The Woman Who Had It All and Yet Lost It All
by Agatha Mangwende
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Her name was Rachel. She was young, beautiful, witty and full of energy. She was a shepherd and knew how to look after camels, donkeys, sheep and goats. She was known throughout the village for her vibrancy. Everyone loved her and she was the source of envy to a lot of women her age.
One day she heads her animals down to the drinking well. She approaches the well in her usual full spirits. But to her surprise there by the well she finds a handsome young man seated by the rocks. She has never seen him before and he definitely is a stranger. His dressing did not match that of her land. He extends his hand in greeting and introduces himself as Jacob. He mentions that he has traveled from a faraway land and was looking for the village of a farmer called Laban. Rachel is surprised again, for Laban is actually her father.
So she takes the stranger to her father and introduces him. Laban realizes that this young man was actually his sister’s son. He had heard about the trouble this young man had caused in his father’s household and how his mother had sent him to his uncle in the hope of solving the family feud. ‘So, this was Jacob’, Laban mused to himself. He was happy because with his growing herd, he needed more labor and one had just presented himself.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Jacob fell in love with Rachel; who would not? About seven years later he married her. His love for her was so strong. But first there were some mishaps. Jacob came to Laban empty handed; he had run away from his father and brother. So he had nothing to give to his uncle as a bride price for the girl. They negotiated and agreed that Jacob would work for free for Laban for seven years and that would be considered as bride price. Jacob was not in a hurry to go back to his family, so he happily agreed to work the seven years.
However, his uncle Laban was shrewd. Rachel was very valuable to him, she was his shepherd. He realized that if Jacob married her and decided to go to his people he would lose two good farm hands too soon. So he connived with his other daughter, Leah to present herself as the bride on the night of the wedding. Jacob would be too drunk and too excited from the function to notice the difference right away. Leah was the older sister and not as witty and strong as the younger girl. Not many men found her to be marriageable quality. So the plan suited her as much as it suited her father.
The plan was put in place and lo and behold Jacob woke up the following morning with the wrong girl by his side. Jacob was furious; but Laban already had a solution to the dilemma – ‘I will give you the other girl, if you are willing to work for me for another seven years’. Jacob could have said ‘no thanks’ to Laban, but he wanted Rachel not Leah. So he agreed to work another seven years for his girl. So, Jacob ended up with two wives, one he learnt to love slowly and the other who was his first and most beloved love.
Jacob had now become a very experienced farm hand and Laban was even keen to keep him. So with much trickery and manipulation he managed to keep Jacob for a couple more years. But with much endurance and farm breeding expertise of his own, Jacob decided that he had had enough of Laban and his tricks. Jacob now had possessions of his own. From his wages over the years he had managed to breed a special type of sheep. He had flocks of these sheep, plus camels, donkeys and his own servants. Laban and his sons were also becoming jealousy of the wealth Jacob had managed to amass for himself. They hated him and were planning evil against him. So one early morning Jacob upped, loaded his wives, children and possessions on the donkeys and camels, and set off with all his flock towards his home land. Laban and his sons were away shearing sheep. They only got to hear about the departure three days later.
Seven days later Laban had chased after them and caught up. He was angry with Jacob for running away from him, but he was also angry about something else. His family gods had been stolen. After much talking, shouting and searching the family gods could not be found. Rachel had taken them, stuffed them in her camel saddle and had sat on them as the search went on. Jacob did not know that she had taken them. But what Rachel did not know was that these gods were a curse upon her life. Jacob himself had replied Laban saying, ’if there is anyone in my midst who has taken your gods, they will die’. Rachel died on the way, she never reached Jacob’s homeland. She died giving birth to her second child, Benjamin.
If I were Rachel I don’t know how privileged I would have felt, to be so beautiful, full of life and the center of most men’s attention. But despite being the beloved of Jacob, a mother to a much loved son, Joseph and all the wealth she could ever hope for, she still had one thing she desired most in her life – her family gods. She could not leave her father’s house without them. She had to steal them, even when she very well knew that they belonged to her father. They were priceless in money terms, but to Rachel they were a part of her. All her life she had valued them and worshiped them.
About twenty years of loving Jacob and being very close to him had not changed her allegiance to her father’s gods. Jacob and Rachel were very close, since the day they met at the well. He must have talked a lot about his family, their Godly values and heritage. He must have talked about his grandfather Abraham, the one whose faith they followed and believed in. He must have talked to her about his God, Jehovah. But when it came to placing her allegiance, Jacob’s God did not find his way into her heart. She was married to the gods of her father. God wanted to give her more than Jacob’s love, superiority over her sister Leah and all the sheep, camels and donkeys she could ever dream of. He wanted her to know and acknowledge Him as the only God, Jehovah. God did not curse her. The curse was pronounced by Jacob on ‘the one who had stolen the gods’. She could have had it all, but instead she clung to the ‘accursed thing’ and lost it all. How sad!
This story if found in Genesis chapters 29 – 35
Has anyone spoken to you about salvation through Jesus Christ? He was crucified for our sins on the Cross at Calvary. He died a cruel death for us. But God raised him from the dead and today He is seated at the right hand of God praying and interceding for us. Have you come to know this Jesus; have you put your faith in him? What is standing between you and your commitment to Jesus Christ? Do not let the gods of this world block your entry into eternal life.
John 3:16-21 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
How to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior
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