“Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again." (Micah 7:8)
When we read the story of Leah, the daughter of Laban, we find a woman who truly drank the bitter draught of disappointment.
Leah was his older daughter yet, for some reason, was still unmarried. We are told that she had ‘weak eyes’ and was outshone in beauty by her younger sister, Rachel.
When a potential male suitor named Jacob arrived, she was spurned and her sister was preferred..
She took part in a plan of deception where she married Jacob but, awoke the first morning as a new bride to hear her husband probably shouting at her father saying, “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”(Genesis 29:25) Not the words of encouragement and endearment a bride wants to hear on her first day of marriage!!
One week later, Jacob takes Rachel as his bride and we read ‘the LORD saw that Leah was unloved’.
Poor Leah! Even after bearing four sons to Jacob in rapid succession, she is left in the shadows, battling rejection, un-love, humiliation and disappointment. She would walk through life feeling second best, never quite good enough. Nothing she achieved seem to bring the response from her husband that she desired. Disappointment would never be far from her door.
However, this is far from being the end of the story. Rachel was loved by Jacob, but Leah was chosen by God! When God chose a woman to be the mother of the priestly tribe of Levi, it wasn’t Rachel who was afforded the honour; it was Leah. Through that same tribe, Moses the Lawgiver would emerge and would point the people to God. And it was the Levities, into whose hands were entrusted the holy articles of the Tabernacle, and later, the Temple. However, undoubtedly, the greatest honour that was bestowed upon Leah was that she was the mother of Judah, whose tribe became the kingly tribe. It was from this tribe that King David would come and, ultimately, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Saviour who would deliver us from our sins. In her disappointment, Leah could never have imagined what honours were being bestowed upon her.
Sometimes, our dreams and desires don’t materialise the way we had hoped. Leah could only see a small part of what God was doing in her life. She didn’t understand that, in spite of the seeming failure, he was working to perform a feat that would bring blessing for all eternity to mankind. I think she would now agree that that was of more value that the fleeting, momentary love of Jacob.
Let’s learn from Leah’s experience to trust God in our times of disappointment and remember the principle:
"Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)
By looking to Him, we ‘will rise again’ and move forward to face our tomorrows with new joy in our hearts. As Spurgeon said, ‘Don’t say disappointment. Say His-appointment’.
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