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Beware What You Bargain

Genesis 30:14-16

Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

But Leah replied to her, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want to take my son’s mandrakes?”

“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.”

When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.

Mandrakes were considered both an aphrodisiac and a fertility drug. Leah sought them as an aphrodisiac to attract Jacob to her, while Rachel wanted them as a fertility treatment. Leah desired the heart of her husband; Rachel desired what he could give her. The two bargained, and Leah actually received the better end of the deal. She earned the opportunity to sleep with her husband that night – an idea that seems totally absurd in our culture. In a polygamous family, however, the women often decide who will spend time with the husband and take turns to be “fair.” The husband must oblige in order to maintain peace in the family and fulfill his obligations to all the wives.

This challenges us to consider our own relationship with God. Do we really desire His heart and to have intimacy with Him, or do we only want what He can do for us? God does not have a heart for the law; He has a heart for those who follow the new covenant of grace afforded by His Son. He longs to have intimacy with us, and He will bless us through it. How shallow we become when we forfeit that intimacy for some lesser thing our hearts desire. Through true intimacy we find real blessing that satisfies.

Leah saw Rachel as the undeserving wife and believed she had stolen Jacob from her. We are all law breakers and do not deserve the grace God has lavished upon us through Christ. Rachel, however, wanted the mandrakes more than she wanted Jacob and was willing to bargain her intimate relationship with him in order to obtain them. Would we be so foolish as to trade the intimacy of God’s presence for a quick “fix” to our problems? Mandrakes carried no guarantee, and neither do our own substitutes. We fail ourselves miserably by placing our faith in some “thing,” rather than in God, Himself. He is the source of all blessing, and we have the opportunity to come before Him daily, seek His face, and just bask in His presence. He will speak to us and show us wonderful things that we never imagined. That intimate relationship should be treasured and never bargained!

What does your heart desire today? Your answer is found in an intimate relationship with Christ. Every perfect gift is from God (James 1:17), and He withholds no good thing from us (Psalm 84:11). Forsake your mandrakes, and spend time with Him today. Allow Him to richly bless you with His presence, and find every answer you need. This is yours by grace.

Have a blessed day!

PHOEBE Connections, Inc. is a 501(c)3 dedicated to enhancing the lives of widows by building relationships and helping them find new identity in Jesus Christ through serving others. We promote an atmosphere of fellowship, where the widow can connect with other widows to develop friendships and supportive relationships.