This is a very simple page with a simple but profound message. ‘GOD has taken away my disgrace’.
Rachel loved her husband and wanted to bear him a son. It was her deepest longing. She was surrounded by his other sons (and daughter) all from his other wives, but she was barren. Then GOD remembered her. I love that this line repeats itself over and over in the Bible. GOD remembers and when He remembers He always acts. In this case, she conceives and Joseph is born.
GOD remembered Rachel and considered her. He chose for her to be the mother of a saviour. Her son would be the one that would go through a lot of stuff (in future posts you will see …) but he would be the one that GOD would position to save the nation that GOD had called into existence.
Rachel declares that GOD has taken away her disgrace and thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us, we can say the same. But I feel there is more to this than just spotting a Jesus moment in the Old Testament, even though that is really exciting and fun. You see, Rachel was longing to be fruitful. Way back in Genesis 9 GOD had commanded Noah to Be Fruitful and Rachel was only responding to this command.
Being fruitful doesn’t necessarily have to look like having children, but we are still called to be fruitful. GOD can call us into fruitfulness in specific areas. When we are barren in our fruitfulness, life can feel particularly difficult. I have, and do, experience the frustration of knowing what to reproduce but experience the inability to actually do it. There is this tension of being obedient to GOD yet feeling like He refuses to bless it. I then tend to go through the cycle of questions … Am I striving? Am I doing the right thing? Shall I give up? Does GOD want to favour me? Am I even seen? Where is my value if I can’t do this? Why is He blessing them and not me? … Yuck!
I am grateful that these are all questions that He has been helping me with and teaching me to persevere with over the years and as I have explored Genesis. These are the things that He speaks to me about and journeys with me. I know that what He has put inside me to be fruitful in, He takes some responsibility in that too; it isn’t just up to me to make it happen.
I cannot control GOD’s timing or the way that He chooses to answer … even though I want to. He chooses when to remember and how to act. The one thing I can be sure of is that He takes away all my disgrace. The desire to be fruitful for Him will always be remembered.
For Rachel, the disgrace was linked to not being able to be fruitful. As I look at the areas of my life that are weedy or parched, I am encouraged. The ground that needs to be dug over and watered is done by His merciful grace. He is able and willing to take away my disgrace. Where I haven’t been fruitful He awakens a desire to be so.
I am further encouraged that for Rachel, her un-fruitfulness was only a moment of waiting. She was not forgotten and neither was she incapable of bearing fruit. GOD’s answer to her plea was ‘not yet’ and not ‘no!’ He knew that if she had the number of sons that Leah had she would not have treated them the way that she treated Joseph. He would not have been the young man that would know and understand the complete (and a little unfair) favour of his parents; he would never have been able to endure what GOD had for him without it.
So as I write this and as I struggle to understand, I can rest in the knowledge that GOD has taken away my disgrace of sin but that He also knows what will happen to my present state of un-fruitfulness. I can trust that He will remember and He will act. He will take away my disgrace and do it in the right moment.
… There is one more point. Rachel names her son Joseph saying, ‘May the Lord add to me another son.’ As a result of her patience and persistence in her fruitfulness and as the burden of disgrace is lifted from her, she realises that she has cultivated a place where she is not satisfied with only a little bit of blessing from GOD. All her waiting has only made her long for more. She sees the faithfulness of GOD in this little bit of fruit and has faith for more.
I hope you feel encouraged! Whatever you are going through, GOD’s command to be fruitful cannot be held back by circumstance. He will remove the disgrace of un-fruitfulness when the time is right and build within you a space and capacity for more.