The story of Leah is a beautiful, overlooked tale in the Bible. She was unwanted and unattractive.
Her husband, Jacob, loved her sister Rachel, his other wife, but not Leah. By her husband, her sister and even society in general, Leah was hated and God noticed. Because of this, he gave Leah the ability to have children and left Rachel barren.
While we don’t get much info on Leah or her life, the little bit we do see is very telling. Leah’s firstborn is named Reuben. To Leah, Reuben was hope. Finally, now Jacob would love her too. He would have to since she gave him a son, Leah thought. Except he didn’t. Then again with Simeon and Levi, Leah saw them as hope that Jacob would notice her although she does lower expectations. With Reuben, she used named him after the word “love” but when Levi comes along, Leah is only hoping for “attachment.” Still, no love comes from her husband.
At this point, I’m imagining Leah hits rock bottom and realizes that if Jacob won’t love her for having three sons, she will never be able to earn his love. Leah will always be second best to her sister Rachel. Somewhere between being rejected once again by Jacob and having her fourth son, Leah comes to a life changing revelation. It reminds me of when Job says, “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Leah bases the name for her 4th son, Judah, on her attitude change because now she was simply going to praise the LORD.
Leah is unloved and forgotten by her husband but not by the LORD. He wooed her and comforted her. After Leah reaches contentment, she ceases having children. To me, this says that Leah was truly content with the LORD and no longer worried about pleasing Jacob.
You are loved by God. He is enough. He is all you need. Sometimes he uses methods that we mere mortals don’t understand. However, everything in the universe and everything that happens to you- that is God proclaiming his love for you. He is telling you that you are good enough. His love is enough. You don’t need anything else. Nothing else will satisfy you. So, do you know which of Jacob’s 12 sons were in the line of Jesus? It was Judah. Leah’s son named for her praise of God. Seriously? The literature nerd in me is going crazy. Can you get more perfectly cute than that?
Leah does have more sons later on and I don’t know if she stayed content in the LORD all her life. But that’s not really the point of Leah’s story. Growing up, I remember thinking Rachel has it so much better and if I had to be one, I’d wanna be Rach. But I don’t wanna be Rachel anymore. She’s portrayed as somewhat petty. She worships her family’s household gods and steals from and then subsequently lies to her father. Leah’s not perfect. But that’s kind of the point. She’s real. She has problems and she grows and understands life better. Leah is unattractive but she is wooed by the creator of the universe.
I am Leah not Rachel. I am fighting to be loved and noticed and appreciated. All the while, I forget the most important truth of all: Jesus died to save me from eternal damnation and to give me life abundant. The entire Bible and the short story of Leah can be summarized the exact same way: The creator of the universe loves you more deeply than you can imagine and he wants you to know that. He wants you to love him back and realize that the meaning of life is to seek and find contentment in him.
I hope we all realize that though we feel unloved like Leah, we are loved; truly, madly, deeply (I wanna stand with you on a mountain).
Also, please excuse the Savage Garden reference. It's 2014 for goodness sake!
Read about Anna, another woman of faith who inspired me too!
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