When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.”
Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
She said, “Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her.” She gave him Bilhah her handmaid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore called she his name Dan. Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.” She named him Naphtali.
Here we read that Jacob and His family continued to make a mess of things, and that God continued to work out His good plan. It was not good that Rachel gave her handmaid as another wife to Jacob any more than it was good for her to envy her sister. It wasn’t good for Jacob to have sex with the handmaid, but God got his work done. God got Dan and Naphtali.
God loves us all and gives us all a chance. Every single one of us are born in his image. God won’t hold the guilt of the parents against the children. The real trouble is that the children often learn to do the same wrong things that their parents do, but if they stop doing that, God will see it and accept it. When we trust that Jesus can help us stop doing what is wrong, He will help us.
Hebrew names have meanings so this record tells us why the children were given the names that they were given. Jacob’s name means “usurper” and that’s what He really did, but things were going to change, even for him because God wasn’t done working on him yet. He doesn’t give up on us either, even when we make a mess of our households.
How wrong it is to think that God is mean and ready to destroy us at every turn. Obviously, the Bible shows us that God is patient, loving, merciful and sacrificial. May He give us the power to do the same.