While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine. And Israel heard of it. Genesis 35:22
Bilhah is a woman without rights. She was Rachel’s maid all the way back to Rachel’s youth. She learned to obey orders very young. She never knew freedom. When Rachel couldn’t conceive, she gave Bilhah to Jacob as a secondary wife. She was used as a surrogate mother to conceive babies. Once they were born, Rachel took them from her and adopted them as her own. Once again, Bilhah had no choice.
Years later, she was victimized again as Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben, took her honor. He snuck in her tent and in the darkness, lay with her. Bilhah could write books on what it means to be victimized. Did she know God? I want to believe so. She was immersed in all the teaching, the worship, the building of altars at pinnacle moments of the family’s faith. She saw it all and probably clung to God for the strength to endure hardship.
What can be said for the Bilhahs of this world? Perhaps you are one. Your life seems like a set up as choices were made for you. How do you come to believe in a God that appears to bless some and curse others? Those with heartbreaking stories have posed the question to me on many occasions. Can He be trusted?
God’s feelings toward Bilhah are not revealed, nor are her feelings for God recorded. But lest God become someone over whom I stumble, the whole context of scripture is at my fingertips. A generation earlier, Hagar was in similar circumstances. Used. Spurned. Banished. But in the aftermath of man’s sin and the tragedy that had been thrust upon this young mother, God’s character shone through when He remembered her and met her personally in an unforgiving desert. He revealed Himself as the ‘God who sees her.’ El-Roi
If I measure God’s goodness by my own story, He can look guilty. I must widen my view and live in the scriptures. I must rest in God’s overarching redemptive plan that includes the provision of a Savior who redeems tragic stories. I must look ahead to Paradise where faithfulness will be rewarded and where sin will be judged. There, the first will be last and the last will be first. Hagars and Bilhahs will lead the way in heaven.
The extent to which God allows one to be crushed, alternatively, that person is given an unequaled capacity to know Him intimately. Treasures of the darkness are promised to the one who seeks God by faith when all evidence against him seems ironclad.
For the one who is Bilhah, disclose Yourself to her today as El-Roi. Amen