The story about to be shared is about a young lady, Leah. I hope that this story,will bring you comfort through your hardships, courage to forge on, and the knowledge of God’s love and sovereign grace.
Leah was first introduced in Genesis 29. In this chapter Jacob was fleeing the wrath of his brother Esau. Jacob was guilty for having deceitfully received the blessing that his father intended to give his brother. So in the quest for preserving his life, and seeking a new beginning, he arrives at Haran where his mother’s brother lives. His uncle Laban received him with open arms and Jacob was quick to begin serving Laban diligently. As such, after a month of staying with his uncle, we read in Genesis 29:15-19 that;
“Laban said to him, ‘You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.’ Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, ‘I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.’ “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.”
Seven years passed, but to Jacob, "His love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few years." His uncle threw a big party to celebrate the union, and at night time, his bride was given him. At this point Jacob it is safe to say that this young man was elated! The woman of his dreams after much working and waiting was now his. So he consummated the marriage to the one he thought was Rachel. In the morning following the union however, Jacob found out that His uncle Laban had deceitfully given him the wrong sister! Many negotiations later, his desired wife is given to him within a week and he is forced to serve for another seven years.
That deceit brings a lot of thoughts my way. Firstly, how would the young lady Leah feel? Her own father, gave her away to a man that cared nothing to marry her. Also, that must have created tension between her and her sister. For seven years, her younger sister had ‘dated’ this man, knowing that he was soon to be hers. Then that very time comes and her older sister is the focus. Leah who had no hand in this deceit received the worst treatment- angry, discontent husband, a sister who probably cannot even look her in the eye and friends who cannot believe she would stoop so low!
Through all this she begins to bare children; and the names of her first 4 sons show the state of of her mind and heart. Reuben- “God has looked on my affliction, now my husband will love me”. Simeon- “God heard that I’m unloved and he has given me this son. Levi- My husband will become attached to me because I’ve borne him 3 sons Judah- Let God be praised. One thing is for sure, Leah is a praying woman. In her miserable state, she continues to petition her Lord for children and relief of her suffering. Also it is evident, she is earnestly desiring love, attention and affection from this man who only seems to be a bed-mate. The lowest point in the entire story of Leah is found in Genesis 30:13-16; when she gave of the mandrakes her son had brought for her to her sister, in exchange for a night with their husband. That act showed not only a desperation, but a lack of shame and self-worth. Indeed this story, with primary focus on Leah, showcases God working through the unhappy, lonely and most negative times in her life to still bring to effect his purpose.
What purpose could that be? you ask... Well, this woman is in the lineage of Jesus! She is the mother of Judah(Jacob’s 4th son). Jacob’s 12 sons became the tribes of Israel and Judah is the tribe that King David came from, and also it’s the tribe that the Messiah- the Lion of that tribe himself descended from! So this unloved, neglected, plain-looking woman was loved, pampered and beautiful in God’s sight! Not only that, regardless of how she’s perceived in her world, in His eyes she is priceless.
This is not to say that Leah was perfect! Not at all, she could have being more steadfast in prayer and faith, perhaps been more positive, less jealous, and the list goes on. But through it all, she persevered; something a lot of us lack today. And in the end, we see in Genesis 49:31; she was buried alongside the greats- Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and her shared earth husband Israel. Yes, the imperfect and unloved Leah was chosen of the King to mother the tribe of the Messiah. Just like that, we irrelevant, perhaps overlooked and unappreciated daughters of the king will be empowered by His Spirit to accomplish our purpose on earth. Amen.