Rachel & Leah

Genesis 30:13-24

13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.1

14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.2

19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun.3 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.

22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph,4 saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”


[1] 30:13 Asher sounds like the Hebrew for happy

[2] 30:18 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for wages, or hire

[3] 30:20 Zebulun sounds like the Hebrew for honor

[4] 30:24 Joseph means May he add, and sounds like the Hebrew for taken away



Rachel & Leah

Genesis 30:1-13

30:1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf,1 that even I may have children2 through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.3 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings4 I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.5

When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad.6 12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.7


[1] 30:3 Hebrew on my knees

[2] 30:3 Hebrew be built up, which sounds like the Hebrew for children

[3] 30:6 Dan sounds like the Hebrew for judged

[4] 30:8 Hebrew With wrestlings of God

[5] 30:8 Naphtali sounds like the Hebrew for wrestling

[6] 30:11 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for good fortune

[7] 30:13 Asher sounds like the Hebrew for happy



Rachel & Leah

Genesis 29:21-35

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave1 his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Jacob’s Children

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,2 for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.3 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.4 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah.5 Then she ceased bearing.


[1] 29:24 Or had given; also verse 29

[2] 29:32 Reuben means See, a son

[3] 29:33 Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heard

[4] 29:34 Levi sounds like the Hebrew for attached

[5] 29:35 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise



Rachel & Leah

Genesis 29:1-20

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak,1 but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.


[1] 29:17 Or soft



Going Deeper

Esau (12.2.23)

Let’s dig into the life of Esau and the temptation of immediate gratification.

The microwave is a great invention, it takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds to boil a cup of water. It can warm up a leftover slice of pizza in about 40 seconds. A cinnamon roll can feel and taste like it is fresh out of the oven in about 15 seconds. A microwave can give us a meal warmed up almost instantly. We can be immediately gratified, our hunger fulfilled, our taste buds excited faster than any other generation in history.

          What does this have to do with Esau? A lot! At the beginning of our reading this week, we see Esau come in from the field. He was a hunter and apparently he was out hunting for a while. Esau comes back empty handed. He is hungry and says, “Give me some of that red.” This is where Esau gains the nickname Edom. Edom is the word for red in Hebrew. Esau wanted some of that red stuff Jacob was fixing and so Esau was given the nickname Red.

          Jacob sees that his brother is distraught, hungry and takes advantage of the situation. Though this is not the right thing to do, God does use it for His glory. Jacob takes advantage of Esau and gets Esau to sell his birthright for a bowl of red porridge. A birthright gives the heir the right to become chieftain, to a double portion of the inheritance, and, in this case, the covenant blessing and promises given to Abraham will continue through this heir.

          Esau knew exactly what his birthright was. But, he held it in little esteem and he sold it for a bowl of porridge. Esau made a huge mistake and instead of looking at the long term, he sold out for immediate gratification. He forsook the promise of God to be heir for a bowl of Quaker Oats. You might think this is harsh. Esau was starving, he was about to die, etc. First, Esau was able to walk out of the woods from his hunting trip. Second, Esau was able to argue with Jacob. Third, if Esau was truly starving, he could have just taken what he wanted from Jacob, more than likely. Esau was a man of the woods whereas Jacob was essentially a mamma’s boy. Finally, what we must not miss in this testimony is how strongly God’s word counts Esau’s sin in this flippant act of self-indulgence.

          Hebrews 12:15-16 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and           causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.

          The first lesson we learn from Esau is the need for patience. Esau chose the bowl of porridge over the eternal blessing of God. Now, we must not forget that in God’s sovereignty He has already decreed that Esau will serve Jacob (the prophecy of two nations struggling). Even so, Esau is responsible for his actions. Selling his birthright was more than selling his riches and standing. He was passing up on the covenantal promises made to Abraham. This was the most valued thing in this family. In essence, he was forsaking the mighty promises of God for a quick fill me up. Impulsively, Esau traded an immediate and sensual gratification at the forfeit of a future glory. Oh, how valuable patience is. This is one of the great ways sin works in our lives.

Sin takes a practical immediate want or need, which is placed in us by God to help us to benefit us, and over prioritizes it by placing that item or need above God. Sin took the need for food and ramped it up in Esau to make it more desirable to him than the lasting promises of God.

          How often do we do this? How often do we allow a necessity of something to usurp the place of God or our relationship with God? When we blatantly choose to sin, we are choosing immediate gratification over our relationship with a sovereign Creator who knows what is best for us. In this, we don’t value the promises of God or the importance of holiness.

          The promise of the gospel is that of faith. Remember Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Esau lacked faith and hope in the promises of God. Esau trusted in momentary things. Esau would rather not suffer. He did not want to suffer for the hope that was laid upon him in his birthright. When we have faith in the promises of God, we hope in the promise of eternal salvation, glorification, and God restoring everything to a sinless, perfect state in the new heavens and new earth.

          We have to be leery of the lessons taught to us by the microwave. We need to be cautious not get used to or expect immediate gratification. The microwave is a great invention, but sometimes we need to remember that the promises of God are not always as fast as a ready-made bowl of porridge. We remember that God was laying the foundation of the cross for over four thousand years. We see the promise in Genesis 3:15. The expectation of the long awaited Messiah is built and then Jesus comes on the scene. The promise is fulfilled on the cross. As we meditate on the cross, we must understand that we are to look forward to the glorious “appearing … of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). [NK1] So that we will not be “unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal” (Hebrews 12:16[NK2] ).

          The second lesson we can learn from Esau is that God’s purposes will be carried through. God’s sovereign plan is continually at work.

The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country’, and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.'”

Malachi 1:1-4

          It would be impossible to not speak to God’s sovereignty over all things in the life of Esau as the Scriptures continue to point to the differences of Esau and Jacob. One points us to the promises of God, the other of fallen man that has no hope outside of the decrees and election of God.

          In the book of Malachi, we see that the LORD (YHWH- the covenantal name of God) lifts up Jacob and Esau and points to His love for one and His hate for the other. Malachi is a prophet and he is writing to the people of Israel. They have returned to the land, but they are not doing as they are supposed to. They are not glorifying or giving God his due, they are not treating their parents with respect, and they are not being a testimony to the nations.

          Here we see that God is stating how he has kept His people over the years. He has brought them back into the land, He has kept them as a nation. The people of Edom (the descendants of Esau) God has broken down. They are destroyed and they will not be rebuilt.

           We see in this the promises of God being fulfilled. God is sustaining and keeping His people because of His elective love for them. God chose Israel not by any merit of their own:

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.” Deuteronomy 7:6-10

Understand that this choosing of Israel does not mean that all of Israel would be saved (Romans 9:6-7). This love did give them special revelation. They were given the law, and how to know God, how to live before Him in a clear way. God showed His sovereignty in choosing them, then also in breaking down the nations around them and leaving these nations destroyed.

Notice in the Malachi text that God hates Esau. We know from the Hebrew text that Esau was unholy–not set apart unto God. This coupled with Romans 9, shows us that God’s sovereign purposes are supreme over all things such as human will, plans, etc. (Romans 9:14-16). God often works through these things but He is not bound by them. As Paul states in Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Esau was a creature made by a sovereign God to glorify God.

This is hard for many of us to understand. We often think how can a “loving God” do this or say these things? Oftentimes, we want to skip these portions of Scripture because they go against our natural thought. First, we are corrupt and we have a sin nature that has darkened our minds. Second, we live in a culture that champions their definition of love over all things. All of God’s attributes are in all of His actions so every act of God is 100% holy, just, right, wrathful, loving, etc. Because of God’s character we can take comfort in His action because God will never deny Himself, and He is not like a man that He would lie. God has declared His character in Scripture. Because we know His character we know that His elective love is good, just, and right. We know that His wrath and hate, is good, just, and right.

As last week’s devotion on Jacob showed us, we should be surprised that God would love any sinful person, we all deserve eternal judgment, and unless God chooses some, we would all be rightly and justly consigned to hell. God gave His holy, beautiful, Son (who was God and was with God from eternity past) to take on flesh and redeem a people from their sin. As these truths settle into our souls, we can confidently and joyfully say with Paul, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.”

By His grace and for His glory

Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine

Soldiers For Jesus MC

Chaplain Council

 [NK1]I added the address of the verse referenced.

 [NK2]I added the address of the verse referenced.