In Genesis 29 Leah gave her husband, Jacob, three healthy sons. But Jacob gave his heart to her beautiful younger sister, Rachel.
With each birth, Leah pleaded for relief from her heartache.
- “Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:32
- “…the Lord heard that I am not loved…” Genesis 29:33
- “Now at last my husband will become attached to me…” Genesis 29:34
Leah never gave up. She never lost hope. And she never put aside her faith in the One who truly loved her.
During those years, Leah’s faith grew and matured. She discovered she was not alone and her life was not without purpose. Her God was with her. Her sons were with her. And before another season passed, her womb was full once more.
She conceived again,… Genesis 29:35
This was “the fourth time she conceived” (WYC), perhaps in as many years. All those little ones to care for, and yet God honored her hope and her prayers, and “she became pregnant again” (CEB).
Something remarkable happened during those nine months. It seems Leah looked at the children around her feet, gazed up at the heavens above, and realized how very much she was loved, how clearly blessed she was among women.
…and when she gave birth to a son… Genesis 29:35
We have no record of her deliveries being especially difficult. She simply “childed a son” (WYC). Notice how she didn’t seek out Jacob, wanting his attention or affection. And she didn’t turn to her sister or her father or her neighbors, needing their approval.
With a heart full of joy, Leah lifted her voice to the One who mattered most.
…she said, “This time…” Genesis 29:35
This time she chose wisely. Maybe not the other times, but this time she got it right. This time she turned to God, knowing she couldn’t change Jacob, but she could change herself.
“…I will…” Genesis 29:35
So decisive, so sure. “Now I shall acknowledge to the Lord” (WYC). Instead of blaming God for what she didn’t have, Leah began praising God for what she did have.
“…praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35
Translated with even more energy, “Now will I praise the Lord!” (AMP).
It’s the first time in the New International Version we find the phrase “praise the Lord,” spoken by a woman who could have complained to the Lord, pleaded with the Lord, railed at the Lord, yet she did none of those things.
Instead, Leah, the unseen bride, the unloved wife, finally understood she was loved by God.
So she was. And so are you, dear one.
Each of us must come to that Leah place — a place where God is enough, where his grace is enough, where his love truly is enough.
I finally reached that place five years after I met the Lord and mere days after I met Bill, now my sweet husband for 32 years and counting. Our first date was joy unspeakable. He’s the one! my heart kept whispering.
Yet when Bill left my house that evening, I called my best friend and said, “I just found the man of my prayers. And if he never calls me again, I’ll be okay.”
That was a huge step for a woman like me, who’d spent a lost decade looking for love and settling for less. Much less. To find a terrific guy and yet be willing to let him go, knowing I was fully loved by God — that for me was the Leah place.
Have you landed there, friend? Do you know how much God loves you?
Leah’s four sons and her changed heart were living proof of God’s love for her.
So she named him Judah. Genesis 29:35
The very sound of his name was like the Hebrew word for praise, as God gave Leah “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).
The arrival of that fourth son of hers — that “praise the Lord” son — marked the start of something big. “For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah” (Hebrews 7:14). Much as we admire godly Joseph, Rebekah’s first son, it was kingly Judah, Leah’s fourth son, whom God chose to bear the royal seed.
The opening words of the New Testament tell the tale: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah” (Matthew 1:1-2).
If we listed the mothers rather than the fathers, it would be Sarah, Rebekah, Leah: two beauties loved by their husbands and one tender-eyed woman loved by God.
This month’s post is adapted from the chapter “Morning Has Broken” in the updated edition of Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, our featured Book by Book for August. You’ll find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ChristianBook. Naturally, I had copies to give away!
Fifteen years ago, before I wrote Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, I wrapped this Genesis story in tartan and heather for a series of Scottish historical novels, beginning with Thorn in My Heart. On Thursday, August 30, I chose five winners to receive autographed copies of Thorn in My Heart and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. Congratulations to Jennifer, Nancy, Sheila, Marjorie, and Bev.
What joy it is to open God’s Word with you, month by month, book by book!
Your grateful sister, Liz