Leah had good reason to be insecure. As the older sister, she had lived her life in the shadow of her beautiful, younger sister, Rachel. The Bible tells us in Genesis 29:17, “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.” I’m guessing the writer of Genesis wasn’t the only one who noticed the difference in these two.
How many times had the sisters went to celebrations together, only to have Rachel “get a ride home” with a handsome young man, while Leah headed back home alone? Traveling to the well to get water for the family, was it a daily occurrence for Rachel to be the object of the flirty eyes while Leah stood by invisible? Yep, I’m sure the contrast between these two was obvious to all.
Open your Bible to Genesis 29. This twisted love story is so crazy you’re not going to want me to give it to you second hand. You’re going to want to read it for yourself. Get the whole scoop by starting in verse 1and read the chapter. It’s all going to come into play. (I’ll wait for 3 minutes and 53 seconds for you to read it. It’s not that long and this blog post doesn’t have enough space to tell the whole tale!)
After the seven long years of working for Rachel’s hand in marriage, Laban, Rachel’s father, pulls a quicky and deceives Jacob into marrying Leah, the older sister, instead of Rachel. (I’ll let your imagination take it from here on how he pulled this one off.)
Can you even imagine the types of thoughts going through the mind of poor, unloved Leah?
I’m so unattractive; I can’t get a guy without my dad’s help! And then it’s not even legitimate! He has to trick him to get him to take me. Why did this have to happen to me? Is my life always going to be miserable? Is there anything I can do to get Jacob to love me now? Oh God! Why did you let this happen?
I can only imagine the possible thoughts and feelings that rushed through Leah’s mind and heart each morning as she lived with this one who didn’t want her. My heart breaks just thinking of it.
I think I know a little bit of how Leah might have felt. I remember the night like it was yesterday. Laying in the comfort of my bed, the place I went for rest couldn’t give me peace that night. Even the pounding music turned up as loud as it would go, couldn’t drown out my weeping. There in the privacy of my room, I no longer held back all my sadness. My friend had said “yes” to going out with the guy I was crushing on. Not just the guy I had a thing for, but the crush that had been building in my heart for years. Having him choose my friend over me reminded me once again of what I knew. He didn’t want me. I just didn’t feel I could take it anymore. Maybe this night of getting this pain out could help me to move on, but I seriously doubted it.
Have you ever been overlooked or discarded for another like Leah and I? If so, you know the irrational desperation that can overtake you as you search for ways to make the pain end. You know the insecurity that can rise out of rejection.
A baby. If I have his baby, then he’ll love me. Leah definitely was not the first or last woman to think a baby would solve relationship turmoil.
But it didn’t. Not baby boy #1, #2 or #3. Finally, she gave up and that is when she finally got it.
“She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.” (Genesis 29:35)
With this pregnancy, Leah did things differently. Instead of trying to figure out what it would take to get this guy to finally see her, accept her and love her, Leah switched her focus. From Jacob to Jesus. She names her fourth son, Judah, showing the change of her aim. “This time I will praise the Lord.” Judah sounds like the Hebrew word for praised.
Secret #4: Switch Your Focus from to pleasing others to praising Jesus.
Switching from pleasing others to praising Jesus casts insecurity from my heart.
We can be the wise ones and learn from Leah’s pain. Both the things she did wrong and what she did right!
We can learn that no matter what we do, or how hard we try to please people, with some people, it just won’t work. We can do everything right. Even try to become who they want us to become and it still won’t be enough.
I wish we could keep reading this story and find later that Jacob’s heart softened. That he finally got past the outside to see the inside of the amazing, loving woman Leah was. But this story doesn’t end with a big, pink bow at the end. But it does end with Leah praising God.
I can tell you, friend, that when my heart is most broken, when my pain feels like it will never go away and the wounded won’t ever heal, praising Jesus reaches me. When I turn off the painful words I have been rehearsing over and over in my head and turn on worship music for my heart, the power of God’s healing Word begins to work. His peace, His joy, His confidence and loving kindness become the medicine my soul needs.
Maybe that sounds completely weird to you; music inspired by God, giving you what you need to feel whole. True worship music is not created by someone trying to get famous or make a fast buck, nor is it written for the reason of sheer entertainment. Worship music comes out of a person’s love and adoration for Jesus. Doesn’t it make sense then, that this music made for speaking love to our Savior can turn around and speak love to us?
Before we leave our story of Leah, I want to point out one phrase that may have been missed as we covered this tale. Back in verse 31 it reads, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”
Friend, have you felt at times, when you were experiencing rejection pushing all your insecurity buttons, rejection breaking your heart, that God is oblivious to the whole situation? Maybe you have gone so far as to picture Him in heaven, looking down, but somehow missing the details of your life?
That simply is not so. Every tear we cry. Every hurtful word we hear. Every Instagram picture we’re left out of…He sees. Just like He saw Leah. He isn’t ignorant of the pain you are facing. In fact, He is at work. For Leah, He worked by giving her the joy of having someone she could love; her four sons. Know: He is working a plan for you as well!