Leah's Sad Story
by Jacob Hudgins
She was older than her sister, but her sister was more beautiful. Her husband had to be tricked into marrying her because he preferred her sister. As if her sense of inferiority while growing up were not enough, she then had to continue to compete with her sister for the love of her husband. Through bearing seven children, she never seemed to get the attention or affection of her husband. What can we learn from Leah’s sad story?
Our choices have long consequences. Sadly, Leah suffered because of the deceitfulness of her father, who used a flimsy excuse (Gen 29:26) to weasel more work out of Jacob and marry Leah off too. Leah’s life was difficult because of her father’s choices. Yet the consequences of Laban’s evil don’t end there. They continued on to Leah’s children, who harbored animosity toward Rachel’s children, which contributed to selling Joseph into slavery. Leah’s story teaches us that sometimes we suffer as a result of others’ choices, and that our choices don’t only affect us.
God sees our hardship. “When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren”(Gen 29:31). God saw the animosity between these two sisters, and he blessed Leah. Again, “And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son”(Gen 30:17). Over and again Leah uttered the tragic hope “now my husband will honor me”(Gen 30:20; 29:32; 29:34), only to be disappointed. Leah lived the sad life of the unloved wife, yet God repeatedly answered her prayers and gave her great joy by blessing her with children. Though the world might not know the difficulties of our situation, Leah reminds us that God sees.
We can serve God where we are. When Judah is born, Leah simply declares, “This time I will praise the LORD”(Gen 29:35). While Leah was by no means perfect, she viewed her life in terms of God. If she had troubles, she prayed to the Lord (Gen 30:17), and if she had joy, she praised him (Gen 29:35). As far as we know, Leah never received the love Rachel did. Yet she served God and became the mother of many of the children of Israel. Sometimes our prayer should not simply be for God to end our trouble, but for the strength to serve God where we are.
Leah’s story is sad, and we can all relate to suffering as a result of others’ choices. Are we waiting for everything to be perfect before we give ourselves to our God? Let’s serve him wherever we are!