I wanted to speak a bit of who W.E.B. Du Bois is. He was an African American man who lived from 1868 to 1963. He was the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard. He revolutionized the academic field of sociology by bringing in research and statistics into theory. He was a strong activist for equal rights for all races. Though there is Christian symbolism in some of his works, he hated Christianity. All religions actually. He was an atheist and a communist. Yet, this was not always the case. He actually grew up in a Christian church and his childhood church and others paid for his education at Fisk University. I believe that he was very ungrateful to say that Christianity served as a barrier to equal rights when it was his church that gave him the push to higher education.
Something else to learn about Du Bois is that his first born son died as he spent a night seeking a Black doctor out of three in his area to help his son because White doctors refused to administer to his son. I believe that Du Bois was unable to do something that Booker T. Washington constantly spoke of. He was unable to love and forgive the White man and that turned him into an extremist, putting him at odds with Washington and even the NAACP.
As much a he was misled as a man, he was a skilled sociologist who discovered a phenomenon within western society that all Black individuals and every other individual should understand. I do not read subjective worldly books, but I do read objective academic books. The sole purpose of a subjective writing is to put out personal emotions, thoughts and beliefs whether it be fiction or nonfiction. The sole purpose of an objective writting is to share observations and facts. This would include something such as a Statistics textbook. Yet, all such objective studying and discussions should be done with prudence.
As you read The Souls of Black Folks, which is mostly though not entirely objective, focus on the historical facts and sociological observations. Also, use central processing instead of peripheral processing. Be a critical thinker.
To learn more:
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
May Jesus be with you!
This weekend, the main evangelist of my church was celebrating his birthday. I gift him this psalm:
The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire,
And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
3 For You meet him with the blessings of goodness;
You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
4 He asked life from You, and You gave it to him--
Length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great in Your salvation;
Honor and majesty You have placed upon him.
6 For You have made him most blessed forever;
You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord,
And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find all Your enemies;
Your right hand will find those who hate You.
9 You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger;
The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath,
And the fire shall devour them.
10 Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth,
And their descendants from among the sons of men.
11 For they intended evil against You;
They devised a plot which they are not able to perform.
12 Therefore You will make them turn their back;
You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!
We will sing and praise Your power.
My heart is saddened over the sudden death of Kobe Bryant, who was aged 41, his 13 year old daughter Gianna Mari-Onore Bryant and about 7 others after a helicopter crash. I cannot even begin to understand the pain that his widowed wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their eldest daughter must be going through right now. And I am sure that their 3 year old daughter and 7 month old daughter are wondering: "Where is Daddy? Where is sister?" It is so very heart broken. It touches my heart and hurts me. I pray deeply that Jesus may touch them at this time of sorrow and comfort them and their family. May He use this pain to bring them to Him if they are not already His. I pray this for all of the families that have been impacted and for anyone else experiencing a loss. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
My friends, we must be serious about Jesus Christ. Tomorrow is not promised.
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have [a]refused him. For[b] the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Ok, so, I hate flattery. I do not like to flatter people, and I certainly do not like it when people try flatter me. Therefore, all that I will write down here, I write out of honesty and not flattery.
4 Reasons for Why I Love my Pastor:
1. He was created through Christ and for Christ
2. He was called by Christ into the ministry
3. He is an artichoke. Yes, this sounds weird, but one day, the Lord was speaking into my heart, and He helped me to understand that just like an artichoke, under all of the rough layers, my pastor has a soft heart.
4. He is my pastor.
My prayer for him is that nothing shall separate him from the love of Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Why do YOU love YOUR pastor?
If you do not have one or not connected to Christ at all, His heart is thirsty to have you as His. All you have to do is receive Him into your heart. Then, connect with a Bible-teaching and Holy Spirit led church.
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children
1 Peter 3:15-16
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
I have spent a season in debates over the Word of God and in exhortation. I have learned so, so much from the Lord. I have also seen His love for me in His defense. Yet, He has placed it in my heart to simply not care about such things for this season that He is taking me into. This has been for a while since my last Blessed Thoughts post. It is like the Holy Spirit give a last punch, and was like, "Ok, time to move on," and completely changed the direction of my heart. Many things have been said since then, and I have simply been mostly unmoved. My focus is even more on the Word of Jesus and not on the words of men. Emery in Christ is now in a season of love and encouragement instead of debate and exhortation. A season of renewal and healing.
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
1 Corinthians 8:1-2
Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
May the joy of the Lord be with you!
I am so excited to continue this series on the women of the Bible. In my last post for the series, I spoke on how the Bible shows us the internal beauty that Leah had, which brought forth blessings. I also spoke on her sister, Rachel and the envy that caused her to perish. I spoke on Dinah and the curiosity that led to great pain and bondage. Lastly, I spoke on Bilhah and the impudicity that she committed with Reuben, which caused him to receive curses instead of blessings. I also want to add that since Reuben was the eldest son, if not for his sins, he would have been the most blessed and the one to dominate over his brothers. In this post, I will speak on the submission and lying tongue of Sarah and the preparedness and manipulative counsel of Rebekah.
As I continued to consider Leah and Rachel, it came into my heart to look at how they approached their husband, Jacob. Were they submissive to him? To answer this question, the Lord placed these two passages in my heart. First, Genesis 30:1-2, and second, Genesis 30:16.
Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!” 2 And Jacob’s anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
Here in this passage, we see Rachel speaking to Jacob. She was commanding in her words and yelled at him. This awoke within him anger.
When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” And he lay with her that night.
In this passage, we see Leah speaking to Jacob. She used the words “must” and “surely.” When I look only at the use of “must,” it makes me believe that she was being demanding. Then, when I look at the use of “surely” to describe her own actions, I see that she was pleading him. With her “must” she was emphasizing her desire to have him, and with her “surely” she was emphasizing that he was free to be hers. This led Jacob to go and be with her without saying a word.
What if Rachel pleaded before Jacob with respect as well? Knowing that he already loved her so much, he would have gone on her behalf to plead before God to bless her womb. We know that in Genesis 25:21, Isaac went before God on the behalf of Rebekah, and the Lord blessed her womb. It could have been the same for Jacob and Rachel. Yet, because Rachel was commanding and disrespectful, Jacob became angry and told Rachel to go up to God for her own self.
It is important for me to share this as I go into the story of Sarah because many women, because of this world’s culture of feminism, believe that submission makes a woman weak. The truth is that submission makes a woman powerful. When a woman is respectful towards her husband in words and manner, she is powerful. When a woman submits to her husband, she is powerful. Also, not only is she powerful, she is able to receive the desires of her heart.
We see this with Sarah, the prime example of submission. Peter in 1 Peter 3:6 explains that all women should seek to be like Sarah who submitted to Abraham and called him “lord.” Now, though, if a man does not have to call his love “princess,” then a woman does not have to call her beloved “lord.” I believe that the emphasis is on the attitude that they are to have towards one another. A man is to cherish his wife as a princess, and a woman is to honor her husband as a lord. This is what the Lord, the Lord of lords, considers to be the right way of living between a husband and his wife.
Furthermore, when Peter speaks of women being like Sarah, he speaks of the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Therefore, he makes a parallel between submission and a gentle and quiet spirit to say that a woman is to submit to her husband being of a gentle and quiet spirit before him. This does not speak of her never speaking with him or in front of him. I see the gentleness as her not debasing him. I see the quietness as her not commanding him. Paul speaks of a wife not having the authority to command her husband in 1 Timothy 2:11-15.
In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Paul speaks that women should receive direction from their husbands in a spirit of submission and quietness. To explain what he means by quietness, he goes on and explains that the woman should not be the one to teach and guide her husband. He further explains that the first time a woman took lead and taught and guided her husband, she caused the damnation of mankind. For, she easily became deceived and sinned. This is why Satan approached Eve and not Adam.
Satan knew that it would be more feasible to lead Eve astray than to lead Adam astray. Going all the way back to Genesis 2:16-17, we see that God gave instructions only to Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God also told him that the moment Adam ate from it, Adam would die. The fact that the Lord did not wait to form Eve from Adam to give this instruction demonstrates that God gives instruction concerning the couple or family to the husband with the expectation that the husband will transmit it to his wife and children. This is the process of communication from God to the family for matters concerning the family. Going down to Genesis 3:2, we see that Adam did teach Eve for Eve knew to not eat of the fruit or else she would die. Yet, Eve adds on to God’s Word by saying that if they ate or touched the fruit, they would die. God never said anything about touching the fruit. Eve demonstrated that the wife does not have the grace to receive instruction because she does not have the grace to transmit that instruction properly. Then, Eve gave the fruit to Adam and Adam ate from it. In the garden, Adam relinquished his role as the head and permitted Eve to lead him, causing the fall of mankind into sin. This demonstrates that a wife does not have the grace to lead her husband, instead the husband is to lead his wife. We see this law of the husband taking lead over his wife with Joseph and Mary, which I will speak of in my post on the purity of Mary.
I want to pause here and discuss that many individuals have misinterpreted the passage in 1 Timothy 2 to say that woman do not have the right to teach men in the church. That is an act of taking a Bible passage out of context to make a false claim. The context of the passage is marriage. Paul is speaking of the relationship between a husband and his wife. He is not speaking of the relationship between brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, there are other parts of the Bible that speak about women being silent in church. Such texts are complicated to understand, and I will be analyzing them in my next post.
In continuation, what happens when the exact opposite happens? What happens when a man is the one who leads and his wife submits to his leading? Let us go into Genesis 18. In this chapter, God decided to come before Abraham in the form of three men. I do not know if Abraham knew that it was God, but he displayed great hospitality before the men and invited the Lord into his home. In verse 6, we see that he ran to his tent and told Sarah to make cakes. Hmm. He did not ask Sarah if she was fine with it and he did not tell Sarah who they were for. We now live in a culture in which a man has to ask a woman permission to be a man and to head over his wife and children. It is very destructive both to the manhood of men and the femininity of women. It has also been destructive to the institution of the family.
Though Abraham did not ask Sarah permission and did not give Sarah any explanation, she gently and quietly submitted to his leading and instructions. She did not become stubborn and say, “No, I will not lift a finger.” She did not go to Abraham and ask him a multitude of questions. What if she did? If Sarah hindered Abraham, he would not have been able to properly go on to complete the other preparations for his guests. A woman without submission will hinder her man in his God-ordained mission. Yet, since she did not hinder him, he was able to go on with his mission and both of them received the blessing of a son. So, in her submission, she empowered him to go on with his mission, and consequently, they both received a great blessing. This, my friends, is the power of a submitted woman. She empowers her husband to be successful and empowers her family to be blessed. She empowers herself to be blessed.
After the preparations of Abraham, the Word describes that as Abraham spoke with the Lord, who took the form of three men, Sarah stood at the doorway, which was behind Abraham. Unlike what the culture of this world teaches, for a woman to stand behind a man does not mean that she is taking a lesser position. It means that she is taking the position of protection under the shadow of her husband. We see this action when Jacob went out to meat Esau with his wives and children. In Genesis 32:11, Jacob expressed that he was afraid that Esau would attack him, his wives and the children. Therefore, on his way to encounter Esau, Jacob placed his wife and children behind him as a way to protect them, and then crossed over to Esau before them (Genesis 33:1-7). The husband is to teach and give instruction. The wife and children are to receive and do. The husband is to protect. The wife and children are to remain under his protective covering. The husband is to lead. The wife and children are to follow.
Yet, how can the man himself hinder this? First, he does not have a relationship with God. Second, he has acted in a domineering manner towards his wife. There is a difference between a husband being dominating and a husband being domineering. To dominate is to govern. To lead. To teach. To give instructions. To domineer is to assert control with much arrogance. It is to tyrannize. To manipulate. To suffocate. To give unfair orders. For the wife, there is a difference between her being submissive and her being subservient. To be submissive is to obey with wisdom as an equal. To trust the love of one’s husband and to allow him to lead and teach and to follow his instructions. To be subservient is to obey without will as a lesser. To fearfully give in to the hatred of one’s husband and to allow him to demoralize. When a man is domineering and seeks for his wife to be subservient, he impedes his relationship with God. God does not here his prayers (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). It is easier for a woman to speak gently to a man who is not brutal towards her. It is easier for a woman to follow and receive instructions from a man whom she knows she can trust. When a woman is not submissive but quarrelsome with her husband, she makes herself unbearable to live with (Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 25:24; Proverbs 27:15-16). It is easier for a man to love on a wife who is of a gentle and quiet spirit before him. It is easier for a man to lead, teach, instruct, provide for and protect a wife who submits to him. He leads, she follows. He loves, she submits to his love. She follows, he leads. She submits, he loves. It is all a circle of marital harmony (Ephesians 5:22-33).
I now want to speak on Sarah’s lying tongue. In the very same chapter, in the very same conversation with the three men, Sarah laughed when the Lord said that she would have a child within a year’s time. When the Lord pointed that she laughed, she lied and said that she did not because she was afraid. Who else in this story lied because he was afraid? Abraham. In Genesis 20, Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife because he was afraid that men of Gerar would kill him so that they could have Sarah, who was very beautiful.
The Lord wanted me to point all of this out and share that at times a wife will take on the weaknesses of her husband or a husband will take on the weaknesses of his wife. This is not beneficial to either the husband or the wife. A husband is to support his wife where she is weak, not tolerate it and take it on for himself. A wife is to support her husband where he is weak, not tolerate it and take it on for herself.
The Preparedness and Manipulative Counsel of Rebekah
We will now discuss Rebekah, who was Sarah’s daughter-in-law. In his old age, the Lord gave Abraham orders to send his servant to go back to the land of Abraham’s ancestors to find a wife for Isaac. How do I know that it was the Lord who ordered this and not Abraham taking matters into his own hand? Well, in verse 7 of Genesis 24, Abraham tells his servant that the angel of the Lord would be with the servant on his journey. Now, no one, absolutely no one, besides God has the authority to simply send His angels. For, they act under His sovereign authority. Furthermore, the Lord answered the servant’s prayer by giving the servant the sign that he prayed for. Whenever one is acting out of the will of God and not self-will, the Lord gives grace. So, Rebekah, was the woman whom the Lord chose for Isaac. The Word explained that Rebekah was both very beautiful and pure in that she was a virgin. Then, the Word goes on to depict how Rebekah willingly gave Abraham’s servant water to drink and then went on to ask to water his camels. This was the sign that the servant prayed for, that she would do all of these things.
I will not recount every detail of the story; therefore, I encourage you to read the contents of Genesis 24. In verses 55-57, we see that Rebekah’s mother and brother asked Abraham’s servant if Rebekah could stay with them for 10 more days, but the servant responded that it could not be so. So, then, they asked Rebekah what she wanted. Rebekah said that she would go.
She went quickly because she was prepared to go. When the Lord started to speak to me about the preparedness of Rebekah, the question that He placed in my heart for all unmarried women is: “When it is time for the Lord to take you to your Isaac, will you be prepared to go?”
In my last post, “the Beauty of Leah,” I spoke on how we often desire to acquire that which we are not ready to acquire. There is a season of preparation that the Lord has for all of His daughters before they marry. It is a season in which He is willing to teach them and train them. Something else about Rebekah is that she was quick to act. She quickly gave Abraham’s servant water. She quickly watered his camels. She ran to her home to tell her family of the arrival of Abraham’s servant. This makes me believe that as a woman she was also quick to lean and to obtain that which she needed in order to be prepared for marriage. I will speak more about what these preparations are for a woman when I speak on the homemaking of the Proverbs 31 woman!
Now, let us look into the other side of Rebekah. So, Isaac and Rebekah married. Isaac loved Rebekah. Rebekah was barren. Isaac prayed for Rebekah. Rebekah became pregnant with twins. So, now, we are at Genesis 25:22. As Rebekah was pregnant with her twins, they would fight within her womb. This caused Rebekah to worry, and she went and prayed to God about it. She knew to turn to the Lord at a time of trouble. The Lord answered her prayers and explained to her that how each child represented a nation, one nation would be stronger that than other and the older would serve the younger. In verse 28, we came to know that Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah favored Jacob. While it gave a reason for why Isaac favored Esau, it did not give one for Rebekah’s favor for Jacob. One could say that it was because she knew that the Lord would cause Esau to serve Jacob.
In Genesis 27, Rebekah took it upon herself to prepare Jacob to receive Esau’s blessings. She went on to give Jacob instructions on how to deceive her husband and his father, Isaac, so that Isaac would give Jacob Esau’s blessings. She made sure that Jacob was very well prepared. She made sure to prepare the meat dish that Isaac requested from Esau exactly the way Isaac preferred it. She made sure to cover Jacob with animal fur so that when Isaac touched Jacob he would believe that he was touched Esau. It all worked, for Rebekah was truly well prepared. Yet, all in all, we see that Rebekah came to use her strength in preparedness to give manipulative counsel.
Then, when it came to be that Esau wanted to kill Jacob, she lied to her husband and said that she did not want Jacob to marry a Heth woman for it would cause her misery. So, then, Isaac sent Jacob away to Rebekah’s family. The true reason for why Rebekah wanted Isaac to send Jacob to her family was to protect Jacob from Esau. Just as Sarah, Rebekah lied because she was afraid. Just as Abraham, Isaac also lied because he was afraid. In Genesis 26, Isaac lied to the men of Gerar by saying that Rebekah was his sister because she was beautiful and he did not want the men to kill him for Rebekah. From this account, we understand that sin is not only able to transfer from husband to wife or wife to husband but also from parent to child. The transfer of sin from husband to wife or wife to husband is what one may call a marital curse. The transfer of sin from parent to child is what one may call a generational curse.
Let us go back to Rebekah’s actions and focus in. First, the Lord spoke to Rebekah, “One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). In the blessing that Isaac reserved for Esau, he said, “Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you” (Genesis 27:28-29). Therefore, it seems like Rebekah took matters into her hands to make sure that Esau would serve Jacob. Yet, after Esau came back from hunting and begged his father to give him some kind of blessing, Isaac spoke, “Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck” (Genesis 27:39-40). So, it came to be that Jacob would receive more abundance than Esau, for while they were both to receive rain and good harvests, Jacob would also receive a lot grain and wine specifically. Yet, while Esau was to serve Jacob, Esau would eventually break himself from servitude. This meant that Esau would become stronger than Jacob. We already saw the Lord fulfilling the Word of one being stronger than the other in Genesis 25:27 in which it said that Esau was a great hunter and Jacob was mild. Therefore, in her understanding, Rebekah was blind and she did not only bring forth the blessing that the Lord wanted for Jacob but also the blessing that the Lord willed for Esau. This displays that we cannot manipulate to fulfill what we want from the Lord, instead, the Lord can manipulate us to fulfill what He wants.
Also, there were consequences that Jacob had to face. While he was very cunning and deceptive, he found someone who acted the same towards him, his uncle Laban. While he was running from the consequences of his sins, death by his brother’s hands, he ran to the consequences of his sins, 14 years of servitude. Not only did Laban deceive Jacob into serving him for 14 years for the wages of marriage. After those years, Laban would steal from Jacob for what he worked for (Genesis 31:4-7; 41). Another way that Laban stole from Jacob is that he did not give Jacob the dowries that belonged to Rachel and Leah (Genesis 31: 14-16).
Twenty years later, Genesis 32, Jacob decided to use his wit to gain a better livestock from Laban and then ran from Laban out of fear. Since the Lord told Laban to neither hurt nor bless Jacob, he neither hurt nor blessed Jacob. Yet, Jacob had to face Esau, who had already established a nation, Edom. Again, Esau continued to be stronger than Jacob, and this caused Jacob to once again be afraid of his brother. So, then, he prayed to the Lord and sought to flatter Esau with presents.
The Lord would not allow Jacob redemption from his past deceptions without first passing Jacob through the fire. Therefore, Jacob had to fight a Man, whom we understand to have had been God. In Genesis 32:28, the Man said to Jacob: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Yet, during the fight, the Man touched Jacob’s hip socket and caused it to come out of the joint. So, then the Lord caused Esau to be peaceful towards Jacob. It also came to be that Esau did not need anything from Jacob for he had an abundance and that Jacob referred to Esau as “lord” and pleaded before Esau. Again, Esau was stronger than Jacob. Yet, what is unexpected is that Jacob referred to Esau as being above him by calling Esau “lord.” It seems like, in a way, Jacob lost his own blessings. It is as if the transfer of blessings from Isaac to Jacob was not legitimate because it was done through deception. I am sure that this is not what Rebekah envisioned at all.
While Rebekah used her preparedness to be blessed as Isaac’s wife, she turned her preparedness into manipulative counsel and brought sorrow into her son’s life. She did not fulfill the prophecy, she overturned it. She got in the way of it. Did she really though? Could she have overturned God’s Word? The truth is that she misunderstood the prophesy and brought forth a second prophesy to counteract the first prophecy. In the first prophecy, the Lord spoke of peoples and not of persons. He spoke of nations. He spoke of the nations that would descend from Esau and Jacob, which were Edom and Israel, respectively. Yet, Rebekah believed that He was speaking of Esau and Jacob specifically. He was not. In 2 Samuel 8:14, Edom became a vassal state to Israel, as the Lord spoke to Rebekah. But then Edom broke from Israel’s control, as the Lord spoke through Isaac (1 Samuel 11:14-25; 2 Kings 8:20-22). It is possible that Isaac would not have spoken that blessing over Esau if Rebekah had allowed the Lord to fulfill His Word instead of seeking to fulfill it herself.
Here are the morals of the story:
First, do not seek to fulfill God’s prophesies. Allow God to fulfill His Word in due time. In 1 Isaiah 55:11, He says that His Word cannot come back to Him unfulfilled. Second, do not cheat your way to greatness, it will only bring burdens and sorrow and will cheat you of greatness. Do not listen to people who tell you how to cheat your way to greatness, it will only bring burdens and sorrow and will cheat you of greatness. Instead, permit the Lord to bless you in due time.
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
P.S. All Bible passages were from the NKJV unless otherwise indicated. I also would like to acknowledge that I had been spelling Rebekah as Rebecca. I spelled it correctly in this post and will do so in future posts.
May the Lord bless you abundantly!
In the first post for the Women of the Bible series, I will speak of the beauty of Leah, the envy of Rachel, the curiosity of Dinah and impudicity of Bilhah. Thank you for reading!
Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.
Now, some may be thinking that I am completely wrong in my understanding of Leah for the Word of God clearly states that Rachel was the beautiful one. It says that she was beautiful both with her facial features and bodily features. Yet, I am not speaking of external beauty. Instead, I speak of internal beauty. While Rachel was most beautiful in regard to external beauty, Leah was the most beautiful in regard to internal beauty. I will spend my time to explain why this is so.
I will begin my case with Leah's eyes. The Word says that her eyes were delicate. What does not mean exactly? I am a person who loves to study human behavior. One thing that I have learned is that one is able to see to a certain extent into another's heart by looking into that person's eyes. There is a saying that the eyes are a "window to the soul." Actually, studying eye behavior is part of studying body language. So, personally, when I think of Leah's delicate eyes, I consider her to have been one of a delicate heart. Yet, it may simply be that the Word was speaking of her only her eyes and not also of her heart in Genesis 29:17.
Even if the verse was not speaking also of Leah’s heart, I can say with full confidence that Leah had a heart that called out to God. My evidence for this statement is many. First, let us go into Genesis 29:31. In this verse, the Word says that the Lord saw that Jacob, Leah's husband, did not love Leah so the Lord blessed Leah to have a child with Jacob. I find it very interesting that Leah did not even call out to the Lord or ask the Lord to help her in the matter. I also find it very interesting that the Lord was so quick to intervene on the behalf of Leah while making no requirement of her. We simply can see that she had the Lord's favor.
Second, Leah acknowledged the presence and authority of the Lord. She did not see the conception of her first child as a natural occurrence that was the result of a man and a woman being sexually intimate. Instead, she saw beyond that and saw the Lord's love for her. In verse 32, she states that the Lord saw her affliction and blessed her with the child. She understood His love, character and ways, and this demonstrates that she had an intimacy with God in which she came to know God more and more.
Third, Leah worshiped the Lord as her God. After having her first son, she said that her husband would then love her. After having her second child, she said that she was still unloved and that the Lord gave her a second son so that her husband would love her. After having her third child, she said that her husband would then attach to her. I believe that there is a difference between loving a person and being attached to that person. Love is an affection of the heart that manifests in thoughts, words and actions. Attachment is a deep personal connection between two people that cannot be easily broken and is built on important matters. With all this said, I believe that after the second son that Jacob did come to love Leah but still did not have a deep personal connection with her that could not easily be broken. Then, after having her fourth child, Leah did not say that her and her husband were still unattached. Instead, she said that she would simply praise the Lord. I believe that it was because Leah did become attached with her husband after her third child and thought: "Lord, You have done it all for me. My husband loves me. My husband is attached to me. All that is left is for me to do is thank You and praise You."
This leads to my fourth point. Leah was thankful to the Lord. Instead of jumping on to the next thing that she wanted the Lord to do for her, she took the time to thank and praise the Lord. This is a pivotal point of the story, for the name of Judah, who was the fourth son, means praise. Guess who is known as the Lion of Judah? Jesus. Jesus is descended from Judah, the tribe of Judah, and is known as the lion of Judah because of this woman of God. She like Rehab and Ruth is one of the special female ancestors of Jesus in terms of His earthly lineage. – In terms of His godliness, Jesus has no beginning and no end. Alleluia. –
Also, when the brother’s plotted against Joseph, Reuben kept them from killing Joseph (Genesis 37:21-22). Then, Judah took an extra step to protect Joseph from death by telling the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37:26-28). Yes, Judah was key in God fulfilling the prophecy over Joseph. Reuben tore his garments, an act of sorrow and mourning, when he found that Joseph was gone (Genesis 37:29). Yet, Jacob trusted Judah over Reuben to bring back Benjamin after the brothers went to Egypt and encountered Joseph (Genesis 43:8-15).
Moving on to verse 35 of chapter 29, it lets us know that after giving birth to Judah, Leah stopped having children. At first, I thought that it was because God stopped blessing her womb because the mission was accomplished. Nope. Here comes Rachel. In order to talk about Rachel, I will jump back to Genesis 29:10. The Word teaches us that Rachel was a shepherdess. The name Rachel means "ewe," which is a female sheep. As for the name Leah, it means "weary." Their names spoke a bit to the story of their lives. Rachel's name spoke to her work. Leah's name spoke to her affliction.
In continuation, Jacob met Rachel as she was walking down with her sheep. Immediately, he rolled the stone off the well, watered her sheep, kissed her and wept loudly. One would think that this was after introducing himself. Absolutely not. It was after his acts of compulsion that Jacob finally told Rachel who he was. I have two issues with this true account. First, I have issue with Rachel allowing a man whom she did not know to kiss her. It does not befit the character of a woman. - Ladies do not throw what is precious to a man who has not proven to God and you that he is deserving of you. Know your worth in Christ. Understand that as a Christian, you are a daughter of the King. The King of kings. That makes you a princess. A man who desires for you to be his does not have to call you, "princess," but he certainly should treat you as one. No man would kiss a princess just like that without great fear of severe repercussions from her great and powerful king father. Therefore, if he truly loved and esteemed that princess, he would go through great lengths to prove his love for her and to be with her while honoring her character, dignity and reputation. – Second, I have issue with Jacob's compulsion. Was Rachel really so beautiful that he truly lost his mind? Should a man allow a woman's beauty to cause him to lose his wisdom and prudence? Or is this what "love at first sight" is?
Well, verse 18, tells us that Jacob loved Rachel. What kind of love was this though? I do not know. I would have to know the exact Hebrew word that was used to understand and explain. Hopefully, one day, I will know. Yet, no matter how much a man loves a woman and no matter how beautiful she may be, a man should never let go of his wisdom and prudence. How can he be the head and lead her properly if he is a fool?
Maybe this is why Laban saw that he could easily deceive Jacob. He saw Jacob's foolishness. For, Laban promised Jacob that he would give Jacob Rachel to be his wife if he worked for seven years. Yet, Laban secretly gave Jacob Leah instead. It was after the wedding night, the next morning, that Jacob saw that he married and laid with Leah. Laban explained that it was in the culture that the younger daughter did not marry before the youngest. If Jacob was not so compulsory and asked around about the way of things for marriages in that society, would he have been deceived? Many times, we want things that we either do not yet understand or are not yet ready for. If we acquire them before the proper time, these things which we first believed to be blessings become burdens and turn us into slaves. A person may want a marriage. Does that individual understand what a marriage is, know what it takes to be in a marriage and prepared for marriage? The same goes for any other need or desire.
So, Jacob had two wives. Leah, his first wife. Rachel, his second. He loved Rachel more than Leah. That is what verse 30 speaks. Yet, verse 31 speaks that Leah was simply unloved. Hmm. Is it that Jacob had some love for Leah, whom he was with alone for seven years and then lost that love when he also married Rachel? It is quite possible. It would explain why Leah wanted Jacob to be attached to her. She did not want him to lose the love that he had for her again.
Moving to chapter 30 of Genesis, we see that Rachel envied Leah for having children while she did not. This is the intersection for what I have written about Leah and for what I have written about Rachel. In my introduction, I wrote, "the Jealousy of Rachel." - Evidently, I should have written “the Envy of Rachel.” - When one is jealous, one is feeling hostile towards another person whom one believes to have some kind of advantage over one. Now, there is another type of jealousy. One that God speaks to for Himself and one that Song of Songs speaks of boldly. This jealousy is a feeling of vigilance in guarding what rightfully belongs to one. While the first type of jealousy is sinful, the second type is righteous. As for envy, it is both a feeling towards another who has some kind of advantage AND a desire to possess that advantage. So, Rachel did not simply feel hostile towards Leah for having children, she wanted to have children herself.
Rachel's jealousy caused her to do many things. First, it caused her to contend with her husband, Jacob. Consequently, Jacob became very angry. - Deception, thievery, cowardliness, compulsion and anger. - Yet, as much as he contented with Rachel, he did not contest against having sexual relations with her handmaid, Bilhah, so that she could have children through her handmaid. God did not approve of these acts and traditions. Multiple marriages. Concubines. Having children through handmaids, which does not even make sense in any shape or form. All of these are unrighteous acts. God allowed them, but He certainly did not approve them. Leah herself gave in to such culture. That was her weakness. She gave in to culture when she accepted the marriage with Jacob though he was in love with her younger sister. She gave in to culture by giving her maid, Zilpah, to Jacob as well. She was not set apart from the ways of the world.
Before I speak on why Leah gave her maid to Jacob, I want to speak on Rachel's declarations from verses 6 to 8. With Bilhah's firstborn son, Rachel said that it was God who judged her case. That God heard her voice and gave her a son... With Bilhah's second born son, Rachel said that she wrestled with her sister and won... Wow. All false statements. First of all, it is very clear that it was Rachel who decided to take things into her own hands. While God attended to Leah without Leah saying a word to Him of her afflictions, Rachel took matters into her hands after yelling at Jacob. Second, how can a person fight with a person if that person is not in the fight? When Leah spoke of her affliction, she only mentioned the love of her husband. She did not ask God to make Jacob love her as or more than he loved Rachel. She never mentioned Rachel. She had nothing against Rachel. So, Rachel was in this rivalry all be herself.
We see the one-sided rivalry of Rachel so much more in verse 9 of chapter 30. It says that when Leah saw that she stopped bearing, she gave Jacob Zilpah, which we already discussed. Let us go into verse 10 to 13. With Zilpah's firstborn, Leah said that a troop came. With Zilpah's second born, Leah said that she was happy for all the women would call her blessed. No mention of Rachel. No mention of a competition with Rachel. Yet, as I already mentioned, Leah stepped out of God's will. For while there was no mention of Rachel, there was no mention of God either. Instead of the glorification of God, there was self-glorification, especially with Zilpah's second born. Instead of God receiving praise, Leah spoke of her receiving praise. At the very least though, Leah did not give a false mention of God. She did not say that God was in something that He clearly was not in.
Remember when I said that Leah stopped bearing children because of Rachel? Here is what happened. Rachel kept Jacob from going into Leah's tent to be intimate with her. We receive this revelation in verses 14 to 15. In this passage, Rachel once again became envious of Leah. This time it was for flowers that Leah’s son, Rueben had picked for Leah. How sweet. Leah, afflicted, asked Rachel if it was not enough that she kept Jacob from her did she also need to take this symbol of her son’s love. I loved how in the question, Leah also asked Rachel if taking away Jacob was a small thing. Wow. This shows that it truly afflicted Leah for Jacob to have been kept away from her. This is an indication of a true love and attachment from her side.
Well from there, Rachel told Leah that she could have Jacob back in exchange for the flowers. All of this shows two important matters. First, though Jacob went back to loving Leah after the birth of their second son, he still loved Rachel more. For, if he loved Leah more, Rachel would not have been able to keep him from Leah. The second important matter is that Rachel giving Jacob back for just flowers shows that she did not truly love Jacob. So then why did she keep Jacob from Leah? Jealousy and envy. She hated that Leah had four true children while she had none. So, she kept Jacob from Leah so that Leah would not conceive anymore. I also believe that Rachel might have detected Jacob’s love and attachment with Leah and wanted to keep that from increasing.
Verse 17! God! God is back in the story. The Word said that God listened to Leah. With the birth of her fifth son, Leah said that it was a wage for giving Zilpah to Leah. Now, we know from the chapter that God did not ask Leah to give Zilpah to Jacob and that she did it out of selfish reasons. Therefore, what could she mean? I believe that Leah understood that it was a mistake and that in that mistake she lost something with her relationship with Jacob and that whatever it is that she lost, God restored it with the birth of her fifth son. Then came the sixth son. It looks like once Jacob was intimate with Leah again for the one night and Leah gave birth to another son, Rachel could not keep him away anymore. So, then, I guess Leah received double for what she lost. Her relationship with Jacob became even stronger. We see this theme of double compensation for losses in the story of Job and other parts of the Bible (Job 42:10; Isaiah 61:7). Leah’s declaration with the birth of her sixth son was that Jacob would come to live with her in her tent. Wow. I believe that it came to be so, for the Lord did not give her anymore sons to flatter Jacob with. Her seventh and last child was Dinah. Also, notice that Leah did not speak of wanting her husband to love her in this passage. She did not lose that love again even with the tempering of Rachel. So, we went from love to attachment to praise to restoration to dwelling together.
It was after then, that the Lord decided to give Rachel a child. The Word says that God remembered Rachel, listened to her and opened her womb. Did He actually forget her? Of course not. He placed Leah before her. In terms of listening to her, it was not words that she spoke to Him privately in intimacy but the words that she kept voicing publicly to all. With the birth of Joseph, Rachel said that God would give her another son. So, we find that this statement was not inspired by the Spirit of God because God favored Joseph and not Benjamin above all of the other brothers.
In the Old Testament, the Lord had this tendency of favoring the younger over the older. We see this with Ismael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob and Manasseh and Ephraim. One would ask, if there were not twelves sons, how would there be the twelve tribes? Remember that each of Joseph’s sons represented a tribe while the Levites were scattered. Joseph was supposed to be Jacob’s last child, but Rachel pushed the hand of God, and consequently, she died in Genesis from giving birth to Benjamin. Before we go fully into the part though, let us discuss Rachel’s idolatry.
While Leah had a relationship with God, Rachel worshiped idols. In Genesis 31:19, she actually stole the idols of the house from her father, Laban, when Jacob decided to take his wives and children from Laban’s home. It ends up to be that Bilha and Zilpha were Jacob’s wives as well and not just concubines (Genesis 37:2). The thievery of Rachel caused Laban to accuse Jacob of stealing. Some wives bring their husbands glory. Other wives bring their husbands shame. In verses 33 to 35, we see Rachel sit on the idols and lie to her father by saying that she had her menstruation and suffered from cramps, and therefore, could not get up. Genesis 33:2 speaks that Jacob protected Rachel and Joseph the most. I believe that it was more because Joseph was his favorite (Genesis 37:3). But I want to divert from Leah and Rachel and focus on Dinah.
Dinah took some big missteps. In her missteps, she suffered. In Genesis 34, the Word said that Dinah went out to see the women of Canaan. I am sure that she was curious about these women, but was not allowed to be with them. It is very likely that Dinah sneaked out from her father’s camp. This explains why she was alone and not with a servant. As she was spending time with these women, this prince, Shechem, saw her, kidnapped her and raped how. How horrifying. Then, he became obsessed with her, sought to flatter her and wanted to marry her. Again, how horrifying. First to be raped, then to face the possibility of being married to a rapist. – My friends, do NOT go where you are not to go. Trust me, believe me, listen to me when I say that the devil always has something waiting for you there. He has evil gifts that you do not want to receive. -
Now, one may ask, how do you know it was rape? The Bible is very meticulous with its wording. If it was consensual, it would have simply said that he laid with her as it said Jacob laying with Leah in Genesis 30:16, for it was intimate, involving the heart. It might have even said that he went into her as the Word described Jacob having intercourse with Bilhah in Genesis 30:4. Though it was not intimate involving the heart, it was consensual. Instead, it said that he laid with her and violated her. He raped her. My heart always breaks when I read this. This man was quite the lunatic to not even be ashamed but to boldly go up to Jacob to ask him to marry Dinah. Genesis 34:19 speaks that he “delighted” in her. He did not love her but simply took pleasure in her and that led him to accept circumcision. The Word also says that he was more honorable than all of the people of his father’s home, but it does not say that he was an honorable man. Evidently, he was not.
Later in the chapter, we see Levi and Simeon killing Shechem, his father and all the men of the city as they recovered from their circumcision operations. We also see that they took Dinah from Shechem’s home. So… all this time, she was still imprisoned in the home of a rapist… Wow. - If the devil binds you to an evil, he will not let you go. Only Jesus can set you free, truly free (John 8:36). - Though I do not agree with Levi and Simeon’s violent methods, I do applaud that they rescued their sister and defended her honor. This goes back to what I said. A man cannot act in any way towards a princess, a woman who is valued, without suffering severe consequences. I am disappointed that it was her brothers who stepped up instead of her father, Jacob. He loved to run away from troubling situations out of fear. Good thing our Heavenly Father, the King of kings, is never afraid but instead brings fear.
Back to Rachel. Chapter 35. As the family was traveling from Bethel to Ephrath, she gave birth to Benjamin. She died bitterly, even cursing the child. She wanted to call the child, Ben-Oni, son of sorrow. Yet, Jacob called him Benjamin, son of my strength. I find it strange that Jacob did not express any sorrow for the death of Rachel though she was the one whom he loved so much. I mean, the man cried out and wept right in from of her because he was so overwhelmed by this “love at first sight” thing. It is even stranger that he buried her on the side of a road to Ephrath and then erected a pillar. He did not go out of his way to buy a field or a cave.
Meanwhile, Leah, who died in Egypt, for they all went to live there after Joseph became second in command, was buried all the way in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron of Canaan with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca and Jacob. She died before Jacob though. He speaks in Genesis 49:29-33 that he himself buried her there. He also explained that his ancestor brought the cave and the field. It was not just some place to the side. Huh. Wow. Well, it is easy to say that though in the beginning, Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, he came to love Leah more than Rachel.
Furthermore, in Genesis 37:10, after the death of Rachel, Jacob directly refers to Leah as Joseph’s mother, indicating that after the death of Rachel, Leah raised Joseph and Benjamin. Second, in Genesis 37:2, Joseph had a bad report only for Bilhah’s and Zilpah’s sons.
Why? Why these blessings over Leah? Her internal beauty. The woman who reverences the Lord always receives her honor.
To close off Genesis, in Genesis 49, Jacob cursed Reuben for committing incest, an act of impudicity, with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22; 1 Corinthians 5). From the wording, we can understand that it was consensual. It was shameful for both of them to have committed such an act. It is also interesting that the Bible speaks of this right after it speaks of the death of Rachel. Bilhah was Rachel’s handmaid. Did Reuben and Bilhah believe that Rachel’s death meant that Bilhah no longer belonged to Jacob? Still, she was the mother of two of his brothers. Come on.
Jacob also cursed Simeon and Levi for murdering. Then, he went on to bless Judah. Jacob declared over him that all of his brothers were to bow before him. Strange. Not Joseph, but Judah. This prophecy did come to being though with Judah standing against all of Israel (1 Kings 11-12). In Genesis 49:8-12, through Judah’s blessing, Jacob prophesied the coming of the Messiah from the tribe of Judah. Jacob also blessed Zebulun to be a haven for ships with long borders, Asher to be rich and fruitful and Naphtali to be free and poetic. These six sons made up the sons of Leah. With the exception of Joseph, the rest seemed to have received strange blessings.
I really love Joseph’s blessings:
“Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a well;
His branches run over the wall.
23 The archers have bitterly grieved him,
Shot at him and hated him.
24 But his bow remained in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors,
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
Much love and blessings,
Emery in Christ
P.S. All Bible verses were from the NKJV unless otherwise indicated.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Jésus répondit: Il est écrit: L'homme ne vivra pas de pain seulement, mais de toute parole qui sort de la bouche de Dieu