Unwanted and Unloved
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose.
As we read the history of our forefathers in the faith, we cannot help but feel sorry for Leah, Jacob’s first wife (Gen 29:23). In the first place, we read that her “eyes were weak” (v 17), probably meaning they lacked the sparkle or glint that was highly prized in that culture. In any case, it is clear she is not as physically attractive as her sister. Second, her own father uses her as a pawn to coax more years of service out of Jacob, and her own week-long wedding reception is thus tainted by being also a celebration of Laban’s craftiness (v 22). Then her indignities are only compounded by having to suffer through another seven days when “the pretty sister” is the centre of attention after marrying her husband as well (v 27–28). Of course, she would also bear the burden of living with the knowledge that she was not all that desirable to Jacob (v 30).
Jacob’s lack of love for Leah is clearer seen in today’s passage. We read in v 31 that she was “unloved,” this was a sad situation for Leah. However, the Lord loves Leah even when Jacob does not. He “saw” her (v 31), a verb Scripture often uses right before God acts on behalf of the oppressed.
For example, the Lord “saw” His people Israel just before He liberated them from Egyptian slavery (Ex 2:25). Here God opens Leah’s womb and makes her a mother before Rachel (Gen 29:31), giving her the greatest status a woman in that society could have at that time. Nevertheless, her longing for her husband to love her remains foremost in her mind. Her first three sons, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are all named in the hope that her affection will not remain unrequited (v 29:31–34).
God ordinarily chooses to exalt what men have rejected (Sam 16:6-13; Acts 4:11 & James 4:10), and this is what He does for Leah. She bears many of the sons God will make into the twelve tribes of Israel. Most notable of these boys, of course, is Judah, for whom Leah offers praise to the Lord (Gen 29:35). This looks forward to the day thousands of years later when Judah’s greatest Son, Jesus Christ, would open the way for all peoples to praise the Creator (Matt1:2 & 5:16. Heb 6:19-20).
If you are in Christ and feel unloved and unwanted, know that God loves you and will raise you up in His good time.
Lord God, when I am feeling unloved or unwanted, help me to remember that You see me, know me, love, care for me, and that You are work all things together for my good. In Jesus name, Amen.