God listens and remembers. We must remember that the words “remembered” and “listened to” can mean several different things. And when they are applied to God we must be careful where we tread. We must keep in mind that when God allowed his characteristics to be explained through human speech and language he was condescending or coming down to our level. If we assume that we can capture God’s essence through words or encapsulate God’s thoughts by using English, or any language for that matter, we are in danger of assuming that God is finite like our universe. He is not. He exists outside of our reality of time and space. Words derive meaning from time and space and so language will never be able to capture who God is completely. God allows us to use language to describe him for our benefit because in some real way we are getting to know God. But to assume we can figure God out using language is foolishness. We are worse off than an ant trying to explain what the earth is like. When we listen we use our physical ears. God does not have ears. We listen to learn something about our surroundings. God does not learn and transcends all things. When we remember it is because we lost recall of an idea or memory. God has and always will know everything. There is no way for God to not know everything, So listening and remembering take on a whole different level when we apply these words to God. When the Bible says here that God remembers and listens to Rachel that means that God knows Rachel and her situation and her desire and he has chosen to act on her behalf. God had chosen to place his favor on her at this specific time in history. God subtracts through addition. Finally, at the end of all the baby competition and mistreatment of people, Rachel has a child and she turns and says, “God did this.” In fact, she not only uses the Hebrew word for God but also invokes the divine name. “May the LORD (Yahweh) add to me another son!” She says that God took away her reproach by giving her Joseph. Much of the reproach that she might have been experiencing was her own doing but now no one could say that she was childless. By naming her son Joseph and saying “may the LORD add to me another son,” she could be suggesting two different things both of which are fitting. Is her desire for children so great that even though she has a son she can barely thank God for him because she wants another? I have Joseph but God add me another one! Or is she thanking God and praising his grace. This is just the beginning, a down payment, on what else God will do. I have Joseph but God will give me more. Both are possible answers, and both could be answered in the birth of Benjamin and her subsequent death. I’ll let you grapple with which one you think it is.