If anyone’s story gives hope, it’s Leah’s.
Dominated by her father.
Unloved by her husband.
Resented by her sister.
Leah had been given a tough row to hoe. She continually hit the wall of Jacob’s rejection. Her heart bruised, we see Leah’s spiritual journey through her children. Their names walk us through her struggle:
Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. 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 29:32-35
Reuben meant “He has seen my misery.” God saw and blessed when Jacob refused to.
Simeon meant “One who hears.” God heard and loved her when Jacob did not.
Levi meant “attached.” God had relationship with Leah. He attached Himself to her.
Judah meant “praise.” Leah’s focus shifted away from Jacob toward God Himself.
Leah, however, still joined the battle of the maidservants that we referenced last week, but once again, note her children’s names (Genesis 30:9-13):
When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.
Gad meant “good fortune.”
Asher meant “happy.”
Leah’s children through Zilpah, Good Fortune and Happy, contrast sharply with Rachel’s children through Bilhah, Vindication and Struggle.
Though Leah continually bore the sting of rejection, her focus on God enabled her to cope with the pain. Here’s the account of her remaining children (Genesis 30:17-21):
God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.
Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
Issachar meant “reward.”
Zebulun meant “honor.”
Dinah meant “vindication.” Yet Leah’s vindication differed from Rachel’s. Rachel had sought vengeance from the get-go, though the fault never rested with Leah.
God redeemed much of Leah’s terrible situation. In spite of Jacob’s rejection, she birthed six out of the twelve tribes of Israel and was great-great-great-grandmother to both King David and Christ.
Isaiah 61:1-4 reads:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
This was written for the Leahs. The unloved. The rejected ones.
It was written for the Rachels too, because without His love, no one else’s love will be enough.
Only His love satisfies and Leah found it.
Workout of the Week: Part 3 Leah
Memory Verse: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me . . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1, 3
Meditation Passage: Isaiah 61:1-3
Do It: Ask God to redeem your situation.
The spiritual discipline for June is Simplicity. In what areas do you struggle with excess or a lack of self-control?