“And Leah conceived and bare a son and she called his name ‘Reuben’—for she said, ‘Surely the Lord has looked upon my affliction; now, therefore, my husband will love me.’  And, she conceived again and bare a son and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I was hated, He has, therefore, given me this son also’—and she called his name, ‘Simeon’.”

Genesis 29:32-33

     When we view them as God’s “testing grounds” and what He uses to transform us into Christ’s likeness, we’ll be moving closer to having a heart like His.


     How do you view them?  Good?  Bad?  A “necessary evil”?  Are you energized by them or do you feel like the one who said “I love humanity; it’s people I can’t stand”?  Or, are you like Martin Luther, who, when commenting on Jn. 3:16, said “If I were God, I would have already obliterated the world”?
     Let’s face it:

     Today’s Manna, rooted in the intense rivalry between Leah and Rachel, is one that’s repeated every day—and not just between two sisters.  We find it in the office.  We find it in the classroom and school yard.  We find it the supermarket.  We find it on the church pew.
     But, the question is “Are we being ‘crucified with Christ’ (Gal. 2:20) in them or are we ‘walking in the flesh and producing the rotten fruit of the flesh’ (Rom. 8:5-14; Gal. 5:19-21)?”
     There’s no doubt Leah and Rachel’s relationship was a strained one.  Perhaps it’d been that way ever since they were young girls and long before Jacob ever showed up on the scene.  Leah wasn’t the best-looking girl on the block, described as “tender- or weak-eyed” (Gen. 29:17a), which meant she was probably an unattractive, “plain Jane” kind of girl in appearance.
     But, Rachel was a “knockout:”  “Beautiful and well-favored” (v.17).

     A beauty queen.  Voted “Most Beautiful” and “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates.  Perfect hair.  Perfect smile.  Movie-star physique.  But, envied (and resented/hated) by Leah, who always played second-fiddle to her.
     So, it’s interesting that she—the “not-chosen, less-favored” one—would be the first one to have children.  And, each time she had one (seven total), she somehow felt this would cause Jacob to love her more and want to spend more time with her than Rachel (29:32-34; 30:20).
     Even a cursory examination of the Scriptures will reveal the difficulties of interpersonal relationships:  Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the serpent (Gen. 3:12-13).  Cain killing Abel (Gen. 4:4-8).  Noah getting drunk and cursing his own son’s lineage (Gen. 9:20-27).  Lot’s choosing the more fertile, well-watered land even though his uncle, Abraham, had taken him in (Gen. 13:5-11).  Sarah and Hagar’s rivalry (Gen. 16:1-4; 21:9).  Esau and Jacob’s struggle from birth (Gen. 25:19-34; 27:1-41).  Jacob favoring Joseph (Gen. 37:3).  The disciples’ jockeying for position (Mt. 20:20-21; Mk. 9:34).  Paul and Barnabas’ contention over John Mark (Acts 15:36-41).  Yet, in them all the Lord God reminds us of how we’re to act in them (Jn. 13:34; 15:12).  The question is “Are we being obedient?  Do others see Jesus in us?”

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated April 10, 2010

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