The unloved one, the one that didn’t count, that wasn’t worth the price. Not the beauty, not the favorite, not the one with value. That is how Leah is pictured. Yet, she had more, gave more than any of Jacob’s other wives.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun were the sons that she had (half the tribes of Israel) and, interestingly, her daughter (Dinah) is the only girl mentioned from the beginnings of the nation of Israel.
But let’s not get distracted by the girls again.
The bible tells us that Leah only got married to Jacob (Israel was his later name) through deceit. Rachel was the girl he loved and worked for. Fourteen years of his life were sacrificed so that he could marry the younger daughter of Laban. But in the midst of this, Leah is pawned off on him with almost the feeling of getting rid of her.
Her father didn’t love her. Her husband didn’t love her.
Leah is sort of passed over by many of the people I’ve heard over the years but she’s one of my favorites. Her story goes way past her marriage to Jacob. It shows a greater hand at work, surrounding her, holding her.
Notice the two middle sons, Levi and Judah.
Those unfamiliar with Hebrew culture may not realize it but, of all the tribes of Israel, Levi and Judah are the greatest. Levi was the tribe of the priests from which Moses and Aaron come. Judah was the tribe of the kings. The Davidic line comes from Judah which follows all the way down to Jesus.
Leah’s path took her from wanting her husband to love her to finding her fulfillment in God. We see this in the names of her children.
Reuben – God has seen my misery
Simeon – God has heard of my suffering
Levi – He will join
Judah – Thankful praise
Two things stand out, she took her problems to God and she gave up what she sought as she came to understand what God was doing. God sees and hears all that I’m going through. He joins in my situation and joins me to my dreams. And I am left with the only legitimate response that I can offer, praise, worship for the God who loves.
I’m tired this morning and sense that my words are cold, intellectual. But, hear me in this. All of history and life may forget about you, tell you that you aren’t worth anything. But God sees, He hears, He joins with you, with me. And out of our faithfulness in pursuit of Him, He can bring children, a legacy of faith. He can bring life that pours out on millions that we will never know. Out of our hearts, He can bless others with Jesus, the Jesus that lives inside of us.
Unloved? Not favored? I don’t think so.