Yesterday, we looked at the beginning of Rachel and Leah’s scheming as they valued having the most children more than they valued having an intimate relationship with their spouse. Today, we will look at the culmination of that scheming in the worst of its manifestations.
Please read Genesis 30:14-18.
Wow! Now let’s back up for a minute and give some context. In that culture, each wife would have maintained her own building where she and her children would room, but they would share mutual facilities like a kitchen area, washing area, well, etc. After work, Jacob would choose which house he would stay in each evening. While the law of the land would have required Jacob to stay in Leah’s house occasionally, apparently, because Jacob loved Rachel, he chose to stay in her house almost exclusively. This is why Leah accuses Rachel of taking away her husband.
So, when Jacob returns from the field, he naturally begins to head to Rachel’s house, which has essentially become his permanent home. Instead, Leah comes out and insists that he has to come to her house because she has hired him for the night. Jacob has been turned into a prostitute and Rachel has become his pimp! This is horrible language to use, but it accurately describes this horrible situation.
Why would Rachel do this? Because of mandrakes.
Mandrakes were a small orange-yellow colored fruit that were superstitiously believed to induce fertility. There were known as “love apples,” and served as a common aphrodisiac. Apparently, Rachel believed that she would be able to use these mandrakes later to sleep with her husband, and their “magic” would help her to actually bear a child of her own. This is so important to her that she is willing to sell her husband’s sexual services for the night. Instead, her plan backfires and Leah gets pregnant while Rachel has the mandrakes. So much for superstition!
This story serves as a tragic picture of a tragic family, but it’s so much more than that. The marriage covenant is a picture of our relationship to Jesus Christ. Like Jacob, Jesus loves us so much that He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Unfortunately, we often value other things more than we value Jesus; we choose status over our spouse.
Maybe we’d rather look good to the people in our church than actually honor God. We’d rather dress nice, use nice language, and act holier-than-thou than be honest and actually get our hands dirty by serving those in need. Being a good religious church-goer is not necessarily the same thing as being obedient to Jesus Christ! When we do this, we choose status over our spouse.
Or maybe, we’d rather look good to our friends on social media than honor Jesus. We talk about all the popular ideas of the day. We post pics about our outfits, our routines, our meals. We lay our whole lives out there for the whole world to see… except our devotional life. We keep our love of Christ quiet because “we don’t want to offend anyone.” When we do this, we choose status over our spouse.
Maybe we’d rather look good to whatever group we identify with. If we are passionate about one political side or the other, then we staunchly defend our views, even if we hurt someone else in the process. If we are hard workers, then we devote ourselves to earning more and more, no matter how much time with loved ones we lose in the process. If we or our kids are devoted to sports, then we do whatever it takes to make every practice and game, no matter how many times we miss church and bible study in the process. We have to look good to our teammates, to our co-workers, or to our political party. We choose status over our spouse
There are so many ways that people today follow in Rachel and Leah’s footsteps. The Almighty God of the Universe has chosen us to be His bride! Yet we focus on other things. We commit spiritual adultery. We trade spending time with him for a couple of lousy mandrakes. We choose our status over our Spouse.