Continuing our series on women in the Bible. I wanna talk about a woman that isn’t talked about a lot unless she is included in her sister’s story.
Leah was the older sister of Rachel and her story is one that would make you feel a lot of empathy towards her but will show you what happens when we try to seek validation from another human instead of God. Leah’s story can be found in Genesis 29 and 30. I would try to go straight to the point and only includes verses when I feel it’s necessary to do so for better understanding.
In Genesis 29:14-15, Jacob had been staying with his uncle Laban (remember Laban, Rebekah’s brother) for a whole month and working for him when his uncle asked him what he would like to be paid for the work he had been doing. In verse 17, we are given a description of Laban’s two daughters, it says “Leah had attractive eyes but Rachel had a beautiful figure and beautiful features”. So basically, Rachel was more beautiful than her sister Leah.
If you read Genesis 29:1-13, you would have a picture of Jacob’s first encounter with Rachel and in verse 18, we are told that he loved Rachel and replied to his uncle’s suggestion of him being paid saying “I’ll work seven years in return for your younger daughter”. First of all, Rachel must have been one extraordinary woman for Jacob to be willing to work seven whole years. Think about how long seven years is. Seven years ago, I was 14 and a whole lot has happened between then and now. Laban agreed to this and verse 20 says “Jacob worked seven years in return for Rachel but the years seemed only like a few days to him because he loved her”. Wow, that is really a man in love.
But like every beautiful love story, we hit a bump (or in this case, a whole mountain) in the road. In verses 21-27, Jacob asks Laban for his wife and after the wedding feast, Laban takes his daughter Leah to Jacob and he sleeps with her not knowing that it wasn’t Rachel until morning. Ouch! Jacob is frustrated and he confronts Laban but Laban says in their custom, the older daughter must marry before the younger one. He then tells Jacob that if he should work another seven years for him, then he can have Rachel as well. So he worked a total of 14 years before he finally got to marry the woman he loved.
Enough about those love birds, let’s talk about our girl Leah and how she is feeling in all of this.
So her father gives her to a man that did not love her and had no intentions of marrying her.
For the first seven years of their marriage, her husband is working hard to marry her sister.
And verse 30 says “He loved Rachel more than Leah”.
So she is now her sister’s “co-wife”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the term “sister-wife” came from this story.
And she is unloved.
No girl wants this kind of life.
Well, this is where I want you to pay close attention.
Genesis 29:31 says “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel had none”. God in His infinite mercy looked upon our girl and blessed her with the ability to bear children while He withheld this privilege from her sister but what did our girl do when she had her first son ?
Verse 37, she named him Reuben saying “Certainly, the Lord has seen my misery, now my husband would love me.” She thought that if only she could give something precious to her husband then he would love her. Some of us are in relationships where we are constantly trying to prove ourselves worthy to our partners.
“Maybe if I have sex with him then he would love me”, “Maybe if I cook for him then he would see how much wife material I am” or “Maybe if I cut off some friends then he would see that he is number one in my life”.
Verse 33, our girl Leah has baby number 2 and she names him Simeon, saying “Certainly, the Lord has heard that I’m unloved and he has also given me this son.”
She has baby number 3 in verse 34, she names him Levi and once again she says “Now at last my husband will become attached to me because I’ve given him three sons.” A lot of girls today believe that maybe if they become his baby mama, he would later marry them because they’re hoping that they could keep that man attached using a baby. Let me break it to you, God wants you to be in an incredible relationship and He doesn’t want you to compromise yourself or your morals to get that relationship. He loves you and when the time is right, He would give you the man that is your perfect fit.
But in the midst of all this, Leah has failed to recognise that she is being blessed, being loved and being treasured by Her Father in heaven. He prevented her sister, the one that is so loved by their husband, from having kids but our girl has had three sons already. Think about how precious baby boys were over baby girls back in those times. But she has failed to recognise her blessing because she is seeking validation from someone else.
But in verse 35, Leah has her 4th son and she names him Judah and finally says “This time I will praise the Lord” and the bible goes on to tell us that she then stopped having children. She still went on to have some more in Genesis 30 but for a while she stopped. Wait a second, where have I heard the name Judah before ? Oh that's right, my Jesus is The Lion Of The Tribe Of Judah. This same Judah that was born to our girl Leah.
She finally came to the realisation that God is worthy of her praise and He is the only one that has loved her, honoured her and blessed her over and over even when those around her could not value her. Her father didn’t value her enough, he gave her away to a man that didn’t love her. Her husband didn’t value her enough and she was unloved in her marital home.
Let’s take away a few lessons from this:
If you try to seek validation from a human like you, you will end up giving yourself a full time job with no benefits.
Even when the world around you seems to be neglecting you, God will make sure you constantly feel His love for you but if your focus is on someone else or the situation, you will fail to recognise how blessed and how loved you are by the ONLY ONE who matters.
So where does your validation come from ?
Is it from the likes and retweets of strangers on the internet ?
Is it from that guy who makes you feel like you were put on this earth to constantly serve him while he constantly puts you down ?
Or is it from your parents, even though they always make is seem like your efforts are not enough ?
May I suggest to you that the ONLY ONE that will always love you, in your mess and at your best is GOD. He loved you so much that He became man and died for you. He is the ONLY ONE that you should seek validation from and I pray that every day of your life, you will never be so distracted by the setbacks and hardships of life that you fail to recognise the many blessings and the incredible love that He keeps showering on You. So why not shift your focus and study His Word daily and Spend time praying and talking to Him and becoming more aware of who He is. Remember that God is Love. It’s only in God that you can find true Love and acceptance.
God Bless You.