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Memorial Day causes us to look to the graveyard or if you will, the fields of the dead to remember with esteem those of the military who gave their lives serving our nation. So, I do with all others again this year. The ‘“cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre’” in Israel is the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their respective wives Jews look to remembering the progenitors of their ethnic heritage (Genesis 49:29-33, NKJV). Jacob, God named Israel, fathered twelve sons by four wives, six of them borne by Leah who is buried with him. How this came about and on this Pentecost, the body of Leah’s greatest Descendant not in a tomb concerns this post.
Leah, daughter of Laban and sister of Rachel examined in last week’s post,1 was honored with burial in the patriarchal cave by her husband, Jacob. She had been his first wife through the deceit of her father when he switched her out for Rachel on what was supposed to be her younger sister’s wedding night (Genesis 29:15-30). For whatever all of the reasons including perhaps, the physical issue with her eyes noted in the referenced passage, Leah as the older of the two sisters had not yet married when Jacob arrived on scene. As with most women of her time, marriage and family were the twin aims of her life and surely the reason in part she cooperated with her father’s treachery.2
In the polygamous marriage to Jacob as his first wife, but second to Rachel because he loved her more, Leah found herself “unloved;” literally hated by her husband. Fortunately for Leah and all women in marriages where their husbands do not love them, God was watching and on the case for her. “He opened her womb” out of mercy, but kept Rachel’s shut (Genesis 29:31, NKJV). While His observation of women in marriages where they are unloved by their husbands is a universal reality that should spur them to prayer for help, God’s specific actions for Leah are not. He acts in accord with His sovereign will, wisdom, unique purposes for all who call upon Him and His glory!3
Leah rightly concluded that the Lord had seen her “affliction” of being unloved by Jacob when she bore him a son she named, Reuben, for that reason (Genesis 29:32, NKJV). However, her hopes Jacob would love her because of this son and the next two that followed were dashed (Genesis 29:33-34). From the seed of her third son, Levi, would come her descendants Aaron, father of Israel’s priesthood and God’s great lawgiver, Moses (Exodus 6:16-27). On her fourth son, Leah seemed to get that God should be praised for her fruitful motherhood and declared: ‘“Now I will praise the Lord.’” So, she named him, Judah, which means praise (Genesis 29:35, NKJV).
From the seed of Judah came Israel’s second king, David, and an eternal, royal dynasty terminating in “Shiloh” God foretold first through Jacob and promised several centuries later by the prophet, Nathan, to the king (Genesis 49:8-12; 2 Samuel 7:1-17, NKJV). This Shiloh, is none other than He Jacob had wrestled with and who came to earth to begin to fulfill all that was written of Him forty-two generations after Abraham (Genesis 32:22-32; Matthew 1:1-17). Of the things written of Him were His birth to a virgin also a descendant of Leah through David and the first priority of His work as Israel’s final King embodied in His name, “JESUS,” (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 3:23-31, NKJV).
Indeed, Jesus Christ, King of the Jews, completed His work to save His people from their sins as foretold (Psalm 22:1-21a; Matthew 27:32-50; John 19:17-30). On the same day before sunset, He was buried in a rich man’s tomb and on the third day after God resurrected Him (Psalm 22:21b; John 19:38-20:18).4 Following that on the fortieth day, “He was taken up” and glorified; seated at God’s right hand to await His return to rule not only Israel, but the whole earth! On the fiftieth day, “Pentecost,” He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell those who believe and enable His apostles to preach the Gospel about as well as “be witnesses to” Him “to the end of the earth,” (Psalm 22:22-31; Isaiah 53; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:36-53; John 20:19-29; Acts 1:4-2:40, 3:11-26, NKJV).
Leah continued to compete with Rachel for Jacob’s love through childbearing; making the same mistake as her sister in giving him her maid for a wife, but to no avail (Genesis 30:1-21). He did honor her above all at her death. Also, not only did Leah prevail in the fruitful bearing of six to Rachel’s two sons, but unknown to her God’s favor ran much deeper. She bore one from who would come Israel and history’s greatest King; even He who is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” (Revelation 5:5, NKJV)! From what God did through unloved Leah, both His aspiring strong men and great women in the image of Christ are reminded He has worked and wills to work in us far beyond what we could have ever imagined to His glory (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)!5 Let Him have you!
1 Read the May 21, 2023 post, Lessons From Rachel For Aspiring Great Women, under the category, The Cause.
2 Another reason was the universal reverence given to fathers and modeled by God as the heads over their daughters until marriage only rebelled against in this latter days
generation (Genesis 2:18, 21-22, 24:47-51; Numbers 12:14-16) though, Leah out of greater reverence for God and as a matter of character could have objected to being a
party to deceit.
3 Christian women please note how the Holy Spirit led me to write broadly of women in marriages with husbands that do not love them. In His perfect will and your obedience
to marry “only in the Lord,” such a situation should not exist for you. However, if for whatever reasons you are in a situation like this, you all the more know seeking God in
prayer is the first right step followed by doing what His Word teaches in longsuffering while you wait on Him to act as He wills. And yes, the same goes for any Christian
man in similar circumstances as it is written (1 Corinthians 7:10-16, 39; 1 Peter 3:1-2, NKJV).
4 Because Christ is risen from the dead, we Christians do not look to tombs or graveyards to remember and honor Him as One still slain in battle. But we exalt and magnify
Christ within our hearts as our living Savior, Warrior-King and Lord; fellowshipping with and serving Him who is “alive forevermore” as He promised (John 14:18-24; Revela-
tion 1:17-18, NKJV). If as a professed Christian you are not inwardly enjoying the resurrection life of Christ, disobedience in sin may be the reason. Watch our latest Strong
Man Of God Online Rally on YouTube, Return To The Lord, to hear His summons!
5 Learn more about this by reading my book, The Strong Man Of God; Back To Basics! Get your Hard or Soft Cover or E-Book Edition of the book as well as companion
Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study in the Strong Man Store, among internet booksellers and brick and mortar book-
Rachel, the mother of Israel, has much to instruct aspiring great women of God in the image of Christ. She was central in last week’s Mother’s Day post as she was too, when the Lord first led me to write about her back in January of this year.1 Unfortunately, the positive lessons Rachel has to teach are from her less than admirable character and bad behavior. Her historical appearance in the Bible serves as a cautionary tale for all women, but especially those that are Christians and would live on purpose to please God and do His will as is the heart of the aspiring great woman of God in Christ’s image.2 Rachel is famous in Israel because of God’s acknowledgment and in spite of her.3
Rachel bore Jacob two sons: Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph grew up to become an outstanding example of a spiritually gifted aspiring strong man of God, ruler (under Pharaoh in Egypt) and deliverer of Israel in the image of Christ. From Benjamin’s seed came Israel’s first king, Saul. Like too many men today Christian or not, Jacob was initially enraptured with Rachel’s beauty, not her character. As it turns out, it appears that Rachel’s descendant, Saul, and his half-hearted commitment to God, contrary and independent spirit originated with her in the biblical narrative;4 being displayed first in her choice to shepherd sheep among predominantly males.
Examine Genesis 24:1-28 and 29:1-12 to compare Rachel’s assertive insertion into what was typically a male vocation (she had brothers--Genesis 31:1) to the servant’s heart of her aunt Rebekah in her youth who was also “beautiful,” but carried out the usual tasks women had in those days (NKJV).5 She clearly had been accepted and was respected by the males because they waited for her as part of the community rules for when flocks could be given water. However, as is the case for guilty females in today’s feminist driven world where Rachel’s assertive insertion into the traditional occupation of males is applauded, that spirit reveals some deeper, underlying character flaws of sin.
Accustomed to having her way since clearly her father, Laban, permitted Rachel to be a shepherdess despite having wealth enough to give maids to his daughters when they married Jacob and sons that did not require it, she was also envious, demanding, impatient, competitive, self-willed, selfish, self-deceived in attempting to make God a party to sin and conniving (Genesis 30:1-8, 14-16). Though she had prayed to Him for children and was heard in His timing with the birth of her firstborn, Joseph, she hoped would lead to another son (Genesis 30:22-24), Rachel did not exalt God in gratitude or truly reverence Him thereafter seeing as she stole her father’s idols (Genesis 31:17-21).6
Whatever Rachel’s motives for stealing her father’s idols, the act not only made her a thief, but also one that did not highly regard the living, “only true God” her husband, Jacob, spoke to and heard from as did her father (Genesis 31:2-16, 22-29; John 17:3, NKJV). Wicked in idolatry with her father, Rachel became a deceiver as he demanded to know who had stolen his idols he searched for she had hidden and prevented their discovery underneath her (Genesis 31:30-35). She clung to those idols while hearing of Jacob’s encounter with angels and name change along with seeing the result in his body after wrestling with “a Man” he identified as “God,” (Genesis 32:1-2, 22-32, NKJV).7
If Israel did not know about the idols Rachel stole from her father before this point, he most certainly learned about this after he commanded all his household to “put away the foreign gods” and collected the idols in preparation for leading them to meet with God at “Bethel,” (Genesis 35:1-15, NKJV). Rachel’s last act of selfishness was as she died naming her child translated, son of my sorrow, which Israel changed (Genesis 35:16-18). No doubt, he was heartbroken as before and at her death he saw the woman he had loved so deeply in true spiritual, moral and ethical character that over twenty years had never changed while he drew closer to God and did. Not in the family plot of his fathers, but a marked grave near Bethlehem by herself he buried Rachel (Genesis 35:19-20).
Rachel’s lessons for every aspiring great woman of God in the image of Christ should be heeded. First, outward beauty impresses men, but not God. Second, separated from God as a sinner, you are inwardly grotesque and dead in spiritual death! There is no make-up or pretense to hide the real you that will eventually show through. Third, Rachel was so close, but failed to reach out and come to know God as did her husband so she could be transformed inwardly in character.8 No one who comes to truly know God remains the same! For this cause, if you want a life blessed of God, well lived with a godly husband and family, then press into and submit fully in all obedience to Christ (Proverbs 31:30; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-10, 4:17-24; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
1 See the January 15, 2023 post, Rachel’s Children Live!, under the category, Instruction.
2 I am led by the Lord to first introduce the aspiring great woman of God in the image of Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. More biblical details and
instruction about her are later presented in a companion women’s group study. Get a Hard or Soft Cover or E-Book Edition of the book as well as the Great Woman Of God
Women’s Group Study in the Strong Man Store, among internet booksellers and brick and mortar bookstores.
3 As noted in my January post, Rachel had standing with God because the patriarch, Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham loved her deeply. Her burial off a major
north-south connecting road near Bethlehem gave rise to the Lord using her in two prophetic instances (Jeremiah 31:15-17; Matthew 2:16-18).
4 Read 1 Samuel 9-15 to see the character and ways of Rachel’s blood descendant, king Saul, God rejected.
5 In her later years Rebekah refused to patiently wait on God to work out the prophecy of Jacob’s family standing and convinced him to follow her lead in using subterfuge to
gain it with his father’s blessing. This created a murderous family rift and she never again saw Jacob as outcomes. After those days, she disappears from Genesis being
only mentioned when her nurse died and as buried in the family plot with Isaac near its end (Genesis 25:19-28, 27-28:5, 35:8, 49:29-31).
6 In Rachel’s defense, she had only the superficial knowledge of God retained in the years following Noah’s flood and as her father and other spiritually duplicitous Mesopota-
mians, practiced syncretism (Genesis 11:1-9).
7 The “Man” is plainly a pre-incarnate appearance of Jacob’s future Descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ!
8 Character matters to God! The Lord leads me to write about the character He seeks to construct in His great women in my book, group study and exclusively in the
Strong Man Store, the Audio Resource, The Character Of The Great Woman Of God available on CD or for Download. The character God builds in both His aspiring
strong man and great woman begins with faith and humility which if Rachel had had, her fame would have been so much nobler and eternally excellent as well as worthy of
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