“Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel … ” Genesis 29:17-18a (NIV)
When I was in high school, I watched romantic movies and woefully cried out to God, “Please give me a boyfriend!”
I believe we all crave love and affection. It’s a God-given desire that’s been around for ages.
Just go back to the book of beginnings — Genesis — and you’ll find many love stories. Consider Leah and her popular sister, Rachel. Leah was the older sister (who wants to be introduced as old?) whose eyes were weak and delicate. This signified her sight was weak or that her eyes lacked luster and beauty.
She was the opposite of her younger sister Rachel who was “beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:17, NKJV). She would have been the girl on Instagram with the perfect figure. Talk about cause for sibling rivalry!
Perhaps you’re familiar with the ironic twist on Jacob’s wedding day. Jacob wanted to marry the gorgeous Rachel, so he worked for seven years to earn her hand in marriage. But on his wedding night, he was not given Rachel. He was given Leah, and amid the dark (and possibly drunken) chaos of the wedding celebration, he had no idea until morning that he married the “wrong” sister.
The explanation? Laban, the girls’ father, had given Leah in marriage because it was the custom for the older girl to marry first. Jacob could have Rachel if he worked for Laban another seven years.
We often pity Jacob who got duped into working an extra seven years, but what about Leah? Can you imagine waking up after your wedding night to discover sheer disappointment in your new husband’s eyes when he sees it’s you, not your beautiful, younger sister? That must have been so humiliating and devastating.
Genesis 29:30 tells us Jacob’s love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. Yet when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He enabled her to conceive while Rachel remained childless. With every son, Leah thought her husband’s heart would turn toward her.
With her first son, Reuben, which means “Look, a son,” Leah said, “Surely my husband will love me now” (Genesis 29:32b, NIV).
With her second son, Simeon, which means “Heard,” she declared, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too” (Genesis 29:33b, NIV).
With her third son, Levi, which means “Attached,” she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me” (Genesis 29:34b, NIV).
Do you hear her continued pain at being Jacob’s less-loved wife? The joy of motherhood was shadowed by grief from unreciprocated love and loyalty.
Finally, something changed with her fourth child, Judah, which means “Praise.” When she gave birth, instead of longing for her husband’s love, she said, “This time I will praise the LORD” (Genesis 29:35b, NIV).
This time I will praise the Lord.
In all our striving and longing for love, may we stop and declare with Leah, “This time I will praise the LORD.” When we praise God first, we find all the love in the world at our disposal.
Out of the tribe of Judah came the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Sure, Jacob had 12 sons, but which one does Scripture mention in Jesus’ lineage? Only Leah’s son, Judah: “Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers …” (Matthew 1:2, NIV).
From the lineage of an unloved woman, second best and the object of her sister’s scorn came the Messiah. God saw Leah … and loved her. May we, too, stop nurturing our feelings of rejection and instead, turn in praise to the God who can fix it all.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me and always seeing me. I’m so grateful I am not invisible to You. You call me the apple of Your eye, the crown of creation, friend and beloved. I will echo Leah and declare that, “I will praise the LORD.” You are worthy of all praise, blessing, honor and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Jeremiah 31:3-4, “Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines.’” (NLT)
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Comparing ourselves to others online can spark pity parties instead of praise parties, especially for young girls. If you have a teen or tween in your life, Arlene Pellicane has a free video course to equip you, called Screen Time: 3 Reasons Why Your Daughter Can’t Stop. It’s perfect for any woman who works with girls or mentors a girl!
REFLECT AND RESPOND
When in your life have you felt unloved? How did God minister to you during that time?
Think of someone you know who might be feeling unloved right now. Take a moment to pray, and do something to express God’s love for them this week.
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