First of all, I realize that beginning a blog post with the phrase God Sees You can seem rather ominous but please continue reading and you’ll see that I mean it in the most loving way possible.
Anyone who reads the Bible is bound to have at least one story that just throws them for a loop. For some, it’s the story of Cain and Able (Genesis 4). For others, it’s the story of Tamar (2 Samuel 13) or the fact that Solomon had 700 wives (1 Kings 11). For me, it was the story of Leah (Genesis 29). I mean it feels wrong to say, but I used to hate this story. It just seemed so unfair and it rubbed me the wrong way.
The gist of it is, a man named Laban has two daughters. The oldest, named Leah, was described as having “weak eyes” and the youngest daughter, Rachel was described as ‘Lovely, in face and form’…it pretty much means that Rachel had a beautiful face and great figure, and Leah….well Leah had weak eyes.
Jacob, the son of Isaac who tried to steal his older brother’s inheritance, encounters the daughters of Laban when he had to flee from his home after his brother Esau found out about his treachery. Jacob sees Rachel and knows that she’s the missing piece in his life, with a woman so beautiful he would certainly be complete. *insert eye roll* So Jacob and Laban enter into a deal which requires Jacob to work 7 years for Rachel but he neglects to read the fine print of the deal, celebrates the marriage, goes to bed with his bride and in the morning wakes up with…..Leah. (plot twist). He confronts Laban, who then informs him that it’s not their custom to marry the younger before the older and Jacob has to agree to work another 7 years in order to marry Rachel. This truly is such a rich story, that I can’t fully detail it in this post so you should read it but I’ll skip to the part of it that has always frustrated me.
Leah was just living her life, and she ends up being given to a man who didn’t want her and then spends her married life trying to please him, birthing children back to back to back, and sons no less! This story to me just seems so unfair, and I remember reading it as a child and just feeling so sorry for Leah. Because she was literally doing everything she could to be a “perfect” wife to this man that didn’t want her and didn’t deserve her. (wack)
This week, however, I stumbled upon a sermon which talks about the story from a very different perspective. Psychoanalyzing Jacob and Leah and demonstrating how they were actually two parts of one whole. Jacob, the unfavored son of Issac-the promised child of Abraham and Sarah, grew up longing for acceptance and favor from his father which he never got. Marries Rachel because he felt that her beauty would make him feel complete and whole. Leah thought that being the perfect wife and mother would make her feel seen, heard and attached, that it would make her complete and whole. And ends up disappointed, until her 4th child. At which point she realizes that her desires to be whole could only be met through God.
And when she comes to truly know and believe that all she longed for she already had, she praises the Lord and names her son accordingly. I image she was then overcome with the peace and joy that can only come from God, and I also imagine that Jacob eventually came to realize that all he was looking for in Rachel paled in comparison to the salvation, validation, worth, identity, and purpose that is found in God.
Ultimately, I don’t know, because I wasn’t there, but reading this week and understanding that God always sees us, hears us, and he will never leave us is one of the coolest things that has come from this story that I used to hate. The truth of God’s word can really minister to your life in beautiful ways when you allow it to.
The take away for me is that when you look to others for completion or validation or worth or identity you will always “wake up with Leah” but when you realize that it can only come from God you will praise him.