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Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf

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“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf”

 

The farmer looked closely at his cows and little calves. He felt blessed this year to have some good ones to choose from. He finally settled on the one he thought would be the best.  Pointing his finger at one, he yelled loud enough to be heard above the lowing cattle. He gave a command to his hired hand that would forever change the daily operation of his farm.

“Put that one in the main stall. Keep it separate from the others. And, feed it extra good feed every day. Do you hear me?”

“Yes sir,” came the reply as the man took a rope, then looped the calf’s little neck and began leading it toward the barn.

Every day after that the farmer went by the stall to check on his chosen calf. This calf would fare better than any of the others he had ever raised. He would fatten this one up on purpose. The amount of grain and hay given to it would be much more than the others received. Its stall was separate because the farmer knew if the other calves got in there, they would eat up all the feed.

Work on the farm started when the sun came up. The chickens were fed, and their eggs gathered. The donkeys were fed too. The cows got milked and were able to eat during the process. Nursing calves nudged their mothers seeking more milk. Even the dog was near his bowl waiting for his daily portion. The rooster officially started the morning’s business by announcing it was time to begin the day.

The smell of breakfast oozed from the kitchen into the rest of the house and yard. Everyone seemed busy doing something, but then one by one they washed up came inside and sat down to eat. The farmer prayed and gave thanks over the food, and then he, his son and the workers begin to eat and make small table talk. About the time they were finishing up, the farmer gave out his daily work orders to the crew. He finished by pointing to one of his men and said, “And, don’t forget to feed that calf.”

The man nodded and they all arose to finish the rest of their chores. In a couple of hours, the farmer went to the calf’s stall to check on things again. Yes, the calf had been fed and fed extra. The feed box still had grain in it. Several bats of hay lay on the ground as a backup supply. The little calf sure looked like it was thriving on the new diet.

The farmer leaned on the wooden gate and looked at the calf. His mind went back to the image of his baby boy carrying all his belongings and walking down the road away from the house not even looking back. Tears moistened his cheeks and ran down past his chin. His baby boy was gone! Oh, how he missed him! He had looked down the road every day hoping for a glimpse of him.

But something in his father’s gut told him that there would be a day when his boy would come back home. He didn’t know when, but he believed he eventually would. He knew his son would be very ashamed of what he had done when he did come home. He would never hold it over his son’s head and say, “I told you so!” Absolutely not! When he did return home, the father had no plans of going back to business as usual. No sir. He would do everything he could to let his boy know that he was loved and forgiven. He would throw a great big party for him. A party with lots of music, dancing, steaks, some barbecue, and festivities. Yes sir, he would make this calf get fat. Real fat.

  • This calf was dedicated to his son’s home-coming.
  • This calf represented the substance of things hoped for.
  • This calf was just waiting for the son’s day of restoration.
  • This calf was the party calf!

He wiped the tears from his face and turned around slowly, catching the eyes of some of his men, and said loudly for all of them to hear…

 

“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf.”

 

 

___________________________________________________________________

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Death By Misadventure

with 2 comments

Death By Misadventure

 

The Coroner has only so many options to describe the cause of death on the certificate. They are as listed

  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Self-Defense
  • Accidental Death
  • Lawful Killing
  • Unlawful Killing
  • Natural Causes
  • Still Birth
  • Self-Neglect
  • Lack Of Care
  • Death By Misadventure

 

The Death By Misadventure option has nagged at me for many years. Wikipedia gives this definition:

“A death by misadventure, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an accident that occurred due to a dangerous risk that was taken voluntarily.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_misadventure

With that definition and description in mind, the old pastor part of me remembers precious people who once made what seemed like a harmless decision, but the end result was their spiritual demise. They didn’t mean to backslide; but they did.

For one young lady, it was just choosing a boyfriend who sat on the front row at church. He had good looks, a great personality, a good paying job and a nice car. He was a real charmer. He just wasn’t committed and fully in love with Jesus. She was desperate not to be an old maid. He lost out because he loved the world. She lost out because she chose to love him and be with him. He pulled her out of church. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A young man desperately needing a job took one that kept him out of church. Not only did it make him miss being in service, there were negative influences from people at work that he was not strong enough to handle. When he did find time to come to church, he didn’t even try to make up for lost time. He just sat there and dried up in his soul. In time, he no longer came back. He didn’t mean to quit church. He just chose a job that paid well, but lost his soul in the process. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A newlywed couple chose friends who they thought were fun to be around. They often visited each other’s homes and often dined together. They even took a vacation together once. The other couple influenced them to question authority and standards. Both couples quit church. The newlyweds only wanted to find friends to have fun with. They didn’t mean to walk away from God. They didn’t mean to backslide; they just made a choice that they never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A man got offended and disagreed when the pastor showed mercy to a person with a horrible past and allowed the backslider to come back to church. Like the elder brother in the Bible, he got angry. He also quit church. He had his own opinion about to whom God should and should not extend mercy. He wanted the pastor to send them to another church and not the one he attended. He refused to go to the same church with the man who had such a horrible past. So, he quit, stayed home and read his Bible, prayed and justified himself in so doing. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

He sat by his good friend in church. The friend never worshipped nor went up to the altar very much to pray. Sitting by him in church was intimidating in a way. It felt odd saying amen, clapping hands and standing up during the singing or preaching when your friend didn’t. So, in time, he joined his friend in being unresponsive. He was intimidated to not worship. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

She found an old friend from high school on social media, and only wanted to say hello. She never dreamed that reconnecting with that person would lead her right out of church and back into sin and break up her marriage. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

 

The Scriptures Tell Of Others Who Suffered The Same Fate:

  • The Unknown Prophet didn’t mean to get eaten by a lion. He just chose to listen to a backslider.
  • Balaam didn’t mean to die with the Moabites on the battlefield. He just chose to make extra money.
  • Demas did mean to backslide and lose out. He just made a bad choice.
  • Samson didn’t mean to get his eyes put out and die. He chose the wrong woman.
  • The 200 Princes Who Stood By Korah didn’t mean to have the ground open up and swallow them. They just chose to stand by the wrong friend.

 

Today…

The least we can do, is ask for God to lead us and guide us in every decision we make. It is wisdom to ask the Lord to close every door that is not His will for our life.  Just because we like the idea doesn’t mean it will be a good choice for us. Never think that because it seems good to you that it is the will of God.

Why not include God’s man in your important decision making? It’s a major safety factor you surely need to include in your choosing. When God fearing kings in the Old Testament had to make a serious decision, they counseled with the man of God and asked his advice. They asked him to seek the Lord on their behalf. That action never lowered anyone’s respect for the king, but rather raised it higher. Likewise, you will be more respected by God fearing people when you become willing to include God in all of your choices.

 

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

Acknowledge Him. Recognize His Divine ability to guide you flawlessly through all life choices.

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2017 at 12:26 am

“What If a Few Weddings In The Bible Didn’t Turn Out Like God Wanted Them To?”

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Guest Editorial.

Bill Davidson Gives Marriage Advice To People Who Aren’t Sure!

 

“What If a Few Weddings In The Bible Didn’t Turn Out Like God Wanted Them To?”

 

  1. What If Rachel Didn’t Want To Leave Her Mama?

Gen 24:14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also:

Abraham’s servant prayed for the will of God in choosing a wife for his master’s son.

He Didn’t Pray:

  • For The girl to be beautiful.
  • For Her to be talented.
  • For her to be the smartest girl in town.

He only prayed for her to be willing to give him and his camels a drink. That’s it. But what would have happened if she had chosen to stay in her village with her mom and ‘em?

  • After all, she hadn’t even seen a picture of this Isaac dude she would have to marry.
  • (He might have a few head of cows, but he might be ugly too.)
  • Besides, she may never get to see any of her family again.
  • Was this guy worth all of that?

If Rachael, even after passing the ‘will of God’ test that the servant had made, had still said no to leaving her mama… What would she have missed out on?

  1. Being the wife of a man who was in a covenant relationship with God!
  2. Being in the bloodline of the coming Messiah!
  3. Being one of the richest women in the world.
  4. Becoming one history’s most beloved mothers!

 

Bill Davidson’s Advice To Every Rebecca?

  • Pack your suitcase girlfriend, and kiss yer mama goodbye!
  • Pack yer little pink suitcase.
  • Don’t wait,
  • Grab the opportunity. It’s a once in a lifetime.
  • (Besides, even though you’re sweet, you may need to cover your face when you first see him.)

 

  1. What If Boaz Had Never Married His Ruth?

Boaz felt pretty much like a cool dude. He was doing pretty well for a single guy. He had a big farm and some hired hands working for him. He had everything a man could want… except the most important thing. A wife!

During the harvest, this beautiful woman shows up in his field and works like a slave girl. She sure wasn’t afraid to work. Sure, you might could guess she wasn’t rich and had come through hard times, but she wasn’t asking for a handout either. That was in her favor.

Boaz was smitten by her beauty. When he looked at her he was more influenced by his hormones than by the Holy Ghost. He like what he saw. Yet, there was a few hurdles he had to get past.

There were some details that had to be ironed out and quite a few people to reckon with and please. Public opinion had to be faced.

Boaz then struggled a bit with going forward with wedding plans and even tried to let one of his cousins have first chance at marrying her if he wanted her.

Ruth 4:5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.

Ruth 4:6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.

 

So, What If Boaz Had Never Married His Ruth?

  • He would have been out he will of God
  • Obed, his son would have never been born.
  • (His name means worshiper. There would’ve been no worship in his life.)
  • Jesus would not have been born.
  • There would have been no cross, nor an empty tomb.
  • There would have been no salvation for sin.
  • Boaz would have had to go to hell.
  • Boaz did not know there would be a messiah in his blood line.
  • He never asked for or sought the will of God.
  • He had no clue that the will of God was staring him in the face.
  • He might have died a bachelor if he let Ruth get away.

 

Bill Davidson’s Advice To Every Boaz?

  • Dude, don’t pass up this opportunity and let this Ruth chick slip away.
  • If you don’t marry her, you will go to hell.
  • You are an idiot man, if you let anyone else have a chance to marry her.
  • My God man, Tell her you love her now, and get the ball rolling!

 

  1. What If Jacob Had Let Rachel Slip Through His Fingers Because He Was Broke?

Jacob the con artist ran away from home to keep from being killed. He hasn’t been gone but a few days and he meets the prettiest girl in the world. It would cost a lot of money to marry a girl that pretty. What’s a man to do?

  • He didn’t have two shekels to rub together.
  • He didn’t even have his own tent.
  • He didn’t even own a camel to ride on.
  • He didn’t have enough money to go on a nice date.
  • He was broke.

So, how do you face a girl’s dad and act like you are interested in his daughter and you don’t have any money? How will you support her? Will you have to live with her folks? You have no place to take her. Can you live on love alone?

Bill Davidson’s Advice To Every Jacob?

  • Hey Jake! She loves you even though you’re broker than the ten commandments.
  • It will work out. I promise.
  • Man Up Dude!
  • Be willing to give yourself when you don’t have any money.
  • Tell her you love her. Even though you’re broke, it’s still God’s will.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 26, 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in Life, Love, Marriage

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

with 4 comments

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

 

I am not talking about the kind of pain that takes one to the Doctor’s office or the Emergency Room. There are some pains and hurts so bad that they cannot be medicated or cured by science. Those pains need our focus.

 

There’s A Kind Of Pain That Doesn’t Always Lead Its Companions To The ER.

  • This Pain will lead you in one of two directions.
  • This Pain may lead you to God.
  • This Pain may lead you away from God.

 

Pain will take you to countries you never knew existed.

Pain will give you citizenship in a foreign land that speaks a language known only to the locals.

Pain can pass itself off as a congenial tour guide while leading you down paths from which from which few ever return.

 

Pain will isolate you from family and friends.

Pain will tell you that you are alone and no one cares.

Pain will turn on you like a vampire and eat pieces of your heart out every day.

Pain will demand that you let it do your thinking for you.

 

Pain desires to control your actions and your feelings.

Pain plots to become your master.

Pain will dominate you.

Pain will control you for the rest of your life.

 

You Don’t Have To Go Looking For Pain. Pain Will Come Look For You!

 

Oh, Wounded Spirit!

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

 

Don’t Let The Thorn (Pain) In Your Side Become A Thorn (Pain) In Your Spirit.

 

Pain will try to make you question God.

Pain will tell you God doesn’t know where you are at.

Pain will tell you that you are wasting your time at church.

Pain will tell you that you have more friends outside of church than you do inside.

Pain will tell you to turn your back on God because He let your family member die.

 

Pain will lead you to bitterness.

Pain will lead you to vengeance.

Pain will make you hateful.

Pain will make you unapproachable by God or man.

 

Pain will control your attitude.

Pain will control your reaction.

Pain will control your walk with God.

Pain will control your relationship with everyone.

Pain will control your attitude.

 

Pain will control your level of worship.

Pain will control your prayer life.

Pain will control your trust in people.

Pain will control your church attendance.

 

Pain is toxic.

Pain is demanding of your time.

Pain tends to take you away from God rather than to Him.

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Person.

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Saint.

 

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Soul-winner

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Spouse

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Parent

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Friend

Pain will minimize your ability to function as a Preacher

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

To God, or away from God?

 

Pain Will Point At Your Cancer.

Pain Will Point At Your Divorce.

Pain Will Point At Your Lost Job.

Pain Will Point At Your Unfaithful Spouse.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Rejection.

Pain Will Point At Your Abuse.

Pain Will Point At Your Disappointments.

Pain Will Point At Your Failures.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Discouragements.

Pain Will Point At Your Sickness.

Pain Will Point At Your Neglect.

Pain Will Point At Your Injuries.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Loneliness.

Pain Will Point At Your Shame.

Pain Will Point At Your Addiction.

Pain Will Point At Your Condemnation.

 

Pain Will Point At Your Scars.

Pain Will Point At Your Enemy’s Success.

Pain Will Point At Your Abused Past.

Pain Will Point At Your Fear.

 

Don’t let Pain determine your eternity.

Don’t let Pain choose your eternity.

Don’t let Pain control your destiny.

 

Pain makes injured animals go into hiding to recover or die.

Pain makes injured lambs go to the shepherd for help.

 

Pain made David seek comfort in the Cave of Adullam.

Pain made Elijah hide in a cave too.

Pain made the Woman with the issue of blood touch Jesus.

Pain made the Syrophoenician mother ask Jesus for a miracle.

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

Has It Taken You Into Hiding From God And Man?

 

How Will You Respond To Pain?

What will you do now?

What will be your reaction?

 

Job’s Attitude Refused To Let Pain Lead Him Away From God!

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

 

When The Prodigal Came To Himself, He Came Home To The Father And Was Restored!

 

Where Is Your Pain Taking You?

To God, or away from God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 24, 2017 at 6:46 am

I Watched An Angel Grow Up!

with 2 comments

 

I Watched An Angel Grow Up!

 

 

It’s true! I actually watched an Angel grow up! She will deny that she is an angel, but I know angels when I see one. The first time I ever saw her was on May 2, (a few years ago). She was very tiny and I was the first man to ever hold her, kiss her baby forehead, and tell her I loved her. She didn’t respond much at the time, but I wanted her to get used to hearing the words… “I Love You” Because, Angels love with their ears and wise men know that.

She wrapped her baby hands around my finger and when she did that, she wrapped my heart around her little finger. We decided to name our little Angel, Marisa June Ballestero.

I was most honored of all men to watch her grow, play, sing, express joy, and have fun. She was so sweet and affectionate with her Mom and I. Even though we knew she was really an Angel, she even took on the human role of Daddy’s girl!

I watched her grow up. I watched her fall in love. I watched her marry and raise a family. I watched her blossom into a beautiful Angel who is drop-dead gorgeous , talented, loving, and more astounding to me than any Wonder Woman!

One of life’s greatest honors is for me to say, that I watched an angel grow up in my own home. Her birth certificate says that she is the daughter of Marcia and Martyn Ballestero. But her Mom and I know who she really is. She is actually an Angel, a real Angel sent from above!

S0, today is the day I get to say Happy Birthday to my Angel, Marisa June Ballestero Hartzell!

I Will Always Love You!

 

Your Old Dad 

(Life President Of The Marisa Hartzell Fan Club)

 

I Held An Angel In My Arms

 

 

I Watched Her Grow Up

 

 

I Watched Her Choose Friends

 

 

I Watched Her Fall In Love

 

 

I Watched Her Have Fun

 

I Watched Her Raise A Family

 

I Was Happy When She Made Another Little Angel That Looked Just Like Her

 

 

Happy Birthday Marisa!

XOXOXO

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 2, 2017 at 8:07 am

Posted in Family, Life, Love, Uncategorized

Tagged with

World’s Largest Trading Post

with 2 comments

 

 

World’s Largest Trading Post

Old Jim and me was a standing on the corner of Broadway and Straight Street one afternoon some years back. We seen this old man wearing sandals, and he had big sign hung around his neck for everyone to see. A curious crowd stood in front of him. They were reading every word of the sign on his chest.

The big words at the top of the sign seemed to say it all. The World’s Largest Trading Post!

People were reading out loud with amazement and near unbelief. It was hard for us to hear all the comments, but from time to time we heard things like:

“How can this be?”

“How can they stay in business tradin’ good stuff for junk?”

“There’s gotta be catch somewheres!”

“This is hard to believe!”

 

Not every passerby took time to read the long list of the day’s specials. Yet there always seemed to be a cluster of potential customers reading every word of the sign.

In answer to someone’s question about the location of the trading post, the old man tried to hold his sign steady with one hand so others could still read as he pointed with his other hand showing the direction. Looking where he pointed, I could see a large crowd moving that way. Almost all of them were carrying bags that sure looked awful heavy.

We waited our turn to get close enough to see the small print. I started reading from the top down, and I read every word.

 

The World’s Largest Trading Post

Specializing In Even Swaps! No Money Needed!

 

Today’s Trade Specials

  • Beauty – for your ashes.
  • Oil of Joy – for your mourning.
  • Garment of Praise – for your spirit of heaviness.
  • Crown – for your cross.
  • New life – for your old life.
  • Hope – for your despair.
  • Eternal Life – for your sins.
  • Peace – for your turmoil.
  • Healing – for your sickness.
  • Strength – for your weakness.

 

Please Take Advantage Of Our Free Gifts And Services!

  • Broken Hearts Bound Up.
  • Sins Forgiven.
  • Sins Washed Away in Jesus Name Baptism.
  • Free Gift of The Holy Ghost.
  • Free Robe of Righteousness.
  • Free Garment of Salvation.
  • Free Services of the Great Physician.
  • Free Services of World’s Greatest Defense Attorney – (He’s never lost a case.)
  • Free Services of The Counselor.
  • Free Private Audience with the Prince of Peace.

 

Whatever Your Need, Just Ask!

  • Joy Unspeakable – Our shelves are loaded!
  • Peace that passeth understanding is always in stock!
  • Healing for every broken heart!
  • Liberty for all who are bound!

 

Our Motto: “You Have Not Because You Ask Not!”

We Specialize In Good Tidings for All People!

 

“What’s your name old man?” Jim asked when he finished reading the sign.

The old man turned his attention to Jim and his weathered and wrinkled face seemed to have an inner shine. With a slight smile on his lips and a bit of a twinkle in his eye he said, “Isaiah”.

I caught Jim’s eye and gave him the nod. We both turned and started in the direction of The World’s Largest Trading Post.

There was this large group of folks just a singing near the entrance. They sang with smiles on their faces and joy seemed to fill their voices as they motioned for us to come inside.

They sang:

The windows of heaven are open.

God’s blessings are falling tonight.

There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart,

Since Jesus made everything right.

I gave Him my old tattered garment.

He gave me a robe of pure white.

I’m feasting on manna from heaven.

And that’s why I’m happy tonight.

 

Old Jim and me? Well, he looked at me and nodded and I nodded back as he shifted the weight of his bag to the other shoulder. I picked mine own bag up and we both went inside!

 

 

 

References:

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10

Isaiah 9:6

Acts 2:38

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 14, 2016 at 2:08 pm

My Name Is Leah

with 11 comments

 

leah-wface

My Name Is Leah

My name is Leah and I am the oldest daughter of Laban. My sister, Rachel, is younger than I and everyone says she is very beautiful. She was the village favorite. (Gen 29:17) When visitors first meet us, they seem to be smitten by her beauty and repulsed when they look at me. I’m not beautiful and I’ve had to live with that all my life.

The lives of our whole family changed however, when Jacob arrived in our village. He looked travel worn and he was penniless. My father told us that his family was originally from our village and was well respected.

I saw immediately that Jacob was smitten by the looks of Rachel. I had expected that. Everyone noticed how he looked in her direction and tried to catch her eye if he could. He immediately asked my dad for a job and worked tending to our cattle.

I was crushed when I realized he wanted to marry my sister. I cried sometimes when I could be alone. It seemed like romance was for everyone but me. Jacob bargained with dad to work seven years for Rachel to be his bride. Jacob courted her and I tried to mind my own business and stay out of their way. They were so much in love. Love for me was always a one-way street. No one loved me back.

The wedding was a big celebration! All our relatives and the whole village came. My father sat Rachel and me down for a very private talk prior to the wedding. He informed Rachel that he had a plan. He said that adhering to the village custom of marrying off the oldest daughter first was a custom to be honored, and that rightly I should be the bride. (Gen 29:26) Dad said that he didn’t think Jacob would leave anyway and that he felt he would hang around long enough to marry the both of us. Rachel was crestfallen. I was surprised and happy. We were all unsure of Jacob’s reaction to me when he found out the truth, but planned to go ahead with the switch.

We pulled it off too. At the wedding, I was ecstatic and scared at the same time and afraid to look at Rachel because I felt her disappointment. It was evident to me that my sister truly began to hate and despise me. I stole her man. Although she was beautiful, she was bitter, and envious. I felt the full force of her hatred. Our bond of sisterhood stood on rocky ground.

The next morning Jacob woke up and looked at my face for the first time in the light of day. I cannot describe the shock and utter disappointment in his eyes. Maybe it was more akin to disgust. I can never fully explain the feeling of being married to a man who doesn’t love you. All you can think about is him and all he can think about is another woman.

Jacob made a covenant with my father to work seven more years for Rachel. He intended to marry us both.

I named my children according to the conditions of my marital status at the times of their births.

 

Rueben

I named my first son, Reuben. His name means, “Behold a son. The Lord has seen (in Hebrew ra’ah) my affliction” and “now my husband will love me (ye’ehabani)”(Genesis 29:32). I praised God for showing me this favor. I could hold my head up in the village. All would know that I had given my husband a son. I was now considered a worthy wife. It was as though God had seen that I was unloved and He opened my womb.

Rachel showed her true self again. I thought surely now Jacob will love me. But no, it didn’t change a thing. Rachel’s love toward me seemed to be gone. Jacob saved all his sweet words for her. They were lost in each other’s worlds.

All I did was cook, clean, take care of the baby and look after my husbands needs. I certainly never felt loved or cherished. I was only there for the needs of the man. My own needs were not to be considered. Ever.

 

Simeon

When my second child was born, it was a boy. I named him, Simeon because “the Lord heard (shama) that I was unloved”(Genesis 29:33). It was no secret that my husband didn’t love me. I guess my only purpose was to provide him with sons.

God knew my sorrow and tried to comfort me. I cried much and kept to myself. There was little benefit for me to make myself available to Jacob in social settings. I was not his trophy wife. I was treated as a second-class wife. He would not walk me around the village and show me off. I felt like a second-class wife because I wasn’t beautiful. Jacob was evidently too foolish to see beyond the face. I stayed in the tent and cared for the babies.

 

Levi

In the process of time I realized I was to have another child. My third baby was also a boy. I named him Levi thinking “this time my husband will become attached (yillaweh) to me”(Genesis 29:34).

All I ever wanted was for him to love me and to show it by saying something sweet or doing something nice. It never happened.

I knew that feeling sorry for myself was not doing me any good. I started thinking and realized that God had been gracious to me through it all. Was my world perfect? No. Not that I could see or feel, yet I believed God was good. He had blessed me and given me sons. I may not have the beauty of my sister, but I made up my mind to be a good wife and a good mother of our children and to be beautiful on the inside.

I learned to turn my face toward Jehovah and thank Him for what I did have instead of focusing on what I didn’t.

 

Judah

My fourth son’s name had nothing to do with my relationship with my husband. I named him Judah because I had made up my mind, “this time I will praise (odeh) the Lord”(Genesis 29:35).

After I had our four children, Jacob’s next two sons were born to Rachel’s maid Bilhah. She had given her handmaid to Jacob out of desperation. I felt sorry for her, so I then gave Jacob my own maid, Zilpah, as a concubine. Zilpah gave him two sons, Gad and Asher.

 

Issachar

One time, during a harvest, Reuben brought me some mandrakes. Rachel wanted them and said that if I gave them to her she would let me have her night to sleep with Jacob in exchange. After that, my fifth son was born. I named him Issachar. It means, “He will bring a reward.” (Genesis 30:14-18)

As a mother I can tell that although Jacob is kind to my children, he doesn’t dote on them. It makes my heart hurt. Maybe when he looks on them, they remind him of me. If he can’t love me, then my prayer is that he would love our sons.

 

The Stolen Idols

The relationship between my husband and my father turned really sour. Jacob told me that the last time he looked at my dad, he could tell that things between them had drastically changed by the expression on his face, (Gen 31:2) and that the Lord had spoken to him and told him we must leave here immediately.

When Rachel heard the news, and knowing that father just left with the sheep, she went into his tent and stole his gods. We left in the middle of the night and we were gone three days before my dad found out. But when he found out he was very angry and chased hard after us. It took him almost week to finally catch up.

He hollered and yelled loud at Jacob accusing him of everything he could think of. He wanted to know why we had left and when he found out that it was because we didn’t trust him and that he was dishonest, he really got mad.

Jacob told dad, “Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.” (Gen 31:41)

Dad said we had stolen his gods. Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had hidden them in her tent. He gave dad permission to search everyone’s tent and all their possessions and look for his gods. He never found them because his little pet, the baby of the family was sly. Rachel sat on a pile of carpets that hid the idols and told Dad she couldn’t get up because she was “after the manner of women.” She just batted her big brown eyes at him and he smiled back and never made her move.

The idols were not found, so my father and my husband piled up a heap of stones and made a covenant of friendship, and then he kissed us girls and the grandchildren a final goodbye and departed, leaving us to live in peace.

 

The Coming Of Esau

Jacob shared many stories about his boyhood. Evidently, he and his brother, Esau were total opposites. He told us about his father becoming old and going blind. Custom was that the oldest son inherited two thirds of the father’s goods and the rest of the children equally divided up the remaining third.

Jacob said that one day he caught Esau at a weak moment and bartered with him for his birthright. The problem was in getting the birthright blessing from the father. His father doted on Esau because of his prowess as a hunter and outdoorsman. But, Jacob was his mother’s pet. When it was time to receive the blessing, she helped him deceive his father and obtain the birthright blessing prayer.

He had to leave home immediately because when Esau found out that his birthright had been stolen, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. Now, word just arrived after all these years that Esau was indeed coming for him with a mighty army of soldiers threatening to kill him.

Jacob said that we were all to cross over the ford Jabbok and wait while he stayed there to pray. He fervently prayed and an Angel came and began to wrestle with him. They wrestled all night long. Finally the Angel begged to be let go but Jacob said that he wouldn’t let him go until he got a blessing from him.

The angel said that he was changing his name. He would now be called, Israel, because he would now have power with God and with men. (Gen. 32:28)

The Angel smote Jacob on the thigh to break his hold. It forever affected how he walked from then on. He limped for the rest of his life.

In the morning when we arose, we saw Jacob hurriedly limping towards us. He said that Esau was coming and there would no doubt be bloodshed. He divided up the children putting the animals, the servants and their children first.

He then put my children and me next, because we too were more expendable. But, he kept Rachel and her son at the back with him. He may lose the rest of us but he wanted to keep her alive. It was very plain where I stood with him even after all these years. (Gen 33:2)

When Esau came and confronted us, Jacob humbled himself and sent him large gifts. Before long the two ran towards each other, fell on each other’s necks and kissed. I took my children toward Esau and we bowed down before him in respect. All ended peaceable. We were certainly relieved and after the meeting and we all gave thanks unto God.

 

Zebulun

My next son, I named Zebulun. He was to be my last boy. His name means to dwell. He was Jacob’s tenth son and my sixth. I later had a daughter, whom I named Dinah, before Rachel gave birth to her first child.

 

Joseph

When Rachel gave birth to her little Joseph, Jacob was beside himself with joy. He showed that baby more attention than he ever had to all of the others. The children could all tell that Joseph was his favorite.

All we heard around the tent from Jacob was news about Joseph. He doted on him. The other children watched wistfully knowing that they were not loved like that. He made special clothes for him and gave him gifts that were better than he gave to my sons.

Rachel seemed to feel like nothing was wrong with Jacob giving so much attention to her son and very little to his other ten sons.

 

The Trip To Bethel

Jacob said that God had told him that we were all to return to the Bethel. Jacob said that we were to wash and be clean, change our clothes, and put away our idols. So, all of our family and our servants did as he asked. We knew the worship of our gods required the wearing of earrings, so we gave them to Jacob along with our gods. (Gen 35:1-4; Hosea 2:13) He took what we gave him and buried all of it under the big oak tree in Shechem.

We traveled on to Bethel, the place where God first met with our husband. The first thing Jacob did was to build an altar and offer up a sacrifice of repentance. God accepted his prayers and blessed him. It was there that his mother’s nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried at Bethel. Jacob grieved hard because she was his last living connection with his mother and father.

 

Benjamin

When we left Bethel, Rachel went into labor. She died giving birth to her second son. It was so tragic. We were in shock. Before she died, Rachel named her son Benoni (“son of my mourning”), but Jacob called him Benjamin. (Gen. 35:18)

Rachel had passionately said, Give me children, or else I die; and now that she had children, she died!

Jacob made no attempt to bury Rachel with his family like I thought he would do since he loved her so much. He just buried her beside the highway and placed a marker on her lonely grave. If he would bury his favorite wife beside the road at the first available spot, where would he bury me? Would I too be given a roadside burial?

After Rachel died, Jacob replaced her bed, which was beside his, with her handmaiden Bilhah’s bed. It so infuriated my son Rueben that he overturned Bilhah’s bed and rebuked his father. Jacob never forgot that moment and mentioned it on the day he pronounced blessings and prayers upon his sons. (Gen. 49:3-4)

 

Epilogue

Leah’s outward appearance may have been unattractive to others, but God was attracted to her because of her inward beauty. He chose her. It was Leah, not Rachel, who bore Judah, and it was through his bloodline that the Savior was born.

After Rachel’s death, Leah carried on as the wife of Jacob, and the mother of his many children, living in Canaan. The Bible does not say when she died, but Leah is buried in the family burial tomb of Machpelah, beside her husband Jacob with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah. (Genesis 49:29-31). Leah was loved too late. Her real beauty unnoticed most of her life. Yet, in her death and burial she was shown great honor and respect.

 

The Life Lesson Of Leah

Sometimes in life we wake up to the very thing we don’t want. Life doesn’t always give you a Rachel. Although you find it difficult to love the “Ugly Leah Situation” that is forever connected to you, it just may wind up being your greatest life blessing. Surprisingly, you may find yourself saying the words, “I love you” to the very thing you once hated.

The Leah in your life never changed, you did. Her beauty wasn’t on the outside, so no one took the time to see what God could see all along. Leah was beautiful where it counted the most. She was beautiful on the inside. Don’t hate your “Leah”; she is God’s gift to you. Do not despise the ugly thing in life that you suddenly have to wake up to. Your “Leah” may be a bad Doctor’s Report, a Financial Disaster, a Broken Marriage, a Physical Disability or even Heartache. Embrace it. It just may be a gift from God to you!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 8, 2016 at 11:15 am