Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rachel is Told Of Her Son Being Born -- Genesis 35:17

And it came about when she was in severe labor that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.”

It is not certain whether or not a midwife always traveled with Jacob’s family, but since they knew Rachel was pregnant they certainly had one available on this occasion. In both this and the previous verse, scripture indicates that Rachel’s labor in this pregnancy was ‘severe’. It was in this very adverse circumstance that the midwife tried to comfort her fear. Whether it was fear for her own life or for that of the child to be born is not clear.

The midwife, however, tries to allay that fear of Rachel’s by telling her that she indeed has “another son”. Was Rachel’s soul desire the survival of her newborn? Was it her fear that she may have let her beloved husband Jacob down if it were not a boy or if the child died? These are questions the Bible gives no answers to.

But what we can glean from this verse is most useful in our own times of desperation. Where there is fear, especially fear of death, there is also the presence of life. Rachel sensed a fear. Perhaps it was a fear of death – either hers or that of her baby. In either case, whether it would be her eternal life as a believer in Yahweh or whether it would be the earthly life of her newborn son, a new life would come of it.

When we ourselves are in the midst of the valleys we cross in life, we do not have the advantage of knowing what lies ahead. We cannot read ‘the next verse’ to see how things turn out as we studying Rachel’s story are able to. As a result, fear often sets in. But somehow we must learn to focus on the fact that our God is still with us, that there is an end in sight, and that ultimately, even death is indeed the beginning of life.

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