Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Genesis 29:31-35

You truly have to feel sorry for Leah! In pulling the switch on Jacob, Laban has set her up for a lot of heartache, and he has set both of his daughters against each other. We see here clearly, though, that God remains sovereign over all!

When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.

Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. (Gen 29:31-35)

It is evident that God is in control of fertility! He opens and closes wombs, as we’ll see throughout this story. I think this must be the most difficult area in which to trust God if you are struggling with infertility. If this is your area of heartache, please know that God sees and understands your sorrow. While I never had this problem, I have watched so many beloved friends and my younger daughter, Emmy, go through this, so I know how very hard it is. However, I can tell you that Emmy, having finally adopted Penelope after seven years of wanting and waiting, would be the first to tell you that the wait was so worth it. She wouldn’t trade a minute of it, because she knows, without a doubt, that she was meant to be Penelope’s mother!

We can see in the above verses that what Leah is REALLY wanting is the love of Jacob. With each child, she hopes that she will finally have his affection. She names her firstborn Reuben, which means he has seen my misery, because she knows the LORD has heard her cries, and she breathes the hope, “Surely my husband will love me now.” Don’t you agonize with her?

Then, when the second son is born, she names him Simeon, meaning one who hears, because, she feels that, again, God has heard her. She seems to see this child as her consolation for not being loved. Is she becoming resigned to the fact that Jacob will not ever feel for her the way he does about Rachel?

When Levi (meaning attached), her third son, is born, she is seems ready to settle for Jacob feeling just some kind of attachment - and she sees her sons as that tether. But note the change when her fourth son is born: “This time I will praise the LORD.” Finally, she is looking to God for the joy and love Jacob will never give her! “Then she stopped having children.” PHEW!!! How much is enough? It took four sons before she finally realized her blessings! It seems to me that she was missing the joy of motherhood, because she was always focused on what she lacked (Jacob’s love), rather than what she had. Oh my! Can we relate to that at all? Don’t we all know someone like that? Haven’t we all been that person at one time or another?  Maybe even now you are struggling because you are lacking something you desperately want:  a spouse, a job, a grandchild, a house, a better weight, whatever...

This is the tyranny of discontentment! Paul said he had learned to be content in ALL circumstances. This was the secret of his joy in prison (Phil 4:10-12)!  In 1 Timothy 6:6 he says, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” When we are constantly looking for something else, we fail to appreciate what we currently have, and we deny the goodness of God in our lives. I am not judging Leah in this. Her situation was certainly a difficult one, but by keeping her focus on Jacob instead of God, she was robbed of joy and let a root of bitterness settle in. I’m guessing this also made her a fairly unpleasant person to be around.  Are people tired of hearing you whine?  Are YOU tired of hearing you whine???  Praise God in ALL things - things you have and things you don't have! And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7)

We’ll note tomorrow that Rachel, who had all of Jacob’s devotion and undying love, was nevertheless dissatisfied with her life. The grass is always greener...


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