Summary: In part 4 of this series, we look at the two sons born to Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid. Dan declares vindication and Naphtali declares victory.
n Leah had given birth to 4 sons and then stopped for a time.
n Rachel continues to feel more and more pressure as she continues to be barren. In the culture of that day, a woman was looked at with disdain and disgust when she was barren.
n Rachel’s declaration was “Give me children or I die!”
n We may never fully understand the reasoning behind the times of barrenness in our lives, and often the most difficult thing to do is live and work through that barrenness.
n Rachel decided enough was enough and she had to do something. So, she took the approach of Grandma Sarah – she gave her handmaid to Jacob.
n It was customary for a barren woman to conceive through her handmaid. Anything that her handmaid owned became her property, including her children.
n Along comes Bilhah. The church has now gotten through the Leah stage, and steps right into a troubled time.
a. The name Bilhah means troubled.
b. The impatience that we experienced as Leah continued to bear drove us to the point of doing something about the situation. It became time to take matters into our own hands.
c. Bilhah was Rachel’s solution to her barrenness. How many times do we try and do God’s work for Him?
i. This concept was generational in that Abram lay with Haggar and Ishmael was the fruit of that relationship.
d. How often has the church been in a place where she has gone after things that God has not given? The reason is most always impatience.
e. A hunger for the forbidden. A hunger for power. A hunger to be or do something that is not for you.
f. How much has the church sacrificed for her own desires?
Bilhah’s 2 Sons:
a. Dan means to be judged or vindicated.
b. Rachel declared that she had finally been judged worthy by God.
c. The real question is this: Did God only judge Rachel as worthy when Dan was born, or had she always been worthy in His eyes?
d. Rachel was looking for vindication in the eyes of people more so than in the eyes of God. (1 Cor 4:3-4 – Paul declares that the only judgment that matters is that of the Lord. It is only what God says about us that truly matters.)
e. Dan does indeed serve as a reminder that God has judged us as worthy, but it is not a circumstantial judging. We are worthy in God’s eyes not because of what we do, but because of Who’s we are.
f. A real danger is that we can desire to be judged worthy so desperately that we seek that worthiness over being fruitful.
g. God isn’t looking to vindicate us, that has already been done. God is looking for fruit to be born in our lives.
a. Naphtali means to struggle or wrestle.
b. Rachel declares that she has wrestled and prevailed. Yet, for her the battle has been with her sister.
c. We must never get to the place that we feel as though our battle is against flesh and blood.
d. This became a big competition for Rachel and she was going to do whatever it took to win in her eyes.
e. Is it possible that her own barrenness was prolonged by her inability to see things in the right way?
f. Naphtali stands for victory and prevail. God still has a way of producing good out of our messed up intentions.
g. In Deuteronomy 33, Moses declares a blessing over the tribes. About Naphtali he says,
Naphtali is abounding with the favor of the Lord and is full of his blessing. Deut 33:23