“When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family.”
– Genesis 30: 1-3
When reading this passage and taking a good look at Rachel, one word sticks out to me. Jealousy. Rachel became so jealous of her sister Leah because she could give Jacob children while she remained barren. So jealous in fact, that she took matters into her own hands and had her maidservant sleep with him so she could have children through her. And it didn’t stop there. It actually got worse. Then Leah couldn’t conceive, so she had Jacob sleep with her maidservant. And for years this went back and forth between them. Finally the Lord heard Rachel’s cry and she gave birth to Joseph. Joseph then became Jacob’s favorite and his brothers became extremely jealous of him. So jealous, that the brothers ended up selling him into slavery – but that’s a story we will cover next week. Let’s take a look at a couple scriptures that tells us about jealousy. In 2 Corinthians 12:20 we have Paul sharing his concerns to the Corinthians. “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. Did you notice in that list you usually have jealousy with at least one of the others? Now flip over to Galatians 5:19-20, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, and factions. Hmmm, are you seeing a theme here. I am. God compiles jealousy with some pretty ugly sins. It also makes me think about how ugly my heart looks to God when I store jealousy in it. The thing with jealousy is that it never just stays in our heart, it leaks out and causes destruction around us, a bitter wake from our path, and another stepping stone to more sins. It alters our actions, words, and perspective. Let’s take a serious look at jealousy and how it can corrupt us. Often times when we compare ourselves to others, it births a seed of jealously that quickly grows. We become jealous over how people look, their positions, someone has what we want, the loss of another’s affection/time, others getting the blessings when we feel like we only get the leftovers – the list could go on. Often times when we harbor jealousy in our hearts, we can’t see what God has right in front of us. Rachel let her jealousy ruin her relationship with her sister. Rachel let her jealousy become self-destructive and consume her. Rachel had a husband that loved her deeply, despite whether she could conceive or not, and she dismissed that devotion for her own selfish desires. Take a moment to pause and reflect on your life. How are you struggling with jealousy? We all do – we just have to find the source and look to Christ for the freedom over it.
Heavenly Father, as water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man. Lord, I do not want my heart to reflect jealousy. Please help me to identify those areas that I struggle in this and help me break free. Amen.