"'We don't do it that way in our country,' said Laban. 'We don't marry
off the younger daughter before the older. Enjoy your week of
honeymoon, and then we'll give you the other one also. But it will cost
you another seven years of work.'
Jacob agreed. When he'd completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.
When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It's-a-Boy!). 'This is a sign,' she said, 'that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.'
She became pregnant again and had another son. 'God heard,' she said, 'that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also.' She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). She became pregnant yet again—another son. She said, 'Now maybe my husband will connect with me—I've given him three sons!' That's why she named him Levi (Connect). She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, 'This time I'll praise God.' So she named him Judah (Praise-God). Then she stopped having children.”---Genesis 29:26-35
"When Rachel realized that she wasn't having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob, 'Give me sons or I'll die!'
Jacob got angry with Rachel and said, 'Am I God? Am I the one who refused you babies?'
Rachel said, 'Here's my maid Bilhah. Sleep with her. Let her substitute for me so I can have a child through her and build a family.' So she gave him her maid Bilhah for a wife and Jacob slept with her. Bilhah became pregnant and gave Jacob a son.
Rachel said, 'God took my side and vindicated me. He listened to me and gave me a son." She named him Dan (Vindication). Rachel's maid Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel said, "I've been in an all-out fight with my sister—and I've won.' So she named him Naphtali (Fight).
When Leah saw that she wasn't having any more children, she gave her maid Zilpah to Jacob for a wife. Zilpah had a son for Jacob. Leah said, 'How fortunate!' and she named him Gad (Lucky). When Leah's maid Zilpah had a second son for Jacob, Leah said, 'A happy day! The women will congratulate me in my happiness.' So she named him Asher (Happy).
One day during the wheat harvest Reuben found some mandrakes in the field and brought them home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, 'Could I please have some of your son's mandrakes?'
Leah said, 'Wasn't it enough that you got my husband away from me? And now you also want my son's mandrakes?'
Rachel said, 'All right. I'll let him sleep with you tonight in exchange for your son's love-apples.'
When Jacob came home that evening from the fields, Leah was there to meet him: 'Sleep with me tonight; I've bartered my son's mandrakes for a night with you.' So he slept with her that night.”---Genesis 30:1-16
Several weeks ago, I wrote a devotional, “Soul Ties: The Sequel”. If you missed it, basically it was a piece on how, because of mankind’s sexual misuse, many of us are subconsciously bonded----and in many ways bound----to people simply because we’ve sexually shared the same person/people.
What a mess, right? More and more (and more and more), I am seeing why the Lord is so hard on those who fornicate and commit adultery. The very gift that was designed to make only two people one has made millions of people intimate with one another in a way that they are not mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually equipped to handle. It takes the concept of re-gifting to a whole ‘nother level, doesn’t it?
The truth is, when God brings two people together in a sexual way, he takes everything about them---their personality, their purpose, their needs, their desires, everything----into deep, lasting consideration. But, when we step out and do things our way, we end up “becoming one” with those who are not suitable for us----our personality, our purpose, or our needs----on an intimate level. And as my mother says, because the consequences of sex don’t change even if the circumstances vary, while we may not be mentally “into” someone, on a spiritual level, we can't help but to be caught up in them until we acknowledge our sin and repent of our ways. Only then can our broken hearts, bodies and spirits be fully restored (Hosea 6:1).
This is especially the case when it comes to women and their relationships with one another. One thing that I have realized in my own life is that when the Enemy seeks to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10), he doesn’t just take you down in one area. No, if he can wreck your professional life, your self-image, your reputation, your relationships, your emotional stability *and* your spiritual walk all in one fatal swoop, he will do just that.
Have you ever noticed someone you couldn’t care less about suddenly taking over your life once you find out that they share a sexual past with someone you are/were involved with? Now you’re all concerned about what they are doing, what they’re wearing, who they are talking to, and especially if they are still involved with your significant on any level. You see them at church and you are instantly frustrated. Their name comes up in conversations and suddenly you are shaken. They randomly cross your mind and you feel insecure. Funny. The very person who blended in the crowd along with everyone else just weeks before, suddenly is "Enemy #1" in your book.
In your mind, she violated you. Never mind the fact that you violated yourself by prematurely getting involved (and remember, you can share too much beyond your body) with that very same person. Never mind the fact that “the other woman” is still walking around in your space, not in prison because she didn’t rape him; no, he chose to sleep with her. Never mind the fact that, upon discovering that you are bonded to her through the same man, you haven’t even taken the time to realize that if you “see one roach”, there are probably several more. No, all you can see is that, because sex makes you one with someone, from your carnal position, you should be the only one.
And that’s completely understandable. But, if you’ve built your relational foundation on fornication/adultery, that doesn’t make it true, accurate or right.
As I am coming into more and more discoveries about my own sexual healing, when I receive information (or revelation) that a man I’ve “known” has “uncovered” several women that I know, while I used to roll my eyes, cringe in fear, or question my self-worth, I now find myself weeping in compassion and angry at the Enemy’s strategy. How sad that so many of us let a man----an ungodly man----determine our value. How sad that, instead of us uniting together to protect our virtue, we are letting disobedience further divide us. How sad that the very beings created to birth in the physical and the spiritual, cannot understand the power that would come if, in our singleness, we would take our eyes off of men and put them onto God’s purpose for our lives. And a big part of that is the role of being sisters.
Sister: A girl or woman who shares a common ancestry, allegiance, character, or purpose with another or others, specifically.
Yes, I can hear you now. “That may be true Shellie, but I’ve never been big on having relationships with women. I prefer men because there isn’t so much drama surrounding them.”
Let me just tell you a big revelation that I’ve received. If women weren’t so disobedient, and knew their place (in the spiritual realm), there wouldn’t be a lot of drama. I don’t know where we got the idea that God called men to be logical and low-maintenance, while women were meant to be erratically emotional and envious creatures. No, when God gave us the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), it was not gender-sensitive.
Remember, the definition of a sister is someone who has a common ancestry. God said in I Peter 2:9 that, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
This means, that if you claim to be in the family of God, the other women around you are indeed your sisters. You know how people say you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family? In the spiritual realm, this fact isn’t any different.
I recall taking a pre-marital class for singles several years ago (shout out to Schrader Lane Church of Christ) and I must admit that it played a significant role in how I process marriage and the purpose for it. One of the things that the Pastor stated was “If you can’t live with your family, you are not ready for marriage.”
Yes, I just dropped a bomb on you, my sistahs. Some of us are wondering why we are still living alone and God is looking at us like, “Uh hello, because you don’t even know how to treat your own sisters right. Now why would I entrust you with one of my kings when you are still bickering like a spoiled little girl?”
Just take a moment and think about your family. Yes, they can get on your nerves. Yes, they, at times, will hurt your feelings. Yes, there are things about them that you probably do not like. But they are still your family. Rolling your eyes doesn’t change that. Talking about them behind their backs doesn’t change that. Comparing yourself to them doesn’t change that. Speaking only when you feel like it doesn’t change that. Wishing that they weren’t doesn’t even change that. Sorry ladies, but as long as you claim to be a daughter of God, you are going to have sisters and you are going to have to love them. And yes, loving them (I Corinthians 13) means that you must be patient, kind, not envious or rude (ignoring people is rude) and you must be grateful when good things happen to them. It also means that you must be:
Longsuffering (patiently enduring under wrongs and difficulties), remembering that you too are not perfect (Matthew 7:1-3).
Good (being positive or desirable in nature; not spoiled or ruined; worthy of respect; honorable; beneficial to health; salutary; genuine and real), remembering that when you claim to love Jesus, what you do to others, do you do to him as well (Matthew 25:40).
Faithful (adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal), remembering that in measure you give you will receive (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Gentle (considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender; not harsh or severe; to raise to the status of a noble), remembering that we are called to raise one another up (I Thessalonians 5:13).
Temperate (exercising moderation and self-restraint), remembering that all of us have different levels of spiritual development. In the spiritual sense, you may be the “older sister”, but if that’s the case then you know better than to let the more immature sister throw you off course (Proverbs 16:32).
Whew! This is my really long intro into the story of Rachel and Leah. As we can see, sisterhood (association or unification of women in a common cause), or the lack thereof, was an issue long before any of us were born.
First, let me say that while we are going beyond courtship in this instance, I believe God is leading me to do so to show the damage that can take place when two women are not “united in a common cause”. Can you imagine how Leah must’ve felt after Jacob confronted Laban? Here she was the wife of a man whose heart was devoted to someone else. And, not just anyone else, but her sister.
Ladies, remember what God taught us just a few paragraphs before. If you claim to be a Christian, all other Christian women are your sisters. Don’t try and compete for the same man. Let him choose who he wants (and don’t be trying to trick and manipulate him into making a decision, either). I’ve been there and let me just tell you that it’s pretty disgusting trying to get your sister’s man.
The Bible goes on to say that after Jacob got who he really wanted (Rachel), he loved her more. Because we know what the scriptures say about love (I Corinthians 13), I am inclined to believe that he was more patient with Rachel, he was kinder to Rachel, Rachel did not provoke him as easily...he believed in Rachel.
Have you ever noticed two women vying for one man’s attention? Let’s call them “A” and “B”. Sure, he may spend time with “A”, but everyone can see that “B” is who makes him laugh and he finds himself naturally gravitating towards. “A” can change her hair, get a new wardrobe, hang up under his friends and family or whatever else, but if his heart is set on “B”, her efforts will prove to be futile. Interestingly enough, “A” can do the same nerve-wracking things that “B” does, but because he loves “B”, his tolerance level is different. That’s the thing about love. It covers (Proverbs 10:12).
In Leah’s case, she thought that giving Jacob a child would make him love her. Boy, if this ain’t a generational curse! How many women have gotten pregnant thinking that it would keep a man? According to the American Pregnancy Association, 468,998 babies are born to teenage mothers every year. The Women’s Educational Media cited that single parents account for 27% of family households for children under the age of 18. As a matter of fact, the amount of single mothers increased from 3 million to 10 million between 1970 and 2000 and studies indicate that 1 in 2 children will live in a single parent household at some point in their life.
So no ladies, being a “baby’s mama” is no way to become a man’s wife.
The heart-wrenching part of this story is that Leah continued to lay with Jacob (obviously because she continued to get pregnant), but the sex, nor the kids, changed his heart towards her. Sure, he was going through the motions, but just because a man “acts” a certain way, doesn’t mean there is a conviction is his soul. The truth is, because of the way the relationship began (manipulation, trickery), it was going to be very difficult for Leah to fully win him over. Where there is no trust, love cannot abound. You see, because Leah pursued Jacob, she was out of order and she would continue, seemingly for the rest of her life, to find ways to earn (obtain through difficulty) him, which is something she was never created to do.
And sadly, rather than looking inward to her brokenness or to Jacob, her husband, she found herself resenting Rachel, his second wife, but her sister first.
We’ll stop there for now, but let me say this about our homework assignment for today. If you have any hatred, envy or pain in your heart for any of your sisters (and remember, if you are a Christian dealing with other Christians, we are all sisters), it is a mandate that you release it. There is no way that you can claim to love God, or some man, and you don’t even know how to treat your Daddy’s daughters right. Some sisters are closer than others, and in my belief, that is fine. But a commonality of genuine (ain’t nothin’ like a fake sistah) love and respect should flow through us all at all times.
Secondly, if you are angry with a sister because of a “Soul Tie Sequel”, put the anger where it really belongs: Satan. I have learned firsthand that any time someone steps outside of the will of God---especially in a sexual nature---it is because they don’t have a clear understanding of who and whose (God and their future mate) they are. Don’t further tear her down. Ask God to help you forgive and then love her so that you can see the situation for what it really is: demonic warfare (Ephesians 6:12).
And then, humble yourself. The fact that a man has dominion over the earth and used that power to take advantage of you and one of your sisters is something that you should be upset with him about and hold him accountable for.
Besides, until you have a ring on the third finger of your left hand, you don’t have any papers on him so what are you mad about? Remember, your sister was your sister before he came into your life. Refocus your loyalties. Your man chooses you (and only you without your help), but God chose your sisters and you are called to love them.
©Shellie R. Warren/2006