Manipulation seemed to be the family trait of the patriarch’s, didn’t it? Jacob may have been the worst offender, and this week in our study it finally bites him back. Jacob the deceiver became the deceived. Regrettably, he wouldn’t be the only one injured.
After working seven years to earn the right to marry his beloved Rachel, imagine his horror the morning after his wedding to find her sister Leah lying next to him! He was outraged, naturally, at his father-in-law who arranged this and though he eventually married Rachel also, Leah would always be the third wheel.
There is no lonelier place than a marriage when you are unloved, especially when your spouse loves something or someone else. The object of their affection might not even be another person. It might be a career, an addiction, a hobby; anything that at any given opportunity they would pick over you. Our friend Leah knew this all too well.
Every woman wants to be cherished by her husband, and Leah obviously tried hard to earn Jacob’s love. A wife’s main duty in her culture was to make babies- lots and lots of babies. Preferably male babies. If this was the test of a good wife, Leah passed with flying colors. The Bible says that God saw that Leah was unloved and gave her the gift of children. (And what a wonderful gift children are!)
With each new baby boy, Leah became more sure that this baby would be the one who would finally make her husband take notice of her. You can hear the hope in her voice with each baby name. “The Lord has surely looked at my affliction. Now, therefore, my husband will love me (Genesis 29:32). Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also (Genesis 29:33). Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have born him three sons (Genesis 29:34).”
It is enough to break your heart isn’t it? Girls, we sometimes do the same thing! We long to be treasured so much that we sometimes are willing to do anything to feel loved by a man. It almost never works, and sometimes we sacrifice our dignity in the process. Let’s not do that!
By baby boy number four, Leah had finally learned the truth; her worth did not come from her husband. Her situation was unfair. We all deserve the blessing of love from our spouses but sometimes that doesn’t happen and there may be nothing we can do about it. Leah could have never had enough children to make Jacob love her. She finally walked her story out with God enough to see that He loved her and that was enough. She named her fourth son “Judah” and said, “Now I will praise the Lord” (Genesis 29:35).