RACHEL, SHEPHERDESS AND MOTHER
(Gen 29:9) Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
When Jacob fled from the wrath of his brother Esau, he came to Syria and the land of his mother’s ancestors. There a beautiful shepherdess came to the well to water her sheep. Jacob instantly fell in love. Jacob served seven years for Rachel and then at his wedding time Rachel’s father Laban slipped Rachel’s sister Leah into the tent. Jacob then served another seven years for Rachel. During this time many sons were born to Jacob through the two sisters and their handmaids. Ruth 4:11 says they built up the house (or nation) of Israel.
Rachel’s name means “ewe”. That’s interesting because she was also a shepherdess. The Bible says we are God’s sheep and the Lord is our Shepherd (Psa 23). Rachel knew what it meant to be God’s ewe lamb and this prepared her to be a shepherdess over sheep and later over two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. She wanted more children but she struggled with infertility, which brought out the worst in her as she competed with her sister in having children.
Let’s identify some insights in Rachel’s life that relate to motherhood:
- RACHEL WAS A SHEPHERDESS: We see her leading her sheep to water. That’s a beautiful picture of a mom leading her children to the living water Jesus Christ. (John 4:13-14)
- RACHEL LOST HER LIFE: She passed away giving birth to Benjamin. As she was dying she named him Ben-Oni which means “son of my sorrow” but Jacob renamed him Benjamin which means “son of my right hand”. There are many joys in being a mother but there are many sorrows as well because mothers love so deeply. Mothers lose their lives for their children, giving up their personal ambitions, their time, and in many cases their figure because who has time to exercise! But mothers gain so much by losing so much. It’s the sacrifices of mothers that thrust their children ahead in life to success. (Mat 16:25) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
- RACHEL NEVER SAW HER CHILD’S SUCCESS: Because Rachel died in childbirth she never saw the greatness of her son Joseph in Egypt and how he saved Israel from the famine. In raising kids, mothers need to have faith that what they put into their children will one day bear fruit. It is best to see your kids in two ways . . . as they are, and as they will be by God’s grace and your love, devotion and prayers. (Hab 3:17-19) Though . . . the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines . . . 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord . . . 19 The Lord God is my strength . . .
Rachel, shepherdess and mother and ewe. You too?