Leah and Rachel lived unusual lives as sisters. Their story is found beginning in Genesis chapter 29. Leah was the oldest but was not loved by Jacob. Jacob was deceived by his father-in-law and Leah was the tool. Leah’s younger sister Rachel was described as beautiful and desired most of all by Jacob.
Most of us would have more sympathy for Leah; yet, Rachel nor Leah, chose their path. A friend of mine, Sarah, shared this revelation that was taught in a retreat from Healing, Love, and Forgiveness Ministries. In spite of all the deception, rejection, anger, and jealousy that abounds in this story–God’s plan remained. God is never taken by surprised, or throws his hands up in defeat and walks away. No matter how human we act, He never leaves or abandons us or His plans.
Later, I continued my research on the two sisters only to find confirmation on the things Sarah was sharing with me.
When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 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.” Genesis 29: 31-32
Reuben, meaning “see a son”
Simeon, meaning “hearing”
Levi, meaning “joined”
Judah, meaning “let Him be praise, I will praise the Lord”
Commentaries shared that Leah’s desperate need to be loved and to belong was seen in the names of her children. Look at me, hear me, I’m attached or joined to you (“Now my husband will love me”), and finally through the gift of Judah, she turns her focus away from Jacob’s acceptance to praising God.
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. Genesis 29: 35
We know that Levi was the ancestor of the Levitical priests, and Judah was the tribe of King David, and eventually of the Messiah.
The story of Leah and Rachel continues. Lingering here is good.
God created us with the need to attach or belong. Psychologists have studied attachment and proven what God created–the basic human need to be loved and accepted.
Brene’ Brown has given the social work field an amazing gift from her research of people who live wholehearted lives. Part of wholehearted living is connection, love, and belonging.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs reminds us that after our physical needs are met, love and belonging are needed to be creative, self-sufficient, authentic, playful, and live a life of meaning.
Ever felt like her? Passed over, not heard, rejected, in comparison, not as beautiful or talented as someone you live with, work with, or go to school with? Maybe we don’t live in Old Testament times, but I believe there are current life applications to be drawn from Leah’s struggle.
Recognizing that God has created us to connect and belong, where are you seeking this “attachment”? For Leah, the lineage of Christ came from a woman so desperate for connection that she finally turned her eyes to God–“I will praise Him”.
God knows that we are human and we will seek humans to fill this connection. God’s design for marriage, parenting, friendships, and even random connections with strangers along your path were meant to be for us to build that sense of love and belonging–He created us to enjoy each other and support each other.
Humans are fickle and we are imperfect. Like Leah there comes this insistence and shifting our eyes and soul to the One we must praise. And, when we shift our focus here, Jesus is there waiting to restore and bring healing. Is it your “This time” in a situation or years of behaviors/patterns of seeking acceptance from things that will never satisfy?
This time I will praise the Lord. When you accepted Him as Savior, God’s gift of the Spirit connected you–“we live in him and He in us”. It is there. This time…
I John 4:13
And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
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