Rachel nibbled on a long piece of grass as she drove her father’s herd to drink. The animals knew the path, so only once or twice did the young shepherdess have to swat a wayward lamb back into line. As the flock neared the watering well, Rachel saw the figure of a strange man standing among the shepherds waiting to water their sheep. Upon getting close enough for his face to come into full view, their eyes locked, and it was love at first sight. And so began the tormented triangle between Rachel, her sister Leah, and Jacob, the man they both loved.
As Rachel adjusted her bridal veil, she could hardly wait for the ceremony. Finally after agreeing to work seven years for Laban, Rachel and Jacob were to be wed. Her father was holding a great feast, and after would bring her to her new husband so they could consummate their marriage. But as the time passed, and with no one coming to get her, Rachel began to worry. And when Laban finally did come to her tent, her expectant joy soon turned to sorrow. For her father broke the news that her beloved had instead married her older sister Leah. Feelings of confusion, devastation, and betrayal filled Rachel, and she crumpled to the ground in a pile of tears.
How could her father do this? How could her sister betray her? And how could the man who had pledged his love for her marry another? The next morning, with Laban’s deception revealed, Jacob agreed to work yet another seven years for the hand of Rachel. But the wedding wouldn’t happen for another week. And each day that passed, Rachel watched the celebrations held in Leah’s bridal tent. And each day that passed, the heart of Rachel seethed with jealousy.
The wedding came and went without much fanfare. There was no feast, or celebration, yet at least Jacob and Rachel were married. But instead of beaming with honeymoon happiness, Rachel was sullen. Yes it was true that she was able to marry for love. But she had waited 14 years. And yes she was beautiful, and cherished by Jacob. But she had to share her beloved husband. And yes she didn’t need to worry about her sister, because she too was well taken care of. But that came about as a result of her father’s deception. Because of her bitterness and jealousy, Rachel was blind to all of her many blessings.
Rachel spent the rest of her life bitterly competing with her sister. And even though she knew the pain deception can cause, she too many times, practiced the art. God had blessed Rachel with much, but all she could see was what she didn’t have. And it was that blindness which eventually cost Rachel her life. Being barren, God had opened her womb and blessed her with her precious son Joseph. But Rachel wasn’t satisfied, for her sister Leah had more sons. And so her first words after the birth of her baby were, “May the Lord give me another son.” The Lord did give her another son, Benjamin. But Rachel died giving birth, leaving her beloved Joseph, Benjamin, and Jacob behind and broken-hearted.
Jealousy made Rachel blind to her blessings, and it can do the same to us. Sin, an ungrateful heart, and bitterness, all cloud our vision to the blessings God so generously gives. But when we start each day with gratitude, praise, and rejoicing, not only are our eyes opened, but so is our heart. And we can joyfully sing to the Lord, “amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.”