Wednesdays for Wives: Don’t Eat that Juicy Apple of Manipulation!

wednesdaysfinal.jpgAnd we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Well ladies, this might be an unpopular subject this week. One we’d rather not talk about. A flaw in our natural character that we’d just as soon keep a secret. But I’m going to put it out there. We have a tendency to be MANIPULATIVE. Ooh, that hurts doesn’t it?

Now before you say, “Who me?”, let me support my claim.

Women have been manipulating men since the beginning of time. Grab a Bible and read the book of Genesis. Wow, whoever said the Bible was boring? That one book alone has more story lines involving the machinations of conniving women than a years’ worth of Days of Our Lives episodes. Like sands through the hour glass so were the sands of the ancient middle east.

It doesn’t take long for the manipulation to start. In Genesis chapter 3 Eve gets Adam to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Women get a little break until we get to chapter 16. There Sarai (later renamed Sara), unable to conceive, conveniences Abram (renamed Abraham)to sleep with her maidservant, and a child is born. This brings all sorts of trouble on Sara, Abraham, Hagar the maidservant, and the child Ishmael. The consequences of Sara’s failed scheme reach far beyond their generation.

Next Abraham’s son Issac, born to Sara at the age of 90 by God’s grace, marries a woman named Rebekah. It appears that she manages to stay our of trouble most of her life, until she decides to help her favorite son Jacob steal his dying father’s blessing from his first-born twin brother Esau who was favored by Issac. She comes up with the plan, and helps Jacob execute it step-by-step, even cooking the food he uses to trick Issac. Again the consequences of Rebekah’s actions are far-reaching, and those closest to the deception pay dearly.

You would think with the family history, Jacob would have learned to stay away from manipulative women, but he ends up marrying two of them in chapter 29. One he’s tricked into marrying. What goes around, comes around? And the other he chooses to marry. They are the sisters Rachael and Leah. Sibling rivalry can be difficult to overcome in the best of circumstances, but forcing sisters to share a husband is beyond the pale. Rachel is beautiful and loved by Jacob, but barren. Leah is less attractive and unloved, but as fertile as a rabbit. They spend their lives being envious of one another, and trying to get what the other has. Leah tries to manipulate Jacob into loving her by giving birth to one baby after another. She even gives Jacob her maidservant to produce yet more offspring for her. Since Rachael can’t conceive on her own, she to convinces Jacob to sleep with her maidservant to produce offspring for her. What a mess!

There is a scene in chapter 30 that beats anything I’ve read or seen on TV or at the movies. Leah’s son Reuben brings back some mandrakes from the field, plants thought to increase fertility. Rachael, still wanting a baby of her own, asks Leah for the plants. Leah at first says no, but Rachael strikes a bargain. Verse 15, “Very well, he (Jacob) can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” Leah agrees to this. When Jacob comes home from the fields that night Leah tells him, verse 16, “You must sleep with me. I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” The Bible doesn’t record Jacob’s reaction. Don’t you think he was just exasperated and weary of his wives’ continuous manipulation?

Again this backfired. Leah got pregnant again, and apparently the mandrakes didn’t help Rachel.

Eventually Rachel did conceive. She bore Joesph and then years later Benjamin. Rachael died from giving birth to Benjamin. All of these children, born of four different mothers and raised in the original dysfunctional family, had all kinds of problems. Not the least of which resulted in 11 of the brothers selling Joseph into slavery then faking his death. If only David Caruso and his team of CSIs had been around back then to examine the manufactured evidence of the torn and bloody Coat of Many Colors.

Have I made the case that woman seem to have an innate need to manipulate the people, especially men, around them? Now most of us probably have never taken it as far as the woman of Genesis. And am willing to bet that the scheming was done in the name of “What’s Best”. We are by nature also nurturers. We want take care of those around us. Sometimes we mistakenly think “taking care” means using our resourcefulness to manipulate circumstances, and the actions of those we care for. Even Sara, Leah, Rachael and Rebeka thought they were helping. They didn’t realize the consequences of their meddling.

So, what’s wrong with taking matters into your own hands and altering the outcome of a situation? First, in doing so you’re trying to control whoever you’re manipulating, instead of allowing them to take their own actions. If it’s your husband, being manipulative is not being submissive. Secondly, and even more dangerous, is the problem that you are usurping God’s plan and not trusting him to work to work matters out.

If Eve had only followed God’s instruction not to eat the fruit she could have lived forever in paradise with Adam. Sarah gave birth to Issac at the age of 90, because God kept his promise that he made to Abraham to make a great nation from his offspring. Had she just been patient and waited on the Lord, a lot of trouble would have been avoided. When Rebekah was pregnant with the twins Jacob and Esau God promised her that Jacob, the younger one, would rule over the older, Esau. But again, instead of trusting God to fulfill his plan, she had to try and make it happen herself. And what of Rachael and Leah? What if each had been content with the blessings God did give them? Rachael happy that her husband loved her, Leah that she had children. What if they tried to live in harmony with one another rather than constantly getting one up on each other? What if they had trusted God to bring them contentment no matter their situation? Oh the family turmoil that would have been avoid had these women not been so manipulative. It never ended in anything but more trouble. And the children! Deceitful manipulative parents raise deceitful manipulative children.

So let’s take a lesson from these women. The next time you’re tempted to interfere with your husband’s life or anyone’s, ask yourself, “Is this really from God? Does this glorify God? Is this part of his plan?” As ripe, juicy and tempting as it may be, don’t take a bite out of that apple of manipulation. Put it down, take a step back and let God work. You might be surprised at the amazing solution he comes up with. I can guarantee it will be even more fascinating than Marlena’s scheme to get John back!

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One Response to “Wednesdays for Wives: Don’t Eat that Juicy Apple of Manipulation!”

  1. Stacey Derbinshire Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Stacey Derbinshire

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