Hebrews 2:10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
We live in an age where “family” has taken on what seems like new meanings. Blended, mixed and single parent families often seem confusing. The lament seems to be what has happened to the traditional family? That question made me consider families in the Old Testament when a man had many children by many wives. Wasn’t that traditional…then?
That second question made me think about how easy is it is to be “not Godless, but not Godly either.” That phrase is where I find real value in the stories of those Old Testament characters who’s traditional lives seemed to be such a mess, and in my own life as well. Somehow all our confusing and questionable ideas of “traditional” still are combining to become A Family for God with room available for more imperfect characters.
It isn’t the traditional that God is looking for at all; it’s the Godly. I’m rethinking my use of the word traditional in light of God’s concept of the perfect family: Himself, Jesus and [your name here]. “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.”
4 So she [Rachel] gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.”Because of this she named him Dan. 7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali. 9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad. 12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.
• 8 …Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.
• 13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.”…
Wow! Talk about an “R-rated” story. Multiple wives, surrogate mothers, competitive sisters, owning people to give away and believing you are entitled! This could be a prime time reality show today. Richard Dahlstrom did a post awhile back called Real Housewives of Mesopotamia. It’s focus was different but when I read this Scripture that title seemed a perfect one for Leah and Rachel. News Flash: R-rated is not just for current events and entitlement apparently isn’t a new thing. I realize that was a different culture but I’m reading it for today and this is what I see.
Rachel’s words are so telling…”I have won.” Leah, who I’ve always had more sympathy for in general, has discovered that any-means-to-an-end makes her look good to others and is happy about it! These women were busy “reasoning” how to meet their needs, how to get their own way and then crowing, or moaning, over the end results they’d managed to achieve.
I have the advantage of seeing “the big picture” of their lives. I think that’s why they’re in the book. I can see the long-term reality of thinking that is so tempting, so self-involved, so human, so Not Godless but not Godly either.