Being romantics, most of us women enjoy wedding stories even if it is not our own. So, let’s take a peak at Leah and Jacob’s wedding in the 29th chapter of Genesis. It was the morning after Leah’s wedding night. She heard voices outside of her tent, which she recognized as being her new husband, Jacob and her father, Laban. As she listened intently, she heard the most chilling words a bride could hear coming from her husband’s mouth: “What is this you have done to me?” “Was it not for Rachael that I served you.” “Why then have you deceived me and given me Leah and not Rachael?” [Genesis 29:25]
Right away, I’m sure you recognize that this is not a typical wedding for women in our society. You see, Jacob had bargained with Laban for Leah’s gorgeous sister, Rachael. He had even endured seven years of hard labor in exchange to marry her. As was the custom in those days, he waited in the dark tent after the ceremony for his bride to be delivered to him. What a shock to awake the next morning and find that plain-looking Leah had been substituted for gorgeous Rachel.
It’s easy to get caught up feeling sorry for Jacob. After all, a bargain is a bargain. But, put yourself in Leah’s position as she heard her husband and father discussing the situation. Here you see a picture of a father who was supposed to show affirmation, appreciation, unconditional love, and who was supposed to represent the very image of God to her, but had instead presented Leah as the “loser’s prize.” How would you feel about your new groom who was intimate with you, took what he wanted, but didn’t even recognize who you were until the morning after? I shudder to think of it!!
As Leah continued to listen to the two men talking, she heard them cut another deal. Jacob could marry Rachael, too, if he agreed to work for Laban another seven years. And so it was, one week after Leah’s wedding night, Rachael moved in. Can you imagine sharing your husband with your sister? Leah became the unloved and undesired wife.
Genesis 29: 31 says: when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb; but Rachael was barren.” The key words in that verse are: The Lord Saw. He saw that Leah was not loved for the beautiful woman she was. So God compensated her with one of the greatest joys a woman could have---Motherhood.
What was Leah’s attitude toward the Lord’s gift of Motherhood to her? Each child’s name and their meaning captures Leah’s attitude. [John Wesley Commentary]
Reuben: [Behold a Son or Look] In a culture that placed high value on sons, Leah interpreted her first son as God’s way of enabling her to gain her husband’s love. But it didn’t work that way.
Simeon: [Hearing] Leah said “the Lord heard I was still unloved, so he gave me a second son.” “Surely, this time Jacob will love me.” But, he didn’t.
Levi: [Joined] Leah explained his name this way, “Now at least my husband will become attached to me.” But all her efforts with God’s help proved fruitless. Jacob still had eyes only for Rachel.
What was Leah doing with each child? She was trying to win Jacob’s love! Just like Leah, many women in our society go to great lengths to win or keep the love of a spouse or boyfriend, only to have their hopes fall by the wayside. Many children spend a lifetime trying to win the love and approval of their parents to no avail. It’s easy to become disillusioned about a relationship we desire to have, but not quite within our reach. We plot and scheme in order to achieve it, but just like Leah, it doesn’t work.
But, something changed in Leah as she bore her 4th child. She named him Judah, which means Praise. Leah turned from longing for Jacob’s love to accepting God’s love. Did Jacob change? No, but Leah changed her focus and realized it was God who gave her unconditional love, worth, and significance.
And so, if Valentine Day passed you by and you were left feeling unloved, unaccepted, and unappreciated by people in your life, The Lord Saw. Today, He has a post Valentine message just for you.
For a Special Daughter
You were made in my image. [Gen. 1:27] I knew you before you were conceived. [Jerm. 1:4-5] I knitted you together in your Mother’s womb. [Ps. 139:13] I am familiar with all your ways. [Gen. 1:27]
My thoughts of you are more in number than the sand. [Ps. 139:17-18] I know when you sit down and rise up. [Ps. 139:2] You are my treasured possession. [Ex. 19:5] My plan for your future is filled with hope. [Jerm. 29:11]
I am your husband and best friend. [Is. 54:5; John 3:15] I am also your father and I love you as I do my son, Jesus. [John 17:23] For in Jesus my love for you is revealed. [John 17:26] He came to demonstrate that I am for you not against you. [Rom. 8:31]
My son’s death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. [1 John 4:10] I gave up everything I loved so that I might gain your love. [Rom. 8:31-32] If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. [1 John 2:23] And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. [Rom. 8:38-39]