Loved Like Leah (Genesis 29:31-35)

Never allow another person to determine your worth. Why? Because they are horrible at it and it is not their job. Christians need to spend less time worrying about what other people think about us and more time rejoicing in what God thinks about us. When you rejoice in God’s great love for you (John 3:16), it doesn’t matter as much what others think about you. In today’s sermon, we will learn about the foolishness of seeking the approval of others and the blessedness of basking in the approval of God.

  1. Reuben: The Lord Sees (What others do not Notice).Verse 31 says, “the Lord saw that Leah was hated…” Leah was Jacob’s wife, but Jacob did not want to marry Leah, he wanted to marry her sister Rachel. Leah hoped the new baby would cause him to love her. Therefore, she named him Reuben, which means “Look, a son”. She did this “because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me” (32). The problem is that Jacob did not see what Leah wanted him to see. The new baby did not cause Jacob to love her.
  2. Simeon: The Lord Hears (When others are not Listening).Even though Leah had borne Jacob a son (Reuben), she was still not loved by Jacob. Leah hoped that another son would cause him to love her. Therefore, she named him Simeon, which means “Hear”. She did this “because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also” (33). The problem is that Jacob did not hear what Leah wanted him to hear. The second son did not cause Jacob to love her any more.
  3. Levi: The Lord Secures (When others Detach). Leah has provided Jacob with two sons, but is still upset because he does not love her. Leah hoped that a third son would cause him to love her. Therefore, she named him Levi, which means “Attach”. She did this, saying: “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons” (34). What is interesting about the birth of Levi is that Leah does not even mention the Lord. She just hopes that this will cause Jacob to love her. The problem, as you have now guessed, is that it has not worked. Jacob is no more attached now than he was before.
  4. Judah: I Will Praise (Regardless of Others) With all three sons, Leah has complained about her plight in life. Leah turned God’s blessings (the births of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi) into opportunities to offer complaints instead of praise. This was because she was more focused on Jacob than on God. She mistook God’s blessings as acts of pity instead of acts of love. Things change when Leah gives birth to her fourth son. Instead of complaining, she began praising. Consider what the Bible tells us, “And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore, she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing” (35).

Leah is a reminder of the foolishness of seeking the approval of others. Leah was so infatuated with Jacob that she failed to see God. Instead of rejoicing that God sees, hears, and is attached to her, she complains bitterly about Jacob. This is a common human struggle. Too often we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us. The turning point is for us to rest in God’s great love. Then, and only then, can we interact with others without selfish bitterness. Also, in closing, it is remarkable that God’s greatest gift to Leah was that Judah is the ancestor of Jesus Christ. God chose Leah, not Rachel to be the one through whom the Messiah would come.