Leah was trapped in a marriage with a man who did not love her. Her father Laban
sold her in exchange for her husband Jacob’s labor. (Genesis 31:14-16) Jacob
loved her younger sister Rachel from the first moment he saw her. (Genesis
29:9-18) Jacob wanted Rachel as his wife.
But Laban tricked Jacob into marriage with Leah who didn’t appeal to
Jacob at all. (Genesis 29:19-30) Leah had to share her husband with her more
beautiful sister. Her heart yearned for the affection and passion Jacob and
Rachel shared. In this polygamous marriage, Jacob kept his end of the bargain
physically and legally, but not emotionally.
When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was
barren. 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.”
Leah conceived and gave birth to four sons in a row, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and
Judah. The names she chose revealed the depth of her longing to be loved and
honored. (Genesis 29:31-35) She praised God for her children, but she continued
to compete in vain for her husband’s affection.
This family’s history is full of deception, jealousy, and selfish
behavior. Yet God saw their misery and had compassion. He did not step in and
try to control their choices and decisions, but:
He gave Leah hope and comfort through her children.
He patiently allowed Jacob to learn through the consequences of his own and
He caused Laban’s trickery to backfire and bring blessings to Jacob’s family
He gave them family, material possessions, and even reconciliation with
Jacob’s father Isaac and his brother Esau.
God loved Jacob even though Jacob didn’t deserve it and hadn’t earned it.
God loved Leah even though she sought love from someone who didn’t love her.
God loved Rachel who did not acknowledge God as the source of life. Her son
Joseph became a sustainer of life for the family in years to come.
Through Leah’s son Judah and his descendant Jesus, God sent his Son to give
everyone an opportunity to be reconciled to him:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
has left us a message that his love is faithful and reliable. We can rely on his
love. (I John 4:16)
shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or
persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For
your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be
slaughtered.” No, in all these
things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced
that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor
the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ
Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Leah struggled to gain her husband’s love. We do not have to struggle to gain
God’s love. He gives his love generously:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
God longs for us to love him even more earnestly than Leah sought Jacob’s love.
(I John 4:10, 19)
For the Scripture References and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study
The LORD Has Seen My Misery