Day 18

Rachel & Leah

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 29:1-35, Genesis 30:1-43

Nobody likes family drama. That term “drama” is actually a misnomer. “Family drama” is usually a light-hearted coverup for a whole lot of pain. Sometimes we call it family dysfunction, but that’s just a sterilized, clinical word for hurt and broken relationships. You might have a little of this in your family, or maybe you have a lot. Most of us have at least some. But few of us can match the drama of family from Genesis 29 and 30.

It’s the stuff tabloids thrive on, so bizarre and contentious it makes your head spin. First a man falls in love with a girl, but her father tricks him into marrying her older sister. He then marries both sisters but only loves the younger. For years the two sisters try to earn his affection by having his babies, even going so far as to name their sons with words that mean “I have wrestled with my sister and won.” When that doesn’t work, they give their slaves to the man as surrogate mothers and claim those sons too. At one point, one sister trades mandrakes, a special root, for an extra turn sleeping with the husband.

They are bonkers, completely batty, out of their heads—at least if you take it face value. But we can’t just look at face value because there’s much more to the story.

If you look at the names of the sons—those bartering chips for their father’s affection—you see Reuben, Asher, Judah, Benjamin, and others. Their father’s name is Jacob. They have another brother named Joseph. This is the first family of Israel—literally, the first, the ones from which a nation is born. Jacob becomes “Israel,” who is listed along with Abraham and Isaac as a patriarch of God’s people. Those sons bear the names that the twelve tribes of Israel will later carry.

All that drama and dysfunction did hurt. It hurt the people in that family and it had ripple effects for generations to come. It left scars and wounds.

Yet God still used those people, all of them. He used the deceptive ones and the spiteful ones and the victims. God has a way of redeeming awful messes and terrible decisions. He doesn’t make all the pain go away, but through it all good does happen and His purposes move ahead.

How hopeful is that?! You might see some of your family or your life in this story. You might be a deceiver or a manipulator or you might be a victim who suffered at another’s hands. But God can redeem the wrongs. He can bring about good.

Written by Barnabas Piper 

Post Comments (14)

14 thoughts on "Rachel & Leah"

  1. Matt Hert says:

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

    Rachael and Leah and Jacob and Laban are all doing these terrible things. Jacob remembers the God of Isaac. Rachael and Leah are feeling good about their decisions to have their husband knock up their servants. Laban is a trickster as well as Jacob. The whole situation is terrible but everyone justifies their actions continually. God redeemed these people (maybe not Laban) but not without hurt. Their sins led them to pain and without Gods intercessions they would have lead to death.

  2. Matt Hert says:

    Jesus comes from Judah and when we see later how Judah bares children through his widowed daughter in law we see how Jesus is redeemer through that.

  3. Matt Hert says:

    God is willing to be the redeemer of broken people. He looked upon this family with favor in spite of their behavior and then when he touches their lives in a very profound way a little later you see them change for the better but still make really brutal mistakes.

  4. Matt Hert says:

    When I sin I will not wallow in guilt, but I will grieve my sin as I continue to serve the Lord for the love of him and the glory of his name. I can’t fix my sin through service. I can trust Jesus to fix it for me. And I can serve out of an overflow of the spirit rather than a guilty conscience.

  5. Matt Hert says:

    Help me to not try to atone for my own sin

  6. Jeremy Hill says:

    Man is deceptive and sinful.

  7. Jeremy Hill says:

    God uses everyone in His plan including the sinners.

  8. Jeremy Hill says:

    The Gospel saves anyone.

  9. Jeremy Hill says:

    I will ask God to heal my family and use us in His plan.

  10. Nathan says:

    We have so many problems and pains in this world. The Lord cares for us and provides for us the that we can carry out his plan. Nothing is too big for God to handle.

  11. Nathan says:

    The gospel teaches God’s spoken word and it helps carry out the things of God.

  12. Nathan says:

    God doesn’t choose the rich and famous to carry out his plan. He chooses the people that he sees fit, even if they are just a servant. He can carry out his plan through anyone, not just some people. He knows what he’s doing.

  13. Nathan says:

    I will not doubt in the Lord when things are difficult and I don’t know where I’m going.

  14. Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *