Key Verse: “…the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32
It is a terrible feel unloved or in second place. Yet, it’s pretty common. We have all experienced some form of abandonment or neglect. A friend who rejects you for another. A parent who walks out the door and never comes back or continually praises your sibling while overlooking your achievements. A boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife who doesn’t love you back. We know the heartache, we understand the wound that they leave behind. After a while, we can even start to believe we are not worthy of love, that we are undesirable, that we are a hindrance and a problem. Some eventually conclude that the world would be better off without them. This is a lie of the enemy. The Bible is clear 1 John 4:9-10 says “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
As we read the story of Leah in the Bible, we can’t help but sympathize with her. She was the seconded sister. The Bible describes her as “weak-eyed.” whether this is referring to her appearance or ability we don’t know, but we can understand that she couldn’t live up to the standard set my her younger sister. Leah had grown up living in the shadow of her little sister, and now in married life, she was living it all over again. She loved Jacob, but he didn’t love her back. We can feel her heartache.
Jacob never really wanted her but was tricked into marrying her. What made things worse, her husband was head over heels in love with her sister Rachel. You can imagine the conversation when Jacob found out. Genesis 29:28 tells us that Jacob kept up a public show for the honeymoon week, but then one week later married Rachel. Imagine going through your honeymoon week, with your husband counting down the days to marry your sister. The week of neglect turned into years. Jacob and Rachel made Leah feel like she was in the way and they would be better off without her.
Leah might have been forgotten and unloved by her family, but she was not forgotten or unloved by God. Leah gave birth to six sons and a daughter. She gave birth to Reuben the firstborn. Judah whose line became the royal family of Israel and Levi whose line became the priests of Israel. Leah recognized that this was God’s favour to her. Look how she named her children:
- “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.” Genesis 29:32
- “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. Genesis 29:33
- 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. Genesis 29:34
- 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 29:35
Unlike Leah, we often fail to see God’s hand of favour in our lives when we feel unloved. God knows your heartache and loves you dearly. Even if others treat you as second best, God loves you and has a plan to use you and bless you. Keep your focus on Him and his love. He loves you so much He gave his beloved Son save you (see John 3:16).