06 Sep Leah – The girl no one wanted
John 3:16 – God loved the world that he gave his only beloved son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. We hear this verse so often. Yet if we are asked, do we believe God loves us, many of us would say “Yes, but…”. Most of us are unable to connect with the love of God and others due to the influence of a spirit of rejection that visits us through our past generations. St Paul while writing to the Ephesians says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12) Evil spirits are invisible beings that live in the realm of the spirit and are able to speak to us beyond the realm of conscious thought with impressions, feelings, thoughts and ideas. They are able to trigger things in our lives without us even thinking or knowing about it. Hence, the spirits of rejection cause negative behavior patterns, personality changes, illness and much more havoc in our lives. How we deal with this spirit of rejection and engage in a fulfilling relationship with our God is the crux of our Christian lives. Besides Jesus, the Bible tells us about a woman who experienced the pain of rejection.
In the book of Genesis (Gen 29:15-35), we read about Leah. One of the first mentions of Leah is her appearance. The bible describes Leah’s younger sister Rachel as beautiful in form and appearance, but Leah is described as having weak eyes. It probably means Leah was unattractive and had lived all her life in the shadow of her beautiful sister. Jacob immediately falls in love with Rachel and asks her father, Laban, permission to marry her. Laban asks Jacob to work for him for seven years in return and Jacob readily agrees. (Gen 29:18-20) After seven years, when Jacob asks for Rachel’s hand in marriage, Laban tricks Jacob, gets him drunk and gives Leah as a wife. (Gen 29:21-25)
As a father, Laban knew no one was ever going to marry Leah. He wondered how he was going to get rid of her. And seeing a chance, he did just that. Some theologians describe Leah as the girl nobody wanted. And now the girl that her father did not want is given to a husband who does not want her either. Leah was tolerated as a wife but not chosen. Jacob worked another seven years to receive Rachel as a wife and he loved her more than Leah (Gen 29:30). When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb and granted her children.
As first the names she gave to her son expressed her identity as a rejected wife, daughter and sister. Leah gave birth to her first child, a son named Reuben which means “to see” and she thought may be now my husband will see me and love me. (Gen 29:32) She had a second son who she named Simeon which means now I will be heard (Gen 29:332). She had a third son she called Levi which means to be attached, most likely to her husband’s heart (Gen 29:34). All Leah was focused on was getting her husband Jacob to love and approve her. Earning Jacob’s love was first in her heart. Many of us make that same mistake even today. Because we don’t see our worth in God’s eyes, we try to get approval through people’s opinions or external performances. When that happens, we end up in a vicious cycle of pleasing people and fighting situations. In such cases, nothing you do is ever good enough. Even though Leah was a Godly woman, earning Jacob’s love was first in her heart. With the birth of every son, Leah hoped that Jacob would love her. But at some point, she realized that it wasn’t Jacob’s love she craved.
Leah finally came to the realization that the love and approval of God was what really mattered in her life. She gave birth to a fourth son and named him Judah which means Praise. She declared, “Now I will praise the Lord.” (Gen 29:35) Leah changed her priorities. Instead of focusing on her husband, she shifted her focus to the Lord. No longer was Leah desperate for Jacob, her gaze had shifted upwards and she found her joy in the Lord. Leah saw what we need to see: all the striving in the world for love and acceptance won’t fulfill us–only God can do that. When we change our focus from the people we are trying to please, to the God we should please, He fills us with joy and peace that can’t be gained elsewhere.
She looked to God to bless her and God gave her the greatest gift of all. The promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the coming Messiah who would bless the whole world with salvation was fulfilled not through Rachel, but through Leah and her son Judah. God saw the heart of the one rejected and unloved, and He chose her.
Self-rejection or other people’s rejection can fool us into believing that we have no value apart from how we look or what we have. This is a lie. The enemy wants us deceived so that we remain trapped in our own insecurities. When others reject us, it is painful. Yet the Lord says If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they call the members of his household (Mt 10:25). So hold fast, trust and turn your gaze towards the Lord, for if you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.(John 15:19). We were chosen by the King of all creation. Instead of wasting time nursing the sting of rejection, we are free to bear fruit with joy and praise. Like Jesus, who bore the deepest pain of rejection ever, let’s turn our eyes to heaven and walk in the authority and anointing of the calling of God on our lives.
Do you find yourself in Leah’s shoes? Have you felt the pain of being rejected or neglected? Turn your gaze to the one who created you, look upward and praise him. He will never disappoint you.