I am doing a study on the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and God showed me something really exciting today. I was reading about Jacob wrestling with God. After he had wrestled with God, he set up an altar to God and called it El Elohe Israel, which translated means “The God of Israel”. He wasn’t referring to Israel the nation, because it didn’t exist yet – he was referring to the new name that God had given him after he had wrestled and God blessed him.
Up to this point in Jacob’s story, he had always referred to God as “the God of my Fathers Abraham and Isaac”. At this point, after he had a very personal encounter with God, he recognizes him as “The God of Israel (Jacob)”. This passage implies that these guys recognized God as their God not when they put their faith and belief in Him (which Jacob had done much earlier in life), but when they had a very personal encounter with Him. God was definitely speaking to and leading Jacob before this very personal wrestling match that they had – He had spoken to Jacob through many dreams (one in particular that gives the often used Sunday School illustration of “Jacob’s Ladder”), but it wasn’t until Jacob met God face to face and God blessed him personally that he referred to Him as “The God of me”.
I was pondering points in my life where I recognized that God was “The God of Rachel”. I actually thought of several, but one stuck out in particular as an obvious, personal encounter that I had with God where He blessed me and let me know that He was my God and cared about me personally. Below is the story of God being the God of Rachel:
It was September 1st, 2004 – a date I will never forget. At the time, I had three “spiritual daughters” – girls that God had put into my life for me to help in many ways, but especially to help them know God. They were all very, very precious to me, and were all struggling with one, two, or hundreds of issues in their lives. This ministry that God has given me is so amazing, but so difficult – because people who are hurting that bad don’t always have an easy road to God. I was not and am not in any way equipped to handle it, but God somehow miraculously chooses to work through me (He does all the work!!). On that particular day, I was hurting very badly for one of them who had just rejected God after having had an amazing salvation experience just months before. I was feeling very hopeless and despairing, because I felt like all of the time, energy, prayers, and emotions that I was expending for these girls was having no impact at all. It was a Wednesday, so I was up at Church for praise team practice. I had some time before practice, so I went into the Prayer Room to share my heart with God. I was writing in my spiritual journal, and had just read Psalm 119:63: “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.” This reminded me once again how grieved I was that my daughters couldn’t seem to consistently follow God or even consistently desire to follow God, and I wrote the following prayer: “Please give me hope that people truly can and do turn from worldly ways and choose You once and for all! I am a little frustrated and dismayed at how many times my daughters have turned to You, seen Your miracles and felt Your presence and then choose to walk away. It breaks my heart! Please reassure me that my daughters can and will turn completely to You in Your perfect timing!”
Continuing down in Ps. 119, I read v. 67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.” I read it a couple of times, and I thought “Well, I want them to obey His word, so what exactly is this saying needs to happen first?” So I opened the KJV bible in the prayer room to read it again for further insight, but it said the same thing, word for word. However, there was a reference in the KJV bible for Jeremiah 31:18-19. So I went back to my bible (NIV) and turned to Jeremiah and read the passage. It was very good and seemed to apply, so I skipped up a few verses to get the context and started to read in v. 15. And what I read gave me chills and made my mouth drop to the ground. Here is the text:
15 This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” 16 This is what the LORD says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD . “They will return from the land of the enemy. 17 So there is hope for your future,” declares the LORD . “Your children will return to their own land. “
I couldn’t believe what I read!!! The verses would have been cool enough on their own, but to actually have My name in it – and to use it in reference to my children!!!! I was just amazed at how quickly and clearly God answered my prayer for reassurance that He did hear my prayers for my daughters and that he would deliver them from the land of the enemy!!!
God had spoken to me through His Word before that point, but never so clearly and miraculously! I would have never turned to Jeremiah had I not opened the KJV bible that was in the prayer room, and there aren’t a whole lot of verses in the bible that reference Rachel’s children! This was just an amazing reminder that the Bible really is the Living Word of God, and He can and does use it today to speak to each of us individually!
Since that day in 2004, God has definitely answered His promise. He has gone to great lengths to restore those three girls to him. In fact, the one I was so burdened about that day is unbelievably in love with God and is involved daily in ministry for Him. I am sure that she would refer to God as “The God of her”. God has also increased my ministry to include several other girls since that point. Although they all do still struggle at times, God has proven time and time again that when He promises something, He will fulfill it, and He has – and will continue to do so.
So I will confidently say that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is also the God of Rachel.