I don’t know if you know the story of Rachel and Leah found in the Old Testament of the bible. Basically, it’s the story of two sisters Rachel, the beautiful sister, (she was definitely a shiny girl) and Leah, the not so beautiful older sister. I don’t know much about the rivalry between sisters, only having the one brother (thankfully!) but reading this story I’m sure anyone can begin to imagine it.
You see, both the girls find themselves married to the same man: Jacob.
One day Jacob arrived at their father, Laban’s farm, and feel in love with Rachel, he agreed to work for her father for seven long years in order to marry her.
When at last the seven years were up Jacob was excited about the wedding night. So excited it seems, that he didn’t even realise that Laban had switched daughters until morning! He had slept with Leah, not Rachel!
Of course he was angry – the ugly sister was in bed with him – so he runs out of the tent and confronts Jacob about this injustice.
At this point in the story I feel incredibly sorry for Leah , all her life she had known herself to be the ugly sister. Now her father thought that the only way for her to get a husband was by tricking a man into sleeping with her. After years of commparisons she probably thought this herself.
For years bitterness filled her life: At the end of the week Jacob took Rachel as his second wife, the wife he truly loved.
But God was with her, he heard her prayers and answered. She was able to have children, even when Rachel couldn’t.
With each child she had, she hoped her husband would at last love her:
Her first son she called Rueben, crying: “The Lord has seen my misery, surely Jacob will love me now.”
The second she called Simeon saying: “Because the Lord knows I’m not loved her heard my prayer and gave me a second son.”
The third she called Levi and said: “I have now given Jacob three sons, surely he will become attatched to me now.
It wasn’t until the fourth son was born, after years of heart break that was able to say: “This time I will praise the Lord.” He was named Judah, and he was to be the great, great, great etc. etc. grandfather of Jesus Christ.
After years and many tears trying to earn her husbands love, Leah realised that she was loved all along. She was loved by her creator, who didn’t compare her to her sister.
When she stopped trying to find the approval of her husband she was able to know the approval of her Lord. She was able to finally praise him, despite her circumstances.
Her situation didn’t change, her husband still loved her sister more, but now she knew the love of God she was able to praise him fully.
Sadly Leah didn’t remeber this love for long, continuing to try and find her husbands approval and fighting jealously with her sister. But it doesn’t have to be like that. We can praise God, no matter what we are going through.
You might be going through the most impossible sitaution. Maybe you feel unloved and rejected like Leah. Know that he hears your prayers and that he will answer them. Know that he loves you, completely, even if no one else does. Know that you have his approval. And then remember it.
“God doesn’t love us equally, he loves us uniquely.” Without Rival by Lisa Bevere
Other devotionals about biblical women
I am considering writing an e-book on the women of the bible, is this something you would be interested in reading?