Jacob: Covenant Children

Genesis 29:31-30:24

God’s Will Is Mysterious

God is sovereign over all people and all things. We know this to be true generally, but it does not mean that God reveals to us every aspect of His will. We may see actions that we can clearly attribute to God, but we may not be shown why those actions have happened and what may come of them in the future. We must live by and according to those things the LORD has revealed in His Word, but the things which the LORD has not revealed we must trust to Him alone (Deuteronomy 29:29). Leah was given children first and often in the passage we read today. She rightly interpreted the blessing of her sons as a gift from the LORD, but she also believed the LORD purposed to draw Jacob closer to her through her childbearing. That never was the case. Jacob’s affections continued to be reserved chiefly for Rachel, and it would remain a reason for hurt in Leah’s life and in the family as a whole. God’s blessing of children may not have been for the purpose Leah thought, but it did accomplish a grander purpose. He had promised to multiply Jacob greatly (Genesis 28:14), so these little boys were the initial fulfillment of that covenant. The sons of Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, and Rachel would go on to be the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Our Will Is Idolatrous

God’s will is perfect while ours is corrupted by sin. His will sees that His glory is exhibited and is ultimately acknowledged as it should be. Our will often leads to us trying to usurp God’s authority and His glory, exchanging His eternal glory for that of created things. Leah’s desire for Jacob’s husbandly love and affection is understandable, but it became disordered. God’s blessing of children became for her a means to the end of gaining Jacob, rather than glorifying God and being united with Him chiefly. Eventually, Leah would resort to buying a night in bed with Jacob in exchange for some mandrakes that her son found. Rachel’s desire to prevail over Leah led to her mistreatment of Bilhah and her defilement of the marriage bed by adding another woman into the mix. This story seems a bit extreme but it shows what can happen when we pursue that which is created with a love and desire that is only due to the Creator Himself.

God’s Will Is Gracious

Jacob was a deceiver and a bigamist (polygamist, if you consider Bilhah and Zilpah as slave wives), yet God’s covenant blessing was still graciously shown to him through the gift of his twelve sons. Rachel and Leah were envious and bitter towards each other, towards Jacob, and likely towards God. They caused each other pain, they misused their power over their slaves for their own gain, and they even treated Jacob as a commodity. Despite their tragically flawed family dynamics and their sinful hearts, God was merciful toward them, not only in giving them sons but in making them some of the key matriarchs of His covenant people. Take stock of your own heart, or look around the Church (let alone out at the world) and notice all of the brokenness and dysfunction because of sin. Now consider how in you and through you the LORD has been gracious and merciful in giving you Christ and in making you a part of His new covenant family. –

Discuss & Pray

1. We know God is completely sovereign. How do we acknowledge this truth in our lives, while also living faithfully in the reality that God has not revealed all of the reasons why something has or has not happened, or at least has not happened yet?

2. Have you made good things, things that are blessings from God even, ultimate in your life? In what ways have you loved them disproportionately to your love for God? How has such disordered love left you unsatisfied and disappointed?

3. How is the Gospel of Jesus the answer to your sin and pursuit of created things in place of God? How is life in Christ more satisfying and fulfilling than a life of disordered love and idolatry?

4. How can we encourage one another toward this life of true joy and fulfillment in Christ?