Genesis 29:31- “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren”.
I’ve read the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel many times before.
I’ve always been fascinated by this unusual love story and the family drama.
Two sisters in love with the same man…hmm. What’s not to be fascinated by?
But this has probably been one of the most perplexing, frustrating, and painfully poignant scriptures I’ve ever read.
I know what it’s like to feel unloved.
It bothered me to read of Leah’s humiliation. No one could have imagined how she felt the next morning after her wedding night, after she’d given her virginity away to Jacob, lifting the veil from her face and seeing the look of shock fade into anger, then from anger into disgust.
No one can imagine doing everything you possibly could to erase that look off his face to no avail.
When I was coming up, this scripture was always taught as if Leah was the one who deceived Jacob into marriage. She was a co conspirator.
But I don’t believe that is accurate or true.
I believe that her father may have been deceitful.
But the heart of Leah was sincere and pure.
She loved a man who did not love her.
It pained me to read of her anguish, as I imagined her having to watch Jacob look lovingly into the eyes of her sister but turn stares of hate and disgust in her direction.
I can’t imagine the pain of seeing the man you love going to the tent of your sister for the night and knowing that is where he wished he could stay.
How Leah must have moaned, knowing the only thing keeping Jacob by her side was a law of the land.
His heart was far from her.
As she despaired, languished in pain and hurt, this scripture comes into view more clearly: ““When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren”.
This has been a blog I’ve wanted to write for a long time but I didn’t know what to say. This morning when I got up, the Holy Spirit brought it back to me. I was still unsure of what to say, but He reassured me that the words would come to me and flow as I took the step of faith to write about a scripture that has cut me to my soul and fascinated me, all at the same time.
I know what it’s like to be the woman that will do for the time being.
I know what it feels like to be the woman he knows he should be with, but that his heart doesn’t desire.
I know what it feels like to search for love, acceptance, and validation in his eyes and only see emptiness.
I know what it feels like to lay in his bed chamber ashamed and despised.
A scripture that used to cause me so much grief is beginning to comfort me now.
God sees the unloved.
How powerful is that?
He took notice of Leah’s pain.
Whether or not it was Laban’s fault, Leah’s fault or Jacob’s fault that the marriage happened in the first place, God saw that Leah was unloved. Some translations say “hated” or “esteemed less than”.
Maybe you’re sitting somewhere like me, looking at your life and all its decisions. You see the good and the bad in a pile together. You realize there were some decisions you should have made that you didn’t and some things that you should have said that you didn’t. But now you’re in the bed chamber, you’re naked, uncovered and unloved.
What did God do for the woman who was unloved?
“He opened her womb…”
I bore two children for a man who did not love me, or at least, esteemed me to be “less than”. But instead of leaving me to feel used, unloved and unappreciated, God made me fruitful.
I’m not implying that every woman who has a child out of wedlock is like Leah or that God rewards broken marriages with children.
But I am saying that he makes the unloved fruitful.
He opens their womb, the place where greatness is carried and born.
He gives them blessing after blessing and showers them with favor.
Rachel had the love and favor of her husband.
But Leah had the love and favor of God.
Seven sons and one daughter.
She rejoiced after each birth.
Not much is mentioned in the bible about the relationship between Jacob and Leah. It is clear that Rachel was favored.
However, as I began to dig deeper into the text, I found that Leah wasn’t overlooked by Jacob all her life.
Genesis 49: 29 Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. 32
Somewhere between the heartache and tears, the anguish and humiliation, Leah found herself highly esteemed, honored in her burial among the princesses of Israel, the wives of the patriarchs.
Rachel is not buried here.
But Leah is.
With life drifting away from his aged body, Jacob charged his sons to bury him next to Leah.
God sees every tear stained eye and hears every moan.
The humiliation didn’t escape His sight.
The verbal abuse was heard in His ears.
I just want you to know that God Almighty has opened your womb in the midst of your pain and disappointment.
Great things will be born from your pain.
The nations of the earth will be blessed by you.
God has crowned you with lovingkindness and favor.
It’s ok to cry Leah.
You may be unloved by a man…
But you are dearly beloved by God.
He will bestow on you the honor you are due.
Trust Him and receive it, you beauty Queen.