Quest for Impartiality

Genesis 30:14-21

14During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

16So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.

19Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.

21Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

Favoritism

Have you joined rallies, strikes, demonstrations? Those events can press on the quest for impartiality and fairness to abound. Have you ever sensed any urgency to participate in those events? Can you accept that there will always be unfairness in this world? Partiality, bias and prejudice are relatives of favoritism.

As believers, we favor Christian lifestyle. Unbelievers favors otherwise.

Can you accept that God has favoritism too?

God favors and bless those who obey Him. He favors a righteous person.

The quest for impartiality is supposed to be a noble task. It’s not easy to admit that the pursuit of total impartiality is not what we are most concerned of.

Historically, the search of fairness is exposed in the confusion caused by sibling rivalry. In sibling rivalry, the desire is not about fairness but to be better than the other. If one is better than the other, fairness is misplaced. The quest for impartiality in its real sense can never be attained because of sinful nature.

It says in Romans 3:10-12, 10There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

When we accept Christ as Lord, as Master of our life, God sent the Spirit of Christ into our heart. Living a lifestyle of righteousness practically proves that Christ is truly Lord or Master of our life. Such righteousness comes from God.

Apostle Paul testified in Philippians 3:9, 9not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

The righteousness acceptable to God comes through faith in Christ. When we try to obey law by human effort we always fail. God’s law is our guide to live a lifestyle that measures up to the standards of God. And if we fall short of God’s standard, we sin which only proves that we just ignored Christ as our Lord.

We need to always ask God to help us submit to Christ as Master of our life, why? We are stubborn and sinful in nature. Our human inclination is to be independent from our Master. Every single day, we sin. When we sin, we disobey God. When we disobey God, we actually disregarded Christ as Lord. So, if Christ reigns as Lord of our life, it is when we become obedient to God.

It is also when we let Christ performs His duty as Master of our life that we can humbly accept that the quest for impartiality or fairness is not our top priority.

And as long as prejudice, racism, and discrimination exist, there will be no end to the struggle for equality. Discontentment amplifies the craving for fairness.

When we have contentment from God, our problem of unfairness is solved.

This struggle for equality is a lifelong encounter that can start at a very young age, especially among siblings. Leah and Rachel exemplified a struggle in sibling rivalry. Actually, they also have rivalry as wives of Jacob.

1. Rivalry

14During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

Mandrake plants can cause psychological effects, changes in perception, thought, and feeling. The roots of mandrakes somewhat resemble the human form and have a long history of use in religious and superstitious practices. In ancient times, it was used as narcotic and aphrodisiac, and it was also believed to have certain magical powers. It could be used for healing, providing soothing sleep, inducing love, and facilitating pregnancy.

Because of their rivalry, Rachel wanted it so badly the mandrake that Reuben brought to his mother. Leah sensed how desperate Rachel was to get pregnant. Rachel’s desire to get pregnant was far more important than the love of Jacob for her so that she was willing to have Jacob sleep with her sister Leah.

Interestingly, Leah, the wife who was disregarded by Jacob was taken care of by the Lord. Rachel, the wife who was preferred by Jacob resorted to pressuring Jacob and using aphrodisiac mandrake plants just to get pregnant.

Did Leah use mandrake plants before she got pregnant? Or did Rachel hear it from other people that mandrake plants can facilitate pregnancy? It’s not very important issue but we can from their lifestyle.

Leah was the neglected wife but she depended upon the Lord. Rachel was the favored wife but she relied upon traditional or cultural methods.

Aren’t we like Rachel each time we are attack life concerns. We imitate what others do just to satisfy our cravings. We want what others have. We cause our own problem when we find no contentment with what we have.

We disregard Leah’s way of relying upon the Lord. We agree that reliance upon the Lord produces greater result, but we are very slow to act upon it.

King Hezekiah

We can learn from King Hezekiah when they were invaded. Our problem may not be worse than the attack of brutal enemies. There was time when Sennacherib king of Assyria invaded Judah. Hezekiah who was king of Judah at that time encouraged his people in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8:

7“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

It continued in 2 Chronicles 32:20-23, 20King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. 21And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword.

22So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side. 23Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations.

When the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem, Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, and he was rewarded. The Lord rewards those who trust in Him. Amen!

Leah felt neglected by Jacob but she turned to the Lord and the Lord listened to her and got pregnant again. Leah said that God has rewarded her.

2. Reward

16So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night. 17God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.

The name “Issachar” sounds like a Hebrew term for “reward.” Leah named her 5th child Issachar to remind herself that God has rewarded her.

Leah did not have a fair share of attention and affection from Jacob as compared to what Rachel had. Leah implied her feeling of being neglected when she told Jacob that she hired him with mandrakes. To purchase with her son’s mandrake the right to sleep with her own husband, Leah was surely disregarded.

Nevertheless, Jacob complied with the agreement of Leah and Rachel. If Jacob were to decide who he would sleep with, he may have certainly chosen to sleep with Rachel because he loved Rachel more than Leah. Yet, the woman that Jacob disregarded was favored by the Lord to be more productive.

Listen: The very thing we spent much with our time is what we prefer much.

What we prefer much does not necessarily produce great results. The very thing that we resist might be what the Lord wanted us to give more attention to.

Michael Jordan

Basketball season is about to begin, and many basketball enthusiast will be talking about their favorite basketball player. One of the greatest basketball players if not the greatest ever who played the game, is Michael Jordan. Did you know the dream job of Michael Jordan if he did not play basketball?

Michael Jordan said, “I went to college, I got my degree in cultural(coastal?) geography, and everybody wanted to know what cultural geography is. Well, it’s an introduction to meteorology. I always wanted to be the weatherman. Don’t laugh! But that’s what I really wanted to do. So if I wasn’t playing basketball or baseball, I was going to tell you what the weather was going to be like tomorrow.”

Check your life. When you prayed and asked for job, you were employed in the job you may not like the most but you need it because of your bills. Do you agree that God put you there for a reason? Instead of just trying to survive, why not do better than what you were required to do? Instead of complaining about your situation, why not pray and ask God to inspire you to work righteously?

It says in Ecclesiastes 5:10, 10Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.

King Solomon the richest king in his generation or even in the history of mankind has observed this reality personally. So, if you feel like you are not satisfied with your income, you sure love wealth, and you are in trouble, why?

It says in 1 Timothy 6:10, 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

And in 2 Timothy 3:2, 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

Lovers of money are in the same sentence with boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and unholy. Do we need to prove that people who love money wants to boast about their wealth, abusive when driving their luxury cars, ungrateful of thinking they can buy everything with money?

The love of money is the most practical demonstration of not being satisfied with what we have so that we put ourselves in many difficult concerns.

Money may not be the cause of rivalry between Leah and Rachel but when Leah traded the mandrake for her to sleep with Jacob, it was some form of business transaction although there was no money involved.

Leah felt more neglected even though she had more children than the other women in Jacob’s household. Rachel was not satisfied being the woman whom Jacob loved the most, and she coveted to have children like her sister.

Love of money reveals the desire to have more money.

Similarly, Rachel’s desire to have children revealed that Jacob’s love was never enough for her. Leah had more children, and yet, she still wanted more attention and affection from her husband Jacob.

The concerns of Leah and Rachel of not having enough practically illustrate the unending quest for impartiality and fairness. Where there’s no satisfaction, it is where craving for fairness or impartiality can be found.

Leah gave birth to her 6th child, and hoped that Jacob will respect her.

3. Respect

19Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.

21Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

The name “Zebulun” probably means “exalt” or “honor.” The name “Dinah” means “justice” from Hebrew word “Din” which means “judge.”

Leah believed that God gave her “Zebulun” as reminder that Jacob would eventually treat her with respect and honor. And when she gave birth to a “Dinah” she believed that God has justified anything she did as wife to Jacob and sister to Rachel. Leah seems to be more dependent upon the Lord than Rachel.

Christians are privileged to live by the grace of God. To whom God’s grace is at work, is favored by the Lord. Not a few would claim to have lived under God’s grace but a lifestyle of dependency upon the grace of God should prove it. What does it mean to “live by the grace of God?”

Leah did not force herself to get the attention and affection of Jacob. She relied upon God and God ministered to her and gave her children.

In contrast, Rachel pressured Jacob to give her a child but it made Jacob angry with her. And, when Rachel let Jacob slept with Leah, just to acquire the mandrake of Leah, it exhibited her craving to get pregnant and have children.

What happened next? Leah gave birth to more children which could have intensified the terrible envious feeling of Rachel.

Many times when we follow our human instinct, we bring more troubles to ourselves. That is exactly the opposite of living under the grace of God.

Living by God’s grace does not envy. There’s peace and satisfaction.

At the beginning Paul’s letters, he always say “grace and peace from God.”

Most if not in all letters of Paul, he addressed problems concerning that particular church. Paul may have prayed that God’s grace and peace be abundant to those who would read his letters of rebuke. Without God’s grace at work in the lives of the recipients of Paul’s letter, they would have ignored it.

And such case is true even in our generation. We need God’s grace for us to discern God’s message. We need God’s peace that surpasses understanding for us to realize the will of God even when situations don’t favor us.

Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 7Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Many of us may have complained, “When I commit to serve the Lord, the more I have problems, why?”

Just like Paul, may the Lord keep us from being conceited or proud when He allows us to have some lingering concerns of life!

So, when you feel like life is unfair, the Lord may have put you in a situation just like Paul for Christ’s sake, for Christ to be glorified in your life.

Remember that Christ, the Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords could have lived a lifestyle of that human assume as perfect life but He came, lived on earth and exemplified how to live in a world of unfairness.

By our human effort we cannot be like Christ or Paul.

Only by God’s grace through the empowerment of Christ’s Spirit that we can overcome this world of unfair practices. Amen?

Let us be reminded by Hebrews 12:1-3, 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

><(((‘> …><(((‘> tmec/2018 <‘)))>< …<‘)))><

 

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