31 The Lord saw that Jacob didn’t love Leah as much as he loved Rachel. So he let Leah have children. But Rachel wasn’t able to have children. 32 Leah became pregnant. She had a son. She named him Reuben. She said, “The Lord has seen me suffer. Surely my husband will love me now.” 33 She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “The Lord heard that Jacob doesn’t love me very much. That’s why the Lord gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 34 She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “Now at last my husband will value me. I have had three sons by him.” So the boy was named Levi. 35 She became pregnant again. She had a son. Then she said, “This time I’ll praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
There are two points I see from today’s passage. Leah’s shift, and God’s purpose.
The Lord saw that Leah was not loved, and responded by “opening her womb” so that Jacob would have a son. Leah’s desire was to have Jacob’s love, and thought giving him a son would result in this. Through these verses, we see that giving Jacob sons, did not in fact increase Jacob’s love for Leah, but by the time she gave birth to Judah, her attitude had taken a shift. “This time I will praise the Lord”. (Judah’s name means “praise” and he was to be part of the birth line of Christ.)
God’s purpose was not to provide children to Leah to grow Jacob’s love for her, although he did show compassion to her, but these children were the first of the 12 to become the founders of the 12 “tribes of Israel”.
And so what do I learn from this today? A consistent theme throughout Genesis is that God has a plan, which does not follow the expected route. Does He improvise according to the imperfection of mankind? No. I believe God always has a Plan A, and fulfils His purpose, His way.
Father, help me to always trust in Your way, and to know that Your plan is perfect. Help me to continually praise you as Leah learnt to, even though she did not gain what she was desiring. Amen
Written by Steve Fell