Thursday 21 May
'So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrah (that is, Bethlehem).' Genesis 35:19. Rachel was the love of Jacob's life, but as Jacob returned home to settle and live out the rest of his days with her, she was taken from him. How often has what we anticipated and naturally expected turned out so differently without explanation? Rachel had known much sadness in her life. She was tricked by her father and saw her sister Leah being married off to Jacob instead of her. When she did become Jacob's second wife she endured years of misery due to her barrenness and the fact that both Leah and two maidservants bore him many children..
Like the sunrise after a long dark night, Rachel had the eventual joy of giving birth to Joseph. It must have seemed as though a new day had indeed dawned for her when she found that she was expecting a second child, something for which she had dearly hoped and prayed, (30:22-24). But she had great difficulty in giving birth and, having been told that it was a boy, named him with her dying breath, ''Son of my Trouble,” (Ben-Oni). Jacob, however, gave the boy the far less depressing name, Benjamin, “Son of the Right Hand.”
There are those who have a smooth and pleasant life, whilst others are plagued with sorrows of one sort or another, ever hoping for something better. How tragic it is when at last joy comes, only for it to be snatched away. There is such pathos in Rachel's story. She became a symbol of sorrow to the nation of Israel, (see Jeremiah 31:15). There is much that we do not understand about God and his purposes, things that do not seem to make sense, things that seem so unfair. But when we belong to him we become part of a far bigger plan, most of which we might never witness. Joseph, Rachel's first born, would save the family from hunger, ensuring their survival. A descendant of Benjamin, King Saul, would play a pivotal role in Israel's history. Another would be a far greater Saul, Saul of Tarsus, who would become the apostle Paul and be responsible for sharing the Good News of Jesus throughout so much of the Roman Empire and encouraging countless Christians up unto the present day.
'Whatever it might mean to me personally Father, I am yours. Help me to be so surrendered that I will allow you to do whatsoever you choose to achieve your purposes. Amen.'
God Bless you all.