Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. In this series, we will explore a story of a faithful biblical woman each month. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. No matter what our circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories.
An unusual story of a young girl named Leah begins in Genesis 29. There was a man named Laban who had two daughters, Leah and Rachel.
Leah was the oldest; however, her younger sister Rachel was considered more beautiful. It was also during this time that Jacob, son of Rebekah and Isaac, was seeking safety far away from his brother Esau, who was trying to kill him for stealing his inheritance. When Jacob found his way onto Laban’s land, he saw Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter, and fell in love.
Jacob agreed to serve Laban for seven years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. At the end of the seven years, Laban cruelly deceived Jacob during the promised wedding to Rachel. It was customary to bring the bride to the bedchamber of her husband during the wedding ceremony in silence and darkness. The next morning Jacob discovered that he had married Leah and not Rachel. Laban explained that the younger sister could not be married before the first-born. Jacob loved Rachel and agreed to remain married to Leah. Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel the following week but had to promise to serve Laban for another seven years.
Leah was the wife of Jacob, a man who did not love her, and she also had to share her husband with her sister. Leah loved Jacob and prayed about her situation, and God had compassion for Leah. Genesis 29:31 says, “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” God rewarded Leah with the first-born son of Jacob, which was a significant honor for a wife in those days.
Leah hoped that Jacob would now love her and find favor with her, but unfortunately, this was not the case. Leah eventually gave birth to six sons and one daughter and ultimately found her joy and favor with God. Her six sons became the representatives of six of the twelve tribes of Israel. The names Leah chose for her sons demonstrated her honor and faithfulness to God for His blessings. Leah may not have been as outwardly attractive as her sister, but what she lacked in beauty she made up for in loyalty to Jacob as a wife, a good mother to his children, and her faithfulness to God.
When we feel unloved or unattractive, we can turn to look at God’s faithfulness in our lives. God sees our pain and our struggles, and like Leah, He will bless us in our devotion to Him. God does not see outward beauty, but the beauty within our hearts. Although Leah may not seem to have great courage or strength, she demonstrated a quiet and loyal faithfulness to God and her family. Ultimately, Jesus would come from the ancestral line of Judah, one of her sons. Despite the overwhelming pain of rejection, Leah found herself blessed beyond measure.