December 07, 2017

Lovely Rachel

Genesis 29:15-30

Laban had two daughters. . . . Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.

—  Genesis 29:16-17

Because of their father’s trickery, two sisters were married to the same man. Rachel was the only one loved by the husband, and Leah was the only one able to bear children. In the culture of that day, these sisters were destined to constantly compete against each other. Leah had children and wanted Jacob’s love; Rachel had Jacob’s love and wanted children.

Despite the fact that Jacob loved her and she was beautiful, Rachel’s life was not a happy one. In those days it was considered a disgrace to be unable to have children. But God “enabled her to conceive” after long years of waiting, and Rachel had a boy, whom she named Joseph (Genesis 30:22-24). Later, Rachel died giving birth to another son, whom Jacob named Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-20).

The longing for love and respect from family members is still a part of our lives today. It hurts when one person loves someone more than they are loved in return. Our deepest human need is to be loved and to love in return.

But we can’t earn love; it can only be given. Jesus’ coming as our Savior is the most vivid example of God’s shouting out to us how much he loves us. God loves us, just as we are—­whether or not we are beautiful or lovable. With God, we can live life fully, knowing that we are deeply, dearly loved.

Have you accepted God’s love for you? And, in return, are you sharing that love with others?

Dear God, thank you for loving us so much that you sent your Son to save us. In his name, Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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