17 Feb

By Khutso Mokgehle

As someone who grew up in the church, you can imagine how many times I read the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. However, there was something very saddening to me when I read it recently, the plight of Leah could not be ignored.

We are introduced to sisters, Leah and Rachel, who were Laban's daughters in the book of Genesis. The first description of Leah, over and above the fact that she was Laban's other daughter, we are told that she had no sparkle in her eyes (Genesis 29:17). It does not sound bad until you read the description of Rachel in the same verse, "but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face".

The difference in the appearance of these two sisters is painting a picture of how they were perceived. The point is emphasised when Leah was snuck into Jacob's life at the night of the wedding (Rachel's wedding!). Jacob loved Rachel, he wanted Rachel, he had worked seven years to get Rachel. Laban, a father who probably thought the chances of Leah getting married were slim, had to make a plan, just to have Leah "sorted".  

It backfired. Jacob was not happy. He wanted Rachel! He never loved Leah. I can imagine how Leah felt especially after Rachel was also given to Jacob as a wife too, immediately, so there was no honeymoon phase for Leah. She was just there, not loved, not wanted, no sparkle in her eye.

In Genesis 29:31, the bible says, "when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive". Her plight had touched God's heart too, what is interesting is how Leah decided to name her children:

  1. Reuben "The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” Genesis 29:32

  2. Simeon "The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Genesis 29:33

  3. Levi "Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” Genesis 29:34

  4. Judah "Now I will praise the Lord!” Genesis 29:35

  5. Issachar "God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.” Genesis 30:18

  6. Zebulun "God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons." Genesis 30:20

I don't think there is a better way to shout "desperate for love" than the naming of Leah's six sons. With each child, Leah hoped to get closer to her husband, to be loved and to be appreciated. As you read further in Genesis, you realise that despite Rachel not having children until a later stage, Leah having baby after baby did not work in her favour, Jacob still loved Rachel.

I am passionate about sexual purity, and one of the pressures I have seen amongst many Christian ladies is the desire to be loved and appreciated, the desire is so deep that like Leah, women normally think that "if I have a baby for him, it will make him love me more". And the truth is, he won't. 

If he does not see a sparkle in your eye, he will never see the sparkle in your offspring. A man is meant to love his wife, a man should pursue a woman he loves, a woman he sees a sparkle in. If he doesn't, you can give him a child every year, it will make no difference.

I am encouraging a sister out there, who feels unloved, you might be having that man who looks interested in you but his ultimatum is based on you having sex with him before he commits. DO NOT! If he really loves you, he will wait. 

Don't allow him to emotionally blackmail you into having a child with him before wedlock, he will not love you more after the child. One of the interesting things I found in the Jacob, Leah and Rachel's love-triangle-story was in Genesis 29:20, "So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days".

For the woman that Jacob loved, seven years looked like a few days to him. In seven years, he had not touched Rachel, Rachel had no child for him, but he was willing to wait and work because he loved her.

Wait on the Lord. A man who truly loves you and sees a sparkle in you will respectfully wait and work for you.   

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