Text: Genesis 29:16-35
She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD!” And then she stopped having children (v 35).
In the film, The Tiger’s Tail, the central character is stalked by a doppelganger who is revealed to be his twin brother that was given up for adoption. This twin feels that his brother had an unfair advantage in life, and wants everything he has. After engineering events to put himself in his brother’s place, he realizes that his new life is anything but perfect.
Similarly, Leah may have nursed a grudge for her younger sister. While Rachel had a “beautiful figure and a lovely face,” Leah had “no sparkle in her eyes” (v 17). On what should have been Rachel and Jacob’s wedding day, Leah went to Jacob’s bed in Rachel’s place (v 23). Once the substitution was done, however, Leah found that the marriage wasn’t everything she’d hoped. Jacob loved her sister Rachel so much more, he willingly served Laban an extra seven years for her (Gen 29:30).
Seeing Leah’s distress, God blessed her with four sons in quick succession.
Leah may have tried to use this to influence Jacob’s feelings, as evidenced by the names she bestowed upon her first three sons – “Reuben – now my husband will love me; Simeon – God saw that I was unloved; Levi – surely this time my husband will feel affection for me” (vv 31-34). But despite her barrenness, Rachel was still the favored wife.
Eventually, Leah’s outlook shifts with the birth of her fourth son; “she named him Judah, for she said ‘now I will praise the Lord!’” (v 35). Rather than expend her efforts trying to manipulate her circumstances, she turned her energy towards praising God and appreciating the grace and kindness He had bestowed upon her.
We are all tempted to take matters into our own hands at one point or another. No matter how things turn out, may we take a page from Leah’s book and choose to trust and praise God, the only true architect of our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day!