I don’t know about you, but I hated team sports as a kid. I especially hated it when team “captains” were choosing up members of their respective teams, since I always ended up being chosen last.
If you’ve read the stories in Genesis, you might remember the sad case of Leah and Rachel. Jacob fell in love with Rachel at first sight, and he worked seven years to earn the right to marry her. He went through the ceremony after all that waiting, and was tricked into marrying her older sister Leah instead (apparently he was VERY drunk that night or was kept from seeing her face until they were in bed together). He woke up the next morning, and immediately came screaming out of the bedroom. Her own father forced Jacob to stay married to Leah. How do you think this would make the young woman feel?
But our God has a special spot in his heart for underdogs. The Lord over the nations is not too big to be concerned over the broken heart of this new bride. What follows is one of the saddest narratives of all of Scripture. He saw that Leah was unloved by her husband, and he intervened. Again, it is difficult to overstate just how important bearing children was to Middle Eastern women, so he gave her the most valuable thing she could want-Jacob’s firstborn child. This was a wonderful present, but note what she said after the birth: “Surely my husband will love me now.” Sadly enough, this was not to be the case. The Lord kept giving her children, and she kept clinging to the vain hope that giving her husband more children would woo him away from Rachel and towards herself.
Finally--after her fourth child--she seemed to make peace with her situation, since there’s no record of her hope that THIS will be the child that makes her husband actually love her. Instead, she merely said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” The name “Judah” means praise, and of all Jacob’s children, this one will be the most significant. He wasn’t the oldest, but through him would come King David, and ultimately the Savior of the world.
In summary, there are two meaningful lessons from this passage we should pick up. First of all: The losers, the unloved, the so-called insignificant people should take heart that our God is the God of the underdog. He never fails to notice the unnoticed, and he never overlooks the overlooked. Second, we should be wary of the notion that if he just gave us this ONE thing (a new job, a new spouse, lots of money, a better family, etc.) we would finally be happy. Just ask Leah.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have a special place in your heart and in your ultimate plan for people that the world would pass by. Like Leah, may I find my satisfaction in only you, in nothing and no one else.
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