When studying the life of Jacob in the bible, Leah is a character that we often don’t pay great attention to. She was Jacob’s wife; not by her choice or his choice. She was pushed into marriage by her dad to the arms of a man that didn’t want her. Jacob was interested in Rachel, Leah’s younger sister. This story is found in Genesis 29:31-35. As I read this story again, a lot of things started coming out to me. Things that made me feel empathy for Leah.
Firstly, the only description that was given about Leah is that her eyes were dull and another translation says she was plain. But for Rachel, we are told that she was beautiful and attractive. This made me wonder how long she must have put up with being the one who isn’t pretty. Growing up to hearing people describe your sister as pretty and nothing much being said about you must have been difficult for her. Ladies, you all know that no matter how much we claim we don’t pay attention to our physical appearance, there is still that part of us that pays attention to it. Being the eldest and seeing guys go to your younger sister all the time while you can’t even secure a date for yourself must have been a bitter pill for her to swallow. Rachel was attractive. When they both walked down the street, she was the one people turned around to admire. Maybe Leah always had people stopping her to tell her how much they were attracted to her sister’s beauty. Can you identify with that? Do you consider yourself to be the ‘ugly’ friend who no one pays attention to?
At home, Leah wasn’t wanted by her father. Think about it. What kind of caring father would give her daughter to a man who doesn’t want her? Laban (Leah’s dad) was insensitive to Leah’s feelings. Not only was he insensitive, but he also manipulated his own daughter. Having an uncaring and a manipulative father can affect the way you see yourself. Are you living with an uncaring father? Do you have an unhappy relationship with your father? Has this affected your confidence?
There are some ladies who struggle with days like father’s day as it brings bad memories of a dad that was not present. Some struggle to call God father because their perception of a father isn’t a good one. If you are a dad reading this, please I urge you to do the best you can do in ensuring that you do not inflict a lifelong pain on your kids. I believe so strongly that the first image we have of God as a father is that of our biological father. The role of a dad is never to be undermined. If you are unmarried, decide in your heart to be the best father you can be to your kids because the way you treat them not only affects them emotionally, but it also makes it challenging for them to see the caring nature of God. Give your children the chance to know what a father’s love feels like.
Leah was married to a man who didn’t want her. Do you see yourself as Leah? Are you married to a man that doesn’t care about you? A man that doesn’t even want you? It breaks my heart to know that there are places in the world where arranged marriage is still being practiced. It should not be so. When love is not the foundation of a marriage, abuse and neglect is inevitable.
If you can identify with Leah, I want you to understand that God cares for you. God cares about your feelings. He is concerned about women who feel rejected. This story is very synonymous with that of Hagar. A woman who was manipulated by her boss (Sarah) to be a surrogate mother and was kicked out by same boss when things became rough. Through this same woman, God revealed Himself as El-Roi (The One who sees me). Yes friend, God sees those tears you shed. Hebrews 4:15 says we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize. In those dark moments when you want to give up and throw in the towel, He knows exactly how you feel. He doesn’t underestimate the level of your pain. In Hagar’s distress, He gave her Ishmael (a name which means God hears) and also made her know that He sees.
God hears those words you mutter daily. And those tears are not in vain. God came through for Hagar. He also came through for Leah. Leah was compensated. In verse 31, when God saw that she was not loved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
Despite marrying someone who didn’t care about her existence, Leah did all she could to win Jacob’s love. This is something we ladies do a lot. We try to win the approval of people especially in marriage. I have heard and witnessed quite a few cases of domestic violence and I have also seen how even in the midst of the abuse, women cling so much to the marriage as they do all they can to be approved by their man. In verse 32, Leah thought by having kids for Jacob, she will be loved by him. After all, Rachel was barren and Jacob needed a child if not for anything but to continue the patriarchal blessing God gave Abraham. God told Abraham that he will be the father of a great nation. However Leah got it wrong.
You might be trying so hard to feel loved by people. That is where the trouble is. Being a people pleaser brings no satisfaction. Leah soon recognised this and changed her approach. In verse 35, she had a second child and instead of seeking love from man, her attention went to God. She praised God. Praise has a way of shifting our focus. Instead of spending time trying to please people, spend that time in pleasing God.
The most interesting part of Leah’s story is that her seed was the one through which Jesus Christ came. This was God’s way of compensating her. What an honour! Leah was the mother of Judah who was mentioned in Matthew 1:2. Jesus Christ is the lion of the tribe of Judah!
Leah was preyed on, manipulated, and mistreated, pushed into a marriage that was not healthy, she didn’t have the perfect figure, and she didn’t turn heels when she walked down the street. But her seed brought forth greatness in the end. Who would have thought!
The point of this post today is for you to know that God sees you and He hears you. He sees your tears, your pain. He knows that you are hurting. He knows that you are being mistreated and He will come through for you. He is a just God!
***Please this post isn’t suggesting you stay in an abusive relationship. If you are in one, please seek help and in some cases separation is needed***