Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leah, Leah, Leah...Did you ever know?

Madness, I tell you! Complete madness! The last couple of weeks have been busy and exhausting, but how can anyone complain when it is SUMMERTIME! I have been delighting in my kids, gardening like Doug Green, kissing my husband and relishing in the warmth of sunny days. Not all have been as warm as I would like...but let's not go there.

Last week was Vacation Bible School at church and it was a great success! I don't know what was better, seeing those sweet smiling faces of Kindergartners to Fifth Graders, or watching our teens work their butts off...with SMILES on their faces. It just floored me to see how much they can do when you give them a chance. God is so good.

I was thinking about Leah the other day. Do you remember that chick? Her story starts in Genesis chapter 29, and OH! What a read it is! She was the unloved wife of Jacob, the ugly older sister who never gets picked first. The Bible goes so far as to say "Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah." Genesis 29:30 Nice, right? Not only do you have to share your husband with your hottie baby sister, but you have to know every stinking day that he loves her WAY more than he loves you. Ugh. So sad. Leah lives her whole life like this, desperate for Jacob's love. And never getting it. But what had me thinking about Leah was not how sad her life was, but how faithful God was to her in spite of it. He gave her tons of babies to put a smile on her face, he gave her wealth, safety and health. I think my favorite part of her story is the naming of her first sons...check it out:
"When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now."

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too." So she named him Simeon.
Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi. She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah." Genesis 29:31-35
Can you imagine? The heartbreak of living for the love of a man you will never truly have, and then finally realizing that all true love and joy and hope only comes from one place- Our Glorious Father in Heaven. Crazy. Leah gets it for a minute, but later in her story she basically buys a one night stand with her husband off her sister...yeah, weird I know. Still chasing the dream of being first in Jacob's heart. He must have been quite the hunk. I digress.
It makes me wonder if Leah ever fully lived in the knowledge of how greatly she WAS loved? Maybe not by Jacob, but most certainly by God. She was blessed beyond most women, she was the grandmother generations removed from the next King, and she was a direct relative of JESUS CHRIST. Jacob might never have chosen her, but God did. He chose Leah to be the wife that would fulfill His promise to Jacob and to all of Israel.
Wow. It stuns me how when we get outside our immediate view, our limited, small and totally self-centered view, and take a minute to look at the bigger picture- we might just see the wonderful way that God has chosen us too. That we, His children, will leave a legacy as remarkable as Leah, once we can see it from His perspective.
Ok, I lied. I have another favorite part in Leah's story. Rachel dies first out in the boonies and is buried somewhere, and then Leah dies and is buried in a cave with her in laws (Read the story I am not doing it justice). And when Jacob finally kicks the bucket, he instructs his sons to bury him in the same cave...that Leah is in! "There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I (Jacob) buried Leah."Genesis 49:31
Interesting, huh? Jacob never picked Leah first, but God still allowed her the honored place even in death, of first wife. Crazy, crazy. God, how sovereign and amazing You are. My peanut brain can not grasp all the implications of even the littlest details of Your epic story. Thank you for protecting and providing for us, even when we don't put you first. Help us all to catch on faster than Leah did, Lord- that Your love is the only one that should completely and entirely capture our hearts. May we have no other gods before you- not romantic love, not physical comfort, not wealth, not respect, not anything or anyone.
Happy, Happy Summer, friends!

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