When Rachel saw that she was not bearing any children for Jacob, she envied her sister. "Give me children, or I will die!" she said to Jacob.
John 9:16), and would rather have the work not done than done thus (cf. Numbers 11:28; Mark 9:38). Contrast the spirit of St. Paul (Philippians 1:18). Examples of this: unwillingness to rejoice in good done by some other communion, or some other party than our own; inclination to look at points of difference rather than at those held in common; the work of others doubted, criticized, or ignored; eagerness to warn against this or that. Self lies at the root of this. Perhaps the harvest of another seems to diminish ours. Perhaps our own thoughts are to us the measure of God's plans (cf. Mark 14:4). Men see the outside of others' work, and judge as if they knew both the motives and the full results. Yet with this there may be much real zeal and love for the Lord. The failure lies in the want of complete acceptance of his will. To rejoice in work for Christ, by whomsoever done, is not inconsistent with decided views as to the objects to be aimed at, and the means to be used (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
1. We are called to enlarge the household of God; to be the means of making enemies into children (cf. Psalm 87:4, 5) through producing faith (cf. John 1:12). Each responsible for the faithful use of the powers given to us, and bidden to examine ourselves as to sincerity. But the visible results are as God pleases. Here a test of singleness of mind. Can we rejoice in success of a work in which we have no share, or when another's success appears greater than ours? (Galatians 5:26).
2. As an exercise of unselfishness, be careful not to provoke envy by parading distinctive peculiarities (Romans 12:18) or exalting our own work.
3. Be not discouraged that work of others seems more blessed (John 4:36, 37). Faithfulness is within the power of all. It is that which God regards (Matthew 25:21). The result we cannot judge of here. The fruit delayed may prove a greater blessing. - M.
I. JACOB TOOK UPON HIMSELF DOMESTIC TROUBLES,
Rachel envied her sister.I. IT WAS UNGODLY.
1. She was the victim of unholy passions. Envy and jealousy.
2. She took a despairing view of life.
3. She failed rightly to recognize the true Author of all good things.
II. IT LED TO THE ADOPTION OF WRONG EXPEDIENTS. Showing impatient haste of unbelief, and a want of confidence in God.
III. IT HAD AN INFLUENCE FOR EVIL.
1. Upon her own character. Boasting (vers. 6, 8).
2. Upon her sister (ver. 9).
(T. H. Leale.)
II. IT REQUIRES SOMETHING ELSE THAN THE ATTAINMENT OF OUR WISHES TO BRING HAPPINESS.
III. BLESSINGS DO NOT ALWAYS COME AS WE EXPECT.
IV. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.
V. THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE GRADUALLY FULFILLED.
VI. THE UNDESERVING ARE BLESSED BY GOD.
VII. HAVE PATIENCE WITH IRRITATING ASSOCIATES.
(D. G. Watt, M. A.)
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