As we continue to work our way through Genesis in these two chapters we see the formation of the tribes of Israel. Originally when I read this story I use to feel so sorry for Jacob, bless his heart there he had been working for his Uncle all those years so he could marry Rachel and what do you know? he switches the brides on him!
Well its been a long time since I felt that way about these chapters and Jacobs actions, I don’t disagree with him being mightily upset he got the wrong bride but you would think he would have noticed before the wedding night perhaps?
So we see Jacob cajoled into honeymooning with his wife Leah under the guise that “its just not the done thing for the younger to marry before the older one” (what a romantic time that must have been for her) and then she is quickly replaced with her younger more attractive sister Rachel.
Everyday, square in her face she sits across from her husband openly loving and affectionate to her sister while she receives scraps at best. That is what is worse for me as I read and form these words into actually living people, Jacob was so open that he loved Rachel the best.
”So not only did Jacob go in and sleep with Rachel, but he also loved Rachel more than Leah. Then he served Laban another seven years” Genesis 29:30
Lets think on that for a while, when you love someone that means you give them the best right? So Rachel had the best clothes, Rachel had the best food, Rachel would have been sat next to him organising family events, Rachel would be the one to share in decisions, Rachel would have the best tent, the best servants, the best donkey, you name it, it fell into her lap because Jacob loved her the best.
Leah would be last, she would have no choice on matters of the family, she would have the worst clothes, the worst food, the worst servants, the worst house, the worst donkey, it would all be worse and she would be last.
You know what I love that the God I serve does not see things the way man sees them, he is a God of justice. Leah listened and honoured her Father, Laban when he concocted the worst plan known to man, what could she have done? God saw and heard the way Jacob treated her poorly so he blessed her with children.
”Adonai saw that Leah was unloved, so he made her fertile, while Rachel remained childless” Genesis 29:30
Its likely that Rachel over this time period of having everything that she could want, became proud, the younger sister likely lauded the fact she was so highly favoured and loved by her husband. Its interesting to note in my NIV verse 31 states but, whereas the CJB says while. Who knows the plan of God but we can see God using these women’s aspirations of motherhood and children to grow them in their faith.
You see the first baby Leah has she names him Reuben, particularly in Jewish culture all names have meanings, and there is a firm belief that the name will determine characteristics of the child. Leah announces on birth of Jacobs first born See a Son! she is overjoyed perhaps this will make him love her – an heir, this must equal the playing field.
Yet even a son doesn’t seem to have altered Jacobs feelings towards Leah, she is still second class, second rate and he will do his duty towards her but that is as good as its going to get.
Leah has two more sons Simeon (hearing) and Levi (joining) its so desperately sad that Leah longs for her husband to hear her, see her as equal she wants to be joined to him like a true wife should be.
I long to add a few choice words I feel about Jacob but I will refrain!
We see a change in son number four, she names him Judah. Its likely Leah awoke to reality, there was no way she could change her circumstance but God could! There is no one on this earth who can love you, wholly and completely no one – apart from God.
If you put your self worth on the opinions of men, friends, family, boyfriend, whoever, it will leave you feeling incomplete. Leah realised this and named her fourth son Judah which means Praise. In dejection from her husband but sealed with hope she declares “This time I will Praise Adonai”Her sister takes a while to learn the lesson that there nothing we can do alone that can match the heights, depth and breadth of God’s love and compassion for us. Anything good in this world comes from God alone. So we witness Rachel using her maid servant, then using mandrakes, to beget her children.
Finally we see with Leah’s final son the journey she has gone through to true faith and dependence on God she names him Zebulun. God has presented me with a precious gift she says, my husband will treat me with honour.
Honour, not for anything that she has done but for what God has done through her. It is Leah’s son Judah who is an ancestor of David and Christ.
Take heart you might be in a season right now where you are last, the last to be picked for a team, you might not have a centre role that is praised – this can even happen a church. God doesn’t see things the way men see things. You are highly favoured, loved and chosen, bought by the blood of his only son!