It has been neat to see the common theme of the mercy and grace of God run through each chapter of the book of Genesis. God is weaving a story together throughout His Word and it threads together beautifully with human history. Mankind, from Genesis 3 to Genesis 29, our current chapter for consideration, has been looking for a Rescuer. God promised Adam and Eve that they would be saved by a Male Child, born of a virgin. Every generation that has followed has learned about this Male Child who would Rescue people from sin’s penalty and power. God’s mercy is manifested in the fact that He does not punish people immediately for their sins. God’s grace is manifested in the fact that He gives people multiple opportunities to get right with Him through faith in the Messiah, the Promised Rescuer. That was true for the people alive during the days of Genesis. That is still true today for us who live about 4,000 years since the writing of Genesis. People have always had the same choice; either we can build our lives on the Promises of God or, we can build our lives on anything else other than the Promises of God. Building a life on the Promises of God is the very definition of living by faith. Building a life on anything else other than the Word of God is the very definition of idolatry. Over the past 28 chapters of Genesis, we have seen many people who built their lives on the Promises of God. We have also seen many who chose to build their lives on idolatry. I think of Cain and Esau, both were men who had a chance to build their lives on the Promises of God, yet, they chose idolatry. I think of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. They were all men with a sin nature just like Cain’s sin nature and just like Esau’s sin nature, yet, they chose to live by faith instead of by idolatry.
Today, we are going to focus on Leah. God extends His mercy and grace to her, just like He extends His mercy and grace to all mankind. The way that Leah responds makes all the difference.
I. Jacob and Deception
Jacob is a man of faith yet, he makes mistakes like we all do. He is far from perfect. Jacob’s mother Rebekah helps him deceive her husband (Jacob’s father) Isaac to get Issac to bless Jacob with the birthright blessing. Esau was the firstborn yet, he chose to trade his birthright for a bowl of soup. In order to complete the deal, Isaac had to give the birthright blessing to Jacob. Isaac wanted to give the birthright blessing to his favorite child, Esau. Anyway, Jacob understood deception and the deception game was about to work against him. Jacob’s father, Isaac, told him to go back to his mother’s people and choose a wife for himself so that he would not end up marrying one of the pagan women in Canaan. Jacob listened. Jacob meets Rachel and goes to Laban, his mother’s brother and asks for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Laban deceives Jacob and ends up having Jacob marry the older sister, Leah. Jacob did not love Leah. He loved Rachel. Jacob found out the next morning that he had been deceived and had married Leah . Jacob had to work for 7 years in order to be able to marry Laban’s daughter. Then, after Jacob found out that he had married Leah instead, he had to pledge to work another 7 years in order to marry Rachel. Jacob was tricked into marrying both of Laban’s daughters. At first, this seems terrible for Leah because she is married to a man who does not love her. But, in the midst of this, we are going to see God’s mercy and grace extended to Leah. This is another person who does not deserve the mercy and grace of God. This story is found in Genesis 29 is you would like to read it for yourself.
II. Leah experiences God
As we know, God has revealed Himself to mankind as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many times, we forget the other people along the way who experience God as He brings about His Promise of the Rescuer. One of those people who is often overlooked is Leah. She was unloved by her husband because he had been tricked into marrying her. Leah’s eyesight was poor. She was the older child yet, she was not married. Rachel was very beautiful. Leah seems to be plain. Leah does not seem to have much going for her. But God is aware of her. We have learned some important characteristics of God throughout these 28 chapters of Genesis. God is:
- Elohim – this means that He is the all powerful Creator.
- Adonai – this means that He is Supreme Ruler. He rules over all of His creation.
- Jehovah – this means that He is self-existing. He is perfectly satisfied in Himself and does not seek nor need satisfaction from an external source.
- El Roi – this means that He is the God who sees all and intervenes.
- El Shaddai – this means that He is the Almighty, He has life in Himself and He pours Himself into His creation.
- Jehovah-Jireh – this means that He is the Provider. He has promised to provide for all of our needs.
Leah is about to learn these characteristics of God as she interacts with Him in the midst of her daily life. Leah believes that she will achieve satisfaction if Jacob would just love her. The method that she chooses is to give Jacob children. If he she can conceive and give him children, this will make him love her and she will be happy. Leah is trying to build her life on a crooked foundation, on the idol of marital love. Many women, over the years, have woven their happiness with sentiments of love. I have heard many women say, “if I could just meet Mr. Right, I’d truly be happy”. Our happiness does not depend on others. True happiness is found in a personal relationship with God. Leah has not yet come to realize this.
Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” (Genesis 29:32)
After the first child, Jacob still did not love her like she wanted. She was still left feeling unsatisfied. Leah believes that if she could just have another child, Jacob would love her.
Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. (Genesis 29:33)
After the second child, there is still no change in the relationship between Jacob and Leah. Jacob loves Rachel. Leah is still looking for satisfaction. God is patiently waiting for Leah to accept His mercy and grace so that she can find her satisfaction in Him.
She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. (Genesis 29:34)
Leah has gone from wanting her husband to love her to simply keeping him attached to her by the children who have come as a result of their marriage. Leah seems to be lowering her standards. But God still sees. God is patient, even when we are not patient. There is going to be one more child and after the birth of this child, something changes in Leah.
35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing. (Genesis 29:35)
Leah finally realizes that her satisfaction is in her relationship with God. She chooses to praise the Lord and find her satisfaction in Him. God is going to bless her even more than she realizes because she is now in the lineage of the Messiah. Her fourth son is the son that will form the tribe of Judah. Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah, traces His lineage to the tribe of Judah via King David.
Where are you looking for satisfaction? Is it any person or place other than God? Leah had to go through a lot to get to the point where she looked to God for her satisfaction. Leah experienced God’s mercy and grace first hand, have you?
May the Lord help us look to Him for our satisfaction as we experience His mercy and grace daily.