31 "And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing."
Leah was unloved and she knew it. So when she began bearing sons, she thought it would make her husband love her. Leah learned through much hurt and pain that she was wrong. While Jacob cared and provided for both women, it was Rachel that he was madly in love with. Nothing Leah did could change that. She was rejected because she simply was not the one Jacob loved.
When I read this, I couldn't help but think of all the things I've done to try to make a person love and accept me. People who are rejected often spend their whole life seeking approval and trying to win the love and affection of someone who doesn't feel the same way. Each time Leah gave birth to a son, she assumed that because she was the one who was able to give Jacob sons and not Rachel, that he would love her. Leah went through four childbirths before she finally realized that although she was rejected, she was greatly loved and accepted by God.
Leah's first attempt to win Jacob's heart was when she gave birth to their first-born son, Reuben. Her heart rejoiced because the child was a boy and according to Jewish culture, the first born was the heir, but if the first born was also a male, his father beamed with pride. Male firstborns also had a higher value back then, even as they do today in many cultures. Leah exclaimed, "The Lord has looked upon my affliction; now my husband will love me." Leah's joy was short-lived. Although Jacob must have been a proud papa, it did not cause him to love Leah. Rachel, her sister was barren, but it was she whom Jacob loved. Leah still experienced rejection.
Then Leah had another son. When she gave birth to Simeon, she rejoiced again only to find out that Jacob still loved Rachel. This time Leah thought she had surely nailed it so she proclaimed, "The Lord hath heard that I was hated, therefore He has given me a son." Leah thought giving Jacob a second son would not only please him, but would also seal the deal in winning his love. How wrong she was!
Later, Leah gave birth to her third son whom she named Levi. Thinking that she and Jacob would finally become one, she declared, "Now my husband will be joined unto me." Levi means "become attached to." Leah thought having three sons would cause Jacob to finally love her. This was the farthest thing from the truth. Leah learned the hard way that no matter what she did, Jacob did not love her and the love and affection she had hoped for had eluded her again.
Finally Leah gave birth to a fourth son whom she named Judah. This time she decided toturn her affection towards God and give Him praise. Somehow Leah learned that it was God who loved her and had blessed her with four sons. She turned to God for the love and acceptance she desired. Leah spent many years of her life trying to get a man's love and affection only to fail miserably. She learned she had been looking for love in all the wrong places. She finally turned her attention towards the only One who could give her the love she needed and had desperately sought. Leah came to the realization that God is love, and He is the only One who would love her unconditionally. When Leah gave birth to her last son, she gave up trying to wins Jacob's love, but turned her attention to God. Leah had finally found the love she had been searching for and said, "Now I will praise the Lord."
Leah's story is not unique. There are many Leah's today who are saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. They are serving God in the beauty of holiness, but have been rejected. There are countless men and women who have experienced repeated rejections and are deserately trying to win acceptance, approval, and love by doing everything they can to win the affection of someone who doesn't love them back. LikeLeah, it may take them a lifetime before they realize that they are barking up the wrong tree and wasting their precious time. One day may they come to the same conclusion that Leah did and realize that they are already loved deeply. God Almighty declares, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3)