Had Leah Only Known

had Leah known
photo by S. Hermann & F. Richter

What Leah didn’t know.

Had Leah known. Leah. Ah, Leah. The older, unlovely sister. The one with lame eyes, not wanted by Jacob. Leah married Jacob first. A week later he married Rachel, the one Jacob loved. How did she feel on her wedding night? How about the morning after, when her groom discovered it was she he wed and not her sister Rachel?

The Hebrew meaning of the name Leah means “delicate or weary.” The implication is that Leah was not as attractive as her sister.

God opened Leah’s womb and closed Rachel’s because Leah was not loved. Had Leah known her third-born son Judah  carried the lineage for the Messiah, would she have felt special?

What if Leah knew that one day the offspring she bore to a man who loved her less would give birth to generations by which the world would be blessed. Would she have felt important in God’s plan? Would she have understood how special she was in the plan of the Messiah?

Jacob was the patriarch of the 12 Tribes. He fathered twelve sons and a daughter from four different women. Leah bore six of those sons and the daughter, Dinah. You can read the story here or begin in Genesis 29.  Leah, the less-loved wife of Jacob, is chosen over Rachel to precede the birth of Messiah.

God’s plan – had Leah only known!

The problem for Leah was that she didn’t know or understand God’s plan. She could not see thousands of years and nearly 42 generations from her husband’s grandfather (Abraham) to the birth of the Messiah. Had Leah known, she might have felt significant.

What none of us knows is how God wants to use us in the Kingdom. We cannot see the far-reaching effects of the choices we make today. We live in our huddle of dissatisfaction, comparing ourselves to others, just like Leah. Rachel and Leah competed for the attention of their husband Jacob. Leah bore him sons while Rachel was barren. Leah lived long while Rachel died in childbirth. Leah gave birth to six sons, and Rachel bore Jacob two.

Joseph was Rachel’s first born. He was sold into slavery by brothers who disliked him. Joseph’s presence in Egypt saved his people. Judah, Leah’s third born, had twin boys. From one of those sons, Perez, God continued the lineage through which Christ would be born. Leah also gave birth to Levi, the head of the priestly class from whom Moses and Aaron descended. She could not know, when she struggled with feeling less lovely than her sister, that her offspring would play such an important role in the 12 Tribes of Israel and the Jewish nation.

God’s plan for me

No matter who we are, there are others more lovely than us. Other women considered to be prettier or to have greater abilities or talents. There is always someone who has more advantages than we do, someone who has it made, whose lot in life is (we think) better than ours.

You can be certain I would never choose to be a Leah.  Who cherishes knowing she is the wife loved the least? Who wants to have other sons chosen over hers? And who wants to be a Leah – placed in front of others as a means of dying to perhaps save those coming behind?

Leah had much to offer as the first wife of Jacob, the mother of half of the tribes of Israel. She just didn’t know how God planned to use her to bring the Messiah, our Savior, into the world. She didn’t realize; she didn’t understand how important she was in God’s plan.

Whether you are a Rachel or a Leah, remember that there is a plan for you. You are called to do things for which you are gifted. Find that role, fulfill that role, and you will be blessed. You might not be the mother of nations, but you will be a part of Kingdom work. That is who you need to be – and what you need to know.

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