July, we were not expecting conception at all, we were actually trying to prevent it, and I suffered a miscarriage. God used that difficulty to put in my mind the thought that maybe He wasn’t done with our family. We are opening our hearts and home AGAIN to adoption, this time through the foster system. I’m a huge advocate for orphans. Please, if any of you are suffering through infertility, that doesn’t mean you cannot be a mama. 150 million orphans in the world. I can walk you through it, gladly. My blog is heartsset dot blogspot dot com if you want to see more of our story. Many blessings to you all, sisters! :)

  8. Yaa Asamoah says:

    Good day K, never lose hope God has, will and always remember you. Stay strong and hope in the LORD. For he knows his timing is best. Through you test remember there is always a testimony to give. May the peace of God comfort you and your household and bring you peace to remember in the embrace and love of God. X

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