Welcome to the Women in Scripture series. If you are new, I choose a woman in Scripture to review on the last week of each month. So far, I have started in Genesis with Eve and looked at the life of each woman that I come to next. I hope you continue to join each month.
We meet Rachel in Genesis 29-35. She was a beautiful shepherdess from a wealthy family, and she had one older sister. Jacob, who was later named Israel, fell in love with her and worked for her father for fourteen years in exchange for her hand in marriage. Rachel spent time in prayer and had faith in the Lord, but she also had a destructive habit of comparing herself to others.
Rachel and her sister Leah were both married to Jacob. It would have been difficult for Rachel to stand by while her sister had six sons and a daughter while she was unable to conceive a child. Many women can probably relate to Rachel’s grief as she watched people around her have children while she was unable to have her own. After watching her sister have four sons, we see Rachel respond in an envious outburst which caused her to argue with her husband. She told him, “Give me children, or I shall die!” In her desire for control, she put impossible pressure on her husband. She could not control the situation, so she blamed her husband. When Jacob argued with her and reminded her that he could not take the place of God, she looked for another way to control her situation by giving her servant Bilhah to Jacob as a wife to have children on her behalf.
When Bilhah had a child, Rachel named the child as her own and considered herself to have prevailed over her sister. She saw herself in competition with her sister, and she had been driven by envy of her sister’s children. Rachel later saw her sister’s servant Zilpah give birth to two sons while she was still unable to have a child of her own. All of the women around her were having children, but she was not.
Then, in Genesis 30:22, we see that Rachel is finally able to have a child. It says, “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” Rachel had been praying for a long time. Previously, she said that God heard her voice after Bilhah had her first child. During the time that Bilhah had another child and Zilpah have two more children, she had continued to pray, and God finally granted her prayer.
It is easy to grow weary of praying when we wait and see nothing change. However, God continues to hear us. He does not forget us even if it seems that everyone around us is experiencing what we ask for while we do not. It is easy to grow envious during those times and to blame other people for causing us to be where we are. We may try to take our lives into our own hands and force our own plan, but we see that in Rachel’s life, that led to further conflicts with her family. If we wait for God’s timing, we will see that He has greater plans for us than what we imagine for ourselves. We later see that it was Rachel’s son who rescued his family from famine.
We have now looked at the lives of Eve, Noah’s wife, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, and Rachel. Faith has played an important role in each of their stories, and several of them felt the need to try to control their circumstances. However, it never worked out for them when they sought control. God still used each of their lives to accomplish plans that were bigger than they could foresee.
Join me next month for a look at the life of Leah.