And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Genesis 29:32-33
Jacob finally arrives at his uncle’s hometown. He immediately falls in love with Laban’s daughter, Rachel. Jacob agrees to work for his uncle for seven years in exchange for marriage to Rachel.
At last, after seven years, the day arrives to marry Rachel, but the deceiver gets deceived. Laban switches Rachel’s older sister Leah on the wedding day. Jacob finds himself married to Leah, but desperately in love with Rachel. You can’t say the Bible is boring, that is for sure! Jacob agrees to work for Laban seven more years to marry Rachel.
As you can imagine, family life is awkward. There is jealousy over the obvious love Jacob has for Rachel, but not Leah. However, Rachel can’t get pregnant while Leah delivers Jacob the prized gift…sons.
More jealousy, this time from Rachel. Leah has sons and she has none.
Names are significant in this culture, and the names Leah gives her sons says a lot. A sample of the names is in our passage today: names about affliction and trying to earn her husband’s love but feeling hated. It is hard not to feel her pain. But God sees and God will bless Leah through her sons.
Things are a bit out of control in this family. If you think God only uses people who have it all under control with perfect lives, these stories should give you hope. Through all of the pain and jealousy and hiding and heartbreak, God is working His plans. Though things may look and feel out of control, God is always in control.
Question: Have you experienced a time when everything felt horribly unfair and out of control, but later realized God was working in it all?