"Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance." GENESIS 29:16-17 (ESV)
I graduated college and I told a lie. Living in another state and graduating at thirty gives distance with your family's involvement. The day before graduation, my Meme called and asked, "Exactly what will your degree be in?" Too afraid to say a Bachelors of Church Ministry, in my insecurity, I quickly sinned and said, "General Studies." I went on to explain I could do a non-traditional teaching licensure to fulfill my family's dreams for me. Later that night, my dad called and having some how found out it wasn't a teaching degree he said, "I thought you were going to be a teacher...but I'm still proud of you." I could only dwell on one statement, " I thought..." As this turned over and over in my head, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper, "I'm proud of you. You were obedient tome."
Leah is first seen in Genesis 29:16 in stark contrast to her sister Rachel. Leah is said to have tender, weary or weak eyes, while we aren't sure exactly what that means, we do know this - she didn't compare to Rachel who was "beautiful in form and appearance" (Genesis 17,ESV). Leah was labeled, and that label had been with her since she was a young girl. Leah was defined by externals: rejection, insecurity, and deception. The insecurity and rejection started young, and led to being a part of her father, Laban's, deceiving plan where it would continue.
When externals define us, we will always perform in an attempt to overcome insecurity. Laban's deceptive plan prevailed, and Jacob agreed to finish the wedding ceremony week with his unasked for wife, Leah, then take Rachel to be his wife and work another seven years to pay for her. Leah remained unwanted. Insecurity, rejection, and deception have defined her. When external circumstances define a person, performance becomes a way of life. God saw that Leah was hated and graciously transformed her by giving her a gift -He opened her womb. She gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben, which means, "See a son!" She cried out to Jacob, longing for him to see her. She continued to birth sons hoping they would turn Jacob's heart toward her. Naming the third son Levi, meaning "attached," she said, "Surely my husband will be attached to me now." There was a cycle of rejection and performing, but each time she was left empty.
Unloved by her husband Jacob, Leah was transformed by the One True Love. She was redeemed by God and found her identity in Him. She gave birth to her fourth son, Judah, and declared, "I will praise the LORD!" She ceased to desire the attention of Jacob, and her eyes were seton the One whose eyes had been set on her. Leah had been chasing (earthly)love, while (a heavenly) Love had been chasing Leah, and her heart was finally aware! She stopped crying out to be seen, heard, and needed in her insecurity because she had realized God had seen her! The sons she had thought would make her loved were really a gift from the One who opened her womb and loved her. She found her identity in God who graciously redeemed her life! Oh, the transforming grace of God which turns our gaze upward to the One who redeems!
If you would like to be able to do a complete study of Session Seven, order a copy of HER STORY: Redeemed by contacting Empowered Women's Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817.554.5900 ext. 371. Available also at pcg.org/resources or Amazon.
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