/ / / More Love: Less Comparing {Genesis 29-31}

More Love: Less Comparing {Genesis 29-31}

When the love of God grows in our hearts as women in the Lord, we will have less jealous, insecurity, and comparing in our communities. #Biblestudy #Genesis #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

Have you experienced a mean girl in your life?

Mean girls watch and compare.  They are discontent, jealous of anything good that comes your way, insecure and keep score.  Mean girls happen outside the church, inside the church, and even in the family.

What we need in this world is more love and less comparing.  Competition can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Maybe someone else’s Facebook status leads us to envious feelings or someone’s new decorating makes us insecure about our home.  Maybe it’s the success of a sister or the failure of our own dreams that leads to insecurity or perhaps it’s too much time spent on Pinterest that leads to discontentment.

 We must beware!  Competition leads to division and loneliness.

This week in Genesis we have two sisters that are about to engage in some serious mean girl jousting and even though one is said by scripture to be beautiful – this is ugly.

Last week, we read in Genesis where Jacob deceived his father into giving him his brother’s blessing.

In this week’s reading, we see what goes around comes around.  As Jacob is on the run from Esau who is furious with him, he meets a beautiful woman named Rachel and seeks her hand in marriage.

Now this story in scripture reads a lot like a soap opera.  Laban, Rachel’s father, conspires with his daughter Leah (the less attractive sister) to hand her over in marriage instead.

Just as Jacob used his father’s blindness to deceive him, Laban uses the cover of a veil to deceive Jacob.

So Jacob wakes the morning after his wedding and realizes he is married to the WRONG sister! And Laban replies:

“Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Genesis 29:27

So one week later – boom – Jacob has two wives! That’s one too many and this is about to get REALLY messy.

Genesis 29 tells us that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and when the Lord saw this – he opened Leah’s womb and she gave birth to four sons.

“When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children she envied her sister.” (Gen.30:1)

So the score was Leah – 4 and Rachel -0.  And jealousy was born.

Rachel tells Jacob “Give me children or I will die!” and Jacob responds in anger, “Am I in the place of God who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

Rachel in her discontentment gives Jacob her maidservant Bilhah as a wife.  (we’ve see this before right? With Sarah and her maidservant Hagar.  One would think she would know this was not going to be a good solution but history repeats itself here.)

Bilhah conceives and Rachel declares:

“God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” (Gen. 30:4)

Let me insert here the fallacy of Rachel’s conclusions. She has manipulated this situation and is now trying to give God the credit. Aren’t we tempted to do this sometimes as well? We force open doors with our own hands and then say “God did this!”

The score is now Leah 4 – Rachel 1

Since this worked for Rachel – she does it AGAIN and Bilhah conceives again! And Rachel says,

“With mighty wrestlings, I have wrestled with my sister and prevailed.” (Gen. 30:8)

Beautiful Rachel’s ugly heart is revealed – she is wrestling and competing with her sister!

The score is now Leah 4 – Rachel 2.

Now Leah concludes if Rachel can use a maidservant, then so can she!  Game on.  So she sends in HER maidservant Zilpah to Jacob and she conceives – twice!

The score is now Leah 6 – Rachel 2.

Now Leah’s son brings in mandrakes from the field. These mandrakes were thought to be an aphrodesiac and promote fertility so Rachel begs to have them. Rather than putting her hope in God – once again – Rachel is putting her hope in an outside source.  Leah agrees to give the mandrakes to Rachel under one condition – she gets to spend the night with Jacob.  And so off to Jacob’s tent she goes. Leah conceives… two more times!

Ironically, the blessing of fertility comes not to the one who ate the fruit but to the one who gave it away.

The score is now Leah 8 – Rachel 2.

And then it happens, Genesis 30:22 says:

“Then God remembered Rachel; and God listened to her and opened her womb.  She conceived and bore a son.”

Whew – finally!!!  Finally, God helps Rachel – but do we see where discontentment, score keeping, jealousy and insecurity has led these two sisters?  It has turned them into enemies.  It has ripped this family in two. Their years were consumed with comparing rather than love.

Let me insert a thought here.

Leah – the less attractive and first wife, bore Jacob the sons Levi and Judah.

Judah is the family line through which Jesus would be born. And Levi was the head of the priestly tribe.  Had Jacob accepted his first marriage with Leah and not chased after the woman who was so beautiful on the outside, God’s promises would have been fulfilled through Leah and her sons.  We see God’s great mercy and grace as he blesses Jacob unconditionally, despite his moral failures.

Now back to Rachel and Leah…

Jacob flees from Laban in Genesis 31 and Rachel – the beautiful one – steals her father’s idols. Awesome. Then her father comes looking for them in her tent and she sits on them and refuses to move using menstruation as an excuse. A lie. Double awesome.  While she begs God to hear her prayers, we see her unfaithfulness to Him.

But God – in his great mercy and grace…helps Rachel conceive again but this time there is less celebration. Genesis 35:16-20 says:

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.  19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.

Early on in Rachel’s life she cried to Jacob “Give me children or I will die!” and now, ironically – God grants her desires for a child and it leads to her death.

Rachel had beauty and love but she did not enjoy her life. She wasted it by always comparing herself to her sister.  She pushed away a relationship that could have been a blessing and in her dying, ended up alone.

Scripture says she was buried there along the side of the road as they journeyed. But both Jacob and Leah would be buried in the cave with Sarah and Abraham (Gen. 49:31-33).

In the end, Rachel is alone.

Love comes from the Lord. As we continue to read in God’s word, morning after morning, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, the joy of the Lord and his peace fills us with contentment.

Then we are able to love well – despite the temptations of jealousy.

Then we are able to love well – despite the temptations of insecurity.

Then we are able to love well – despite the temptations to compare.

**Chime In**

Is there someone in your life that you are comparing yourself with today? Is it hurting that relationship?  (I can answer that for you – yes!)

Will you accept that God’s will for your life – your skill set, your circumstances, your husband, children, and home are all in His hands?

Let’s remember that manipulating circumstances as Rachel did, rather than trusting in God, will only lead to more trouble in our lives.

Let’s Confess this struggle to the Lord and ask Him to heal us and make us whole – holy devoted to Him.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Genesis Reading Plan Week 5

32 Comments

  1. This is a hard one for me. My sister has always been the favored child with my parents–moreso my mother. When she got betrothed to her now EX-DH, he basically moved in to our home, I still lived there as I was finishing up college & had NO reason to move out. No serious boyfriend, sister was still in HIGH SCHOOL for pete sakes!! She graduated from high school the same year I graduated from college. The following year, she married him…7 months later, their first child was born. Since her husband had a minimum wage job, my parents let them live with them practically for free…..Once I got a full-time job in my profession, I paid rent and was paying MORE than they were & there were 3 of them and 1 of me!!!

    Fast-forward 8 years…..I’ve now moved out because I got married a year after my 1st niece was born. #2 came by 2 yrs after the first one and her DH (the man who was such a ‘good Christian”) decides he never loved my sister so my sister moves herself and now THREE children back in with my parents….they were only gone maybe 4 years…….it’s now 2014 and she and my 3 nieces STILL live with my parents., 8 years later.
    She does NOTHING to help out around my parent’s house…my parents are now 64 & 73 respectively. My sister has free room and board, free babysitting, free maid and laundry service and pretty much her own personal chef in the form of my Mom. This weekend, my sister went out and bought her daugher’s a micro mini PIG!!! yes, a PIG!!!! Something else for my mother to clean up after!

    So yes, I’m bitter….I’ve told my mother (and sister–because of my feelings regarding this matter, our relationship is VERY strained) how I feel. My mother has ALWAYS enabled my younger sister and continues to do so. Next year, my 16 year old niece gets to go on a trip to FRANCE with the French Club at her school. I’ve survived infidelity in my marriage, cancer…STILL dealing with marital woes and I can’t even get to Florida!!! I’ve prayed about things….nothing changes…I try to let.it.go but something else happens……I’m about ready to distance myself from my Parents and siblings forever.

    1. I’m so sorry for what you have and are experiencing Kelly. I hope you don’t mind a little advice 🙂 One thought that was going through my mind as I was reading your comment is this:

      We are not responsible for the actions of others. We are only responsible for our own actions.

      Kelly, let freedom come in knowing that you are not responsible for the actions of your sister or your parents. They make their own choices and are responsible to God for those choices.

      Your responsibility is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love others as yourself (Mt 22:34-40). Keeping that in the forefront of your thoughts may help you overcome in this struggle.

    2. Kelly,
      I agree with Liz and completely understand how you feel. I’m the oldest of 4 children and in my family it seems like the more drama and amoral issues you have in your life, the more money and attention you get from my parents. My younger siblings and their children receive SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more from attention from my parents than me, my husband and my children ever have. They thrive on the drama and woes. My husband and I are very happy together with our children and serving God whole heartedly. I think my siblings and parents envy that and that’s why we’re treated so poorly. A few years ago I cut contact with my sister and my parents. They were always making fun of my beliefs and said I had to much God in my life. It was so bad I stopped answering my phone when they called because that’s all they did, bash God and bash my beliefs. Then they started leaving nasty messages on my voicemail so I cancelled it. It’s been 3 years now and I am very much so at peace with my decision to cut contact. I still stay in touch with my brother. My younger brother is a very liberal christian and won’t talk to me any more because I’m too conservative. My parents have payed for vacations for my brother, sister and their kids while we were always left out. It really use to eat me up and every once in a while it still does. There are a couple of things I had to realize. Like Liz said, I’m not responsible for what they do and in the end I don’t have to answer for them, only me. The other thing I realized is that I need to be content with where I am and what I have. I have found that peace and contentment so the things of the past (and present) don’t really bother me any more. If the enemy whispers in my ear I say to myself,”The blood of Yeshua (Jesus) is enough to take care of the things that I cannot.” Kelly, please remember, it’s ok to set boundaries. If you don’t you’ll always feel overwhelmed with issues and people in this life. Pray about everything continuously and don’t make any decisions in the heat of any emotion. Right now you need to take the focus off of all that junk and put your focus back where it belongs…..in your home and with your husband with God encompassing it all. Your husband and home deserve your focus, prayers and energy, not the depressing junk of this world which will only bring you down. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Make a prayer list and pray over it daily. Walk around your house and anoint every opening of your home and pray as you walk through your house to do this. Claim every inch of it for God. Where you are weak He will be strong! I am praying for you dear sister!

    3. Good morning Kelly,
      I too have been in a similar situation. I have 3 sisters. I am the only one who has not lived at home with my parents as an adult with my husband and my children.
      Jealousy, envy, self righteousness, etc have been a thorn in our relationships for as long as I can remember. I could literally write a book. But let me sum up what I learned.
      After not speaking to my parents for a year, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She passed away 4 months after her diagnosis. Of course we all came together those last four months. I basically moved from one state to another to care for her and during the last month of her life, I was honored to be her main caregiver. Ironically, being the sister that always felt left out for so many years, I was the one that just happened to be with Mom when she received all of her bad news. When they first told her she had cancer and it was terminal. After they tried chemo, and then told her the chemo did not slow down the cancer and she had about 4 weeks left. When she decided to call Hospice in. She made me promise to keep her at home until she passed away, which we did. Those last four weeks were the worst of my life and yet they were the biggest blessing! Through this experience I learned the reason my Mom and Dad focused so much on my other three sisters, was not because they loved them more. But for different reasons. One sister they worried over her spiritually and because her family struggled so hard financially. One sister they worried over because she is so fragile emotionally and spiritually. One sister they worried over spiritually and because they always felt like they had to prove their love. My parents did not have to worry over my family they way they did my sisters’.
      It has been over a year since my mother passed away. My sisters still struggle hard with her passing. I do not have the same struggles. I was blessed to be able to recognize and make peace with my parent’s actions before Mom was gone. Just as God blesses others in many different ways, our parents often treat us in different ways. Instead of focusing on the fact your parents treat your siblings differently, focus on why they have the relationship they have with you. I learned my parents could just BE with me. They didn’t have to DO anything, like with my sisters. My parents knew I was strong emotionally, and spiritually. Focus on YOUR relationship with them. Then slowly you will be able to start working on individual relationships with your siblings. And if you find a relationship is not working out of love, distance yourself.
      And above all else, seek God’s love!

  2. I love this! I think this is so very true with close friends and sisters. There are times when I am jealous of my little sister…her carefree attitude, when I have a super Type-A personality…and the fact that she is so social and so many people always get sooo excited when she comes home to visit. But after a lot(!!) of thinking and pondering, we are two different personalities, and that is perfectly okay. We have different times in our lives to shine. We are super-close in age (14 months apart), so sometimes, the competitive part of our coexistence comes back into play. But I love her. I realize that she is an amazing person, and jealousy is ONLY a hindrance in our relationship. Great post!!

  3. I think some competition is unavoidable (close friends/sisters, ect.) Some, however, is avoidable…but we dive into it anyway with social media. Facebook (sometimes Fakebook) can especially cause someone to think their life/family/marriage/finances will never measure up to everyone else. The answer may be to delete those accounts if it’s become too much of a struggle.

    The scripture that has broken a lot of competition and jealousy emotions for me comes from my Living Bible Edition Rainbow Bible: Romans 14:4 ~ For God has accepted them to be his children. They are God’s servants, not yours. They are responsible to him, not to you. Let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. And God is able to make them do as they should.
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  4. Hey All,
    Loved this post as well as all of the others with Blogging Through The Bible. I think it is always good to check our hearts against why we are really envious of another person for instance Leah was envious because Jacob loved Rachel while she was unloved. Sometimes without realising we become envious of what other people have that we are lacking, that Mum whose children are polite – well she put effort into teaching them those skills, that prayer partner who always has the right thing to say – well they likely carve out time in their schedules to spend time with God. Where comparision can be extremley unhealthy we can use it to for good also by evaluating ourselves if I want to be a prayer warrior I need to spend time in prayer etc.
    I also loved that God doesn’t see us the way men see us, for Jacob, Rachel had all the beauty and he loved her for it, God saw that Leah was unloved and he blessed her, an ancestor of Jesus! http://wonderfullyrandomblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/blogging-through-bible-genesis-chapters.html

  5. This was a good reminder for me. I am a certified teacher that is working as a classroom aide this year, because I wasn’t hired yet as a teacher. I am struggling to be content, especially when those around me are doing the jobs that I want to be doing! Thanks for sharing. God is in control of my life and He has a good plan for me!

  6. Courtney, could you clarify what your point is about this statement:

    “Had Jacob accepted his first marriage with Leah and not chased after the woman who was so beautiful on the outside, God’s promises would have been fulfilled through Leah and her sons.”

    This is confusing to me because wasn’t Jesus’ lineage traced back to Judah – the son of Jacob and Leah – meaning the promises were fulfilled through Leah and her son?

    This is a great post, and you brought out some thoughts that hadn’t occurred to me. One thing I noticed is that the principle of “we reap what we sow” is very applicable in this book! Jacob sowed discord and competition with his brother Esau, and we see here that he reaped the same with the discord in his marriages (because of multiple wives he was caught in the middle of their competition to be most loved), and because his choice to marry more than one woman bred discord and competition between his wives. Jacob also sowed deceit in the scheme to get his father’s blessing that was traditionally reserved for the oldest son (Esau), and he reaped deceit in Laban’s dealings with him over his impending marriage to Rachael.

    I think we see clearly in Genesis some great examples of why plural marriage is not a good idea. Contrary to what some may argue, the Old Testament is very relevant in our current culture.

      1. I think we are all on the same page – my post says above:

        “Leah – the less attractive and first wife, bore Jacob the sons Levi and Judah. Judah is the family line through which Jesus would be born. And Levi was the head of the priestly tribe. ”

        😉

  7. I loved this post. I totally thought of Mean Girls (although I have never seen it, I know the concept behind the movie) as I have been reading these chapters. Good thoughts to dwell on. I too have thought about how Christ came from Leah’s lineage and not Rachael’s. Interesting thoughts.

  8. A couple things when it comes to marriage back in biblical days. It was typically the oldest sister who married first and Leah was the oldest. Laban may have deceived Jacob however it was an insult for Jacob to ask for Rachel instead of Leah. Laban was making sure things were done correctly. Also Jacob had too much to drink. Had he not he may have noticed that he was getting Leah not Rachel. There seems to be a lot of deceiving going on however it seems in all this deception it’s to bring about the greater good of God’s plan. He can work through anyone. The blessing would’ve come to Jacob any way “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Genesis 29:27. Jacob didn’t obtain 2 wives in one week. He had to “complete the week of this one….” This means Jacob had to complete the marriage week with Leah. In biblical times (and among many jewish communities today) there is a marriage week that lasts for 7 days. Seven represents God’s completeness. During the marriage week the newly weds are to be with one another constantly. There is no work outside the home. During this week they’re also encouraged to go and visit (or stay over night) with friends and family to celebrate their marriage covenant. Jacob had to work another 7 years before he married Rachel. He worked a total of 14 years for his wives. The number 14 represents salvation. As far as Rachel’s death in child birth, it’s thought that her death was related to her stealing the idols from her father’s house. It was a curse to do so and she knew it. Her heart wasn’t right towards God and her actions proved it.

    1. Hi Jamileh –

      Here is what scripture says about when Rachel and Jacob were married. Verse 28 is why I concluded it was in the same week:

      Genesis 29:27-30 “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.”

      Love,
      Courtney

      1. I can see that in the english translation of the scriptures however the word “Then” in verse 29 in the hebrew context refers to a very long period of time. Only when we read in the hebrew context does more meaning come to life.:)) Hugs!

        1. We will agree to disagree on this as I do not see this in the Hebrew text. I just double checked my commentaries based on the Hebrew and they have interpreted this passage the same as I have. But that’s okay. We don’t have to agree on everything 😉

          Grace.Love.Peace.
          Courtney

          1. I didn’t get my interpretation from commentaries. I read straight from the hebrew language bible and then compare it to what the english bible says. Commentaries are just the opinions of men. The hebrew text is straight language and cultural context. You can never go wrong with reading straight from the hebrew. The hebrew language is more rich, deep, descriptive and beautiful than the english language. That’s why translating hebrew into english, which is considered to be harsh and crude, can lack meaning, context, culture and flavor. For instance, you can’t curse in hebrew and there are no hebrew words for the private parts of the human body. The hebrew is known as the purest language on earth. Learning the biblical language of the bible goes a long way in understanding the culture, times and customs of the people of the scriptures.
            Also, something that is looked at is the character of a person. Even though people get upset about Laban ‘deceiving’ Jacob that isn’t really the case. Jacob tried to usurp the biblical laws and customs of marriage. The oldest daughter (verse 26) is married off first. Jacob allowed his lust to get the best of him so Laban taught him a valuable lesson.
            It’s so great that we can all come here together in unity to learn and grow (iron sharpens iron) together. As you said we don’t have to agree on everything. We agree to disagree in love and unity.
            Hugs and Blessings :))

          2. Courtney,
            I would also like to say that I THOROUGHLY enjoy your blog. Your positive attitude and cheeriness is ALWAYS an inspiration to me! Whenever I’m feeling down or unsure I watch one of your videos and it encourages me and picks me right up. It shouldn’t go unsaid…..thank you for what you do!

  9. I forgot to explain how the number 14, which represents salvation, applies to this story. Jacob worked a total of 14 years for both wives. Although Jacob received Leah first and Yeshua’s (Jesus’) line comes through her, God wanted a complete picture of things to come in both Rachel and Leah. Without both women God’s picture isn’t complete as the tribes of jacob will inhabit the whole earth. When you add the numeric value of King David’s name, it equals 14 as well. Salvation continued through to the Messiah.

  10. I praise God for using you as His vessel to speak to me that I maybe able to love like Christ despite all.

  11. Dear Kelly,

    Some things in life are meant to strengthen us. As for me, I am on a side where my two siblings feel my mum loves me more. Well I was born to her at 44, and my dad was 61 and my next sibling is 11 older than me. I have prayed that God will grant me the serenity to love my sisters despite their treatment on me at times.
    I at times think that parents do not understand how this unbalanced treatment affects us as children and my prayer is that I will learn from this to treat my kids equally. I wish to encourage you to discuss the matter with your parents, in a calm and respectful manner. You can also consider counselling from godly person. This is surely eating you away, not your sister or even your parents. Do not drift from them, love them.

    God keep you.

  12. I have a friend that I was very close to who would constantly make negative remarks about anything I would have. When I upgraded to an iPhone 3 (as my old phone broke) I was told they weren’t worth the hype, a few months later she had a iPhone 4 cause it was better. The same when I got an iPad, etc, etc. This same woman would also constantly criticise anyone she felt “copied” her. I began to realise it came from her own insecurity and the fact she drew her self esteem from material things. The last straw was when I bought myself a new watch and she told me it was “ugly” and she didn’t know why I bought it. I realised I needed to distance myself from her as I don’t want to be dragged down and have a bad attitude because of her comments. I’ve unfollowed her on Facebook so I don’t see the constant bragging/belittling and I pray her heart changes but that’s all I can do.

  13. Hi Courtney, I absolutely love going through genesis with you. You have such insight. I hope you don’t mind but I’m speaking at a ladies’ meeting tomorrow night and this is exactly what I want to speak on and I’d like to use some of your thoughts as well as my own. If I hadn’t been reading through Genesis one verse at a time like this, I would never have gleaned so much from the lives of these two women. I have learned so so much. We need, as women, to be very careful that we seek only the will of God for our lives and be content because as we know from Paul’s teaching to Timothy “godliness WITH CONTENTMENT is GREAT gain”. God bless you xx

  14. I love your posts and how you really go into more depth about the scripture. I have read this I don’t know how many times but I really for the first time see how you talk about Rachel and comparison.. jealousy.. not trusting God.. and in the end she was alone. I am really enjoying reading through the Bible with you… and for the first time I know I really will get through it! Thanks for you all you do!

  15. Sherry,
    The scriptures don’t specifically say that Laban and Leah conspired together however once Laban made up his mind about the situation, I’m sure there was a conversation that took place between Leah and Laban. Laban was determined to make sure things were done properly in regards to the marriage order of his daughters. He wasn’t going to let Leah fly blind in this situation. They probably didn’t conspire however I’m sure Laban talked with Leah about upholding the righteousness of the situation.

  16. My younger half-sister got married & about a year later conceived & had a son. I hit 40 & still no child. About a year & a half later God gave us the child of our dreams, through adoption. Wouldn’t trade him for anything. I always felt Rachel griped, whined, & complained a lot. Not a good example for women/girls. My mother always said “Beauty is as beauty does”. It’s not what’s on the outside but on the inside.

  17. Quick question-You said Jesus came from the line of Judah. But then later on as I read another one of your devotions, you said Jesus comes from the line of Joseph (coat of many colors). So I am just confused…Did Jesus come from the line of Jacob & Leah or Jacob & Rachel?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      Jesus is from the line of Judah which was Leah’s son. I don’t recall saying he was from Joseph – do you have the link to the post where you saw this? If I did, I will correct it.

      Thank you and Much Love,
      Courtney 🙂

  18. Hi, I so enjoyed reading this as well as the comments. Could you explain a little more about the customs regarding marriage and the oldest daughter? Was Jacob really at fault in regards to asking for Rachel? Could Laban have married Leah to another man?

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