Photo by Ryan Moreno
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob,” Give me children, or I shall die!”Genesis 30:1
Genesis 30 gives a tale of two sisters. Rachel and Leah, who happened to be married to the same man(trouble!!). It’s hard enough dealing with sibling rivalry add a man to the mix and you have trouble in capital letters.
In his lack of wisdom Laban( their father) had tricked Jacob into marrying the two sisters. Jacob was in love with Rachel but on the day after the wedding, he woke up and found that he had been given Leah. We are told that Laban got Jacob drunk to trick him. He later married Rachel and had the two sisters as wives. (Genesis 29)
Leah was able to have children but Rachel was barren and when she sees her sister’s ease in bearing children for Jacob she got envious. she wanted what her sister had to the point of wanting to die.
Envy and covetousness often go hand in hand. And in Rachel’s case, she envied what her sister had and coveted it so bad to the point of wanting to die.
Covetousness can quickly get out of hand when we believe we cannot be happy without what someone else has.
I have had my own little case of envy and covetousness.
I remember one afternoon while visiting my sister. I stood in front of her well-organized closet with longing. I looked at all her cute blouses and dresses. I was in a season where I wasn’t working. Money was tight so I couldn’t buy myself a lot of stuff. As I stood there I remember looking at this blue and white chiffon blouse in particular.. so beautiful, in my head it was exactly what I needed to wear with my navy blue pencil skirt. I wanted it and I didn’t care if my sister wanted to give it to me or not. yet, it wasn’t mine it belonged to my sister.
Right there I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart, “ that is covetousness.” I was shocked, me? Righteous me? Serving God wholeheartedly me… covetous? I wanted to be offended but the evidence of my sinful heart was looking right back at me.
I had an option to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and allow that weed to grow and bear fruit in my life, or to bring that sin to light so God could help me uproot it. I chose the latter. It wasn’t easy, I wanted to blame my covetousness on the season of lack I found myself in. But I knew God had given me the grace to choose contentment in every season.
God knew if I didn’t check my heart to not covet something as small as a blouse I would find myself coveting someone’s bigger blessing.
In God’s divine humor, a year later my sister came to visit and brought me the blue and white chiffon blouse. She said I felt like you would love this. She didn’t know the story. When I saw it I laughed out loud. I was so tickled. God said, “ Your desire was legitimate(covetousness wasn’t) and I’m a good father.“ I still have the blouse to this day.
A sister doesn’t have to be a blood sister. It can be a sister in Christ. It can be a colleague at work or a friend. We are going to make a choice on how we’ll respond to someone who has what we desperately want. We’ll have to decide whether we’ll choose envy or we’ll trust the one who gives us our blessings in His timing.
Few things to learn from Rachel’s story:
Turn your attention to what you’ve been given. No matter what we don’t have, there is something we have. Rachel couldn’t get babies but she had the love of Jacob and that was a blessing that her sister didn’t have. She lost sight of her blessings when she began to compare and compete. She couldn’t enjoy the blessing of Jacob’s love because she was busy looking at what others had and what she didn’t have.
When you are tempted to look at that sister in envy and covetousness; write down five things you are grateful for and lead your heart towards that. Gratefulness is a cure for envy and covetousness.
There is a right timing for you. We can be able to celebrate others when their blessings precede ours when we know God’s timing is impeccable. What if the delay was God’s way of making sure Joseph ( Rachel’s son) is born at the right time? What if the delay for you getting married is because of what your marriage carries on this earth? What if the delay for your calling has to do with the immensity of who you are meant to influence? So sis, celebrate her when yours come you’ll see why God made you wait a little longer.
Contentment is a choice. Sis, if God is not enough without it, He will still not be enough when you get it. We can choose to be content whether we have what we want or not.
You can be happy without the marriage, the business, or whatever you think you need to complete your life. You can make a choice to be satisfied even as you wait for God to give you the blessing. We are reminded, be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. Hebrews 13:5
God will not heal what we pretend is not there. We have to humble ourselves and agree with God when He points out to us that we are envious or covetous. If we claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9