Open Your Bible
Genesis 30:1-24, Genesis 35:16-20, Psalm 98:1-3, Hebrews 4:16
Laban really gave his daughters a raw deal. When he tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, he sentenced both of his girls to one truly heartbreaking marriage. Instead of enjoying sweet accord between husband and wife, both women are crowded into a bitter, vengeful squeeze of marital misery. One wife is just the right number of wives, but one man, two sisters, and their maidservants to boot is a cramped relationship for sure. Indeed, the normal strains of marriage are quite enough without having to engage in a fertility contest with your own sister. A fertility contest that Rachel was losing—the stats were 10 to 0 against Rachel before Joseph was finally born.
Once a month, my husband goes out for an evening with his friends to discuss literature. But by the time he gets home at 10pm I’ve had quite enough of sharing him with others. Marriage is a tight circle of two. Rachel and Leah were both denied the sweet intimacy that can only exist when two people are alone in a marriage. They likely both felt forgotten by both their husband and by God. And forgotten is a feeling that we can all identify with. People will absolutely forget us. Terrible marriages, absent parents, distracted friends, and even children can pass over us as they forge ahead in life.
But there is One who does not forget. God remembers His people. God remembered Rachel (Genesis 20:22). And in Scripture, when it says that God “remembers” someone, it means that He is going to intervene and help. When God remembers, He takes action (Genesis 9:15, 19:29, 30:22; Exodus 2:24, 32:13; Psalms 25:6–7, 74:2). Even though Rachel seems to only be asking Jacob for help, God remembers Rachel. He remembers, He listens, and He opens her womb (Genesis 30:1,22).
In the weirdest and most uncomfortable situations—in the deepest, saddest days—God remembers and listens. It goes without saying that His action may not be what we are asking for or what we think the situation requires, but in His sovereignty, He listens and remembers His people.
Rachel died in childbirth when Benjamin was born. She fought with Leah for her entire married life, and she never got to enjoy watching her own sons grow up. She didn’t get to grow old with the man she loved. It was Leah’s son, Judah, who was in the line of Christ. Rachel’s life probably did not turn out at all like she had hoped. But she was remembered by God.
Life isn’t about us and what we are doing. It is easy to forget that just because things have not gone as we hoped, that does not mean that we are forgotten or abandoned. Indeed, God builds His kingdom even amidst our dashed expectations.