Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leah and "Her Sister's Husband"

She may have been the first wife but she would never be the one her husband wanted.

A Heart Of Self Confidence
Leah. A young woman who grew up with a cunning father, married a man who’s name meant “deceiver”, and lived with the consequences of her own deceit her entire life. Pretending to be her younger, more beautiful sister on the day of her wedding, Leah was forever relegated to being the unloved wife. The twisted dynamics of a family in which sisters became co-wives to a man that loved only one of them had all the makings of an unbelievable soap-opera plot.

While we will never know what prompted the sisters to agree to such a sham, the level of jealousy and lifelong animosity that grew between them could not be disguised in the biblical story. Leah and her sister Rachel’s story is a classic example of a loving relationship between two women that fell apart because of a man.

But Leah, miraculously I think, managed to rise above all of this conflict and drama and make a real connection with The One True God. While her husband Jacob – the man whom God will rename Israel - seemed to spend a substantial part of his time coping with his crafty father-in-law, making babies with his four wives (yeah, he added two more), dealing with his resulting recalcitrant twelve sons and one doomed daughter, and trying to get back to the family that he left for fear of his life, Leah slowly, quietly, and with great dignity became a woman after God’s own heart.

It was Leah – not her sister - who God chose to be an ancestress of Christ when her son is given the promise of “the ruler’s staff” (Genesis 49:10). Of the twelve Israelite tribes, it will be from Leah’s son Judah’s tribe that Christ will be born. Eve’s promise, then Sarah’s, is now Leah’s. Another woman worthy of such distinction.

Leah’s story is not the kind of story produced by television and Hollywood with the picture perfect happy ending. Rather, it is a story of real life, told with genuine heartaches and stunningly beautiful joys. While we might feel momentary elation finishing a “happily ever after” story, the reality of life always eventually returns to us. But Leah’s story is one we all can learn from. Read on, take notes, and enjoy this journal account. Because, you see, Leah over the course of her life gained the self confidence to believe that she was absolutely priceless. And, as a result, found something we all search for but sometimes never find: true love.

Scripture References You Should Check Out: Genesis 25-34

Question to ask yourself and answer before you read any further: At times when you are at your lowest, where do you draw your strength?

What her name means: “Leah” is Hebrew in origin and means “delicate”, “weary”, or “faint from sickness”. As she is described in the Bible in reference to her eyes: “tender-eyed” (KJV), “eyes that didn’t sparkle” (CEV), “weak eyes” (NIV) it seems as if there was some deficiency there.

Connections: Leah grew up in the shadow of her exquisitely beautiful younger sister, Rachel. Even before Jacob comes on the scene it seems to have been the point of reference for everyone who knew Laban’s two daughters. For Leah’s entire life she was never able to measure up to the outward standard of beauty that everyone seemed compelled to judge her by. But to her credit, she discovered that it wasn’t the outside that counted.

What The Bible Says About Confidence:
· How you get it: Job 4:6
· Where not to put it: Psalm 146:3
· Where you should put it: Jeremiah 17:7, Hebrews 6:17-18
· Be careful of what kind you have: Luke 18:9-14
· What behavior should give us it: 2 Corinthians 1:12
· Warnings about it: James 4:13-17

For All You Leahs out there …
Would you say that Leah’s life had a happy ending? Do you think that she was more often joyful than sorrowful? Do you think that she was more content in her life than her sister Rachel? Do you think she liked the person she was?

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
William James

I am inclined to answer “yes” to all of those questions. On first blush her story seems sad and full of lost love, but when you really study it, her story is more a story of victory. Just as Jacob became known as “the man who struggled with God and men and won”, Leah, too, could be called the woman who “struggled with God and women and men and won.” Her life ends on a victorious note that resounds through the centuries well after her death right up until today. We are all Leahs, each and every one of us. We doubt our self and our worth, we constantly judge ourselves to be second when compared to others, we desire things that we do not have and dismiss the things we do have. Rather than becoming bitter we need to work toward becoming victorious. Forget what’s on the outside and make sure that our insides are glorious. And have confidence in God and what He has planned for us. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9) Appreciate that verse. God wants good things for us that we cannot even comprehend.

  • Prayer Motivation: Make sure your prayers are motivated for the right things. Are your desires toward improving yourself in God’s eyes or are they towards measuring up by the world’s standards? And remember, your motives, no matter how deeply hidden are crystal clear to God. You might as well just own up to them all and determine their worthiness … or not.

  • Godly Plans: Keep God in focus as you plan your life. Let all you work toward be for His praise and honor. In keeping that perspective, you cease comparing yourself to others and finding yourself exemplary … or lacking. He’s already got plans for you. You’ve just got to choose to follow them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

  • Obedience & Faith: They go hand in hand. Are you obedient to God’s instructions and advice? Do you heed His still small voice or does He regularly have to use a baseball bat to get your attention? Are your prayers full of thoughtful introspection and insight or just a jumble of disasters you’re hoping to fix and/or avoid? What does your life reveal about your faith and your obedience to The One True God? Do those who surround you know who you obey?

But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.
Romans 16:19

  • Children: The person we are in this life directly influences our children. And, they are more observant that we often give them credit for. Worse yet, it’s the difficult times that will stand out in a child’s memory more than anything else. Make a conscious choice to be a wise example, have a dialogue with your child when things go well and when things go bad. Remember, what they see is what they learn to be the right and wrong way. It’s up to you to give them the right tools to be able to discern the truth. What legacy do you wish to leave your children? How do you wish them to remember you? I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. (3 John 4)

  • Good Things Are Worth The Wait: Jacob labored for twenty years for his lousy father - in - law Laban. It doesn’t seem as if work conditions were ever great and rarely were they more than bearable. But, Jacob was able to appreciate what God gave him as a reward for his faithfulness and honest hard work: loving wives, numerous children, and wealth above and beyond what the average person should have expected in similar poor circumstances. Learn to recognize, even when things are bad, the good things God is sending your way. We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

  • Secrets: Secrets you keep from those closest to you are never secret from God. “Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up.” (Rick Warren) What secrets are in your heart? While you may think that they are safe and hidden, they are the only things that God focuses on! How scary is that?

Would not God find this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Psalm 44:21

This is an excerpt from the chapter “Leah and 'Her Sister's Husband'” from Sue's book: Biblical Women And Who They Hooked Up With available in print or electronic media at her store: Would you like to receive it as a free ebook? Email your request to Sue at: and she'll be happy to send you a free copy!

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