Day 29:  Genesis/Psalm 29, Judges 5

In Genesis 29 is the story of how Jacob met his future wife Rachel.  It's a beautiful story.  A beautiful mess, Rachel and the smooth but strong Jacob meet at a well.  Jacob is so taken by Rachel that he vows to work for her father for seven years in exchange for his daughter - this apparently is the bride bride price since Jacob did not bring any means to pay for Rachel.  But Laban, Rachel's father deceives Jacob and at the end of seven years of service gives his oldest and ugly daughter Leah to Jacob as a wife.  However, seven days later Rachel is also given to Jacob (after the next day when Jacob realizes the betrayal in the light of day and shudders) as his wife in exchange for another seven years of work.

Leah spent her whole life not very attractive.  We don't know exactly what the situation was, the Bible graciously tells us that Leah had, "weak eyes" which to most means she was not attractive.  We can infer that this is the case since Rachel was of marrying age and her older sister Leah had not yet been married (no one would pay to have her as his wife).  Then, after Jacob works for Laban seven years, Leah is still not married off.  No one wanted her.

I guess we could say that is a father's love for his ugly daughter that drives him to deceive Jacob and give him Leah as his wife knowing that at least she would be cared for, even if Jacob didn't love her.  But more than likely Laban used it as an excuse to get Jacob to work for him another seven years.  After all, Laban must not have been very wealthy if his beautiful daughter had to tend the sheep instead of hired helpers.  Jacob actually increases the holdings of Laban as he served him the first seven years, Laban didn't want that to end.

Anyway, now you know the story and area caught up to what I really want to share.

Because Leah was unloved and Jacob spent all his time with Rachel (don't blame Jacob and Rachel, it was not their fault Leah was put in this position, it was her father's fault).  But God saws that Leah was unloved and Rachel was loved so he opened Leah's womb to conceive, even through Rachel was unable to conceive.  The conception of children was a big thing in those days.  Women who were unable to have children were seen as cursed and often times were divorced because they could not produce offspring to carry on the name.  Sarah was unable to conceive until God gave her that special ability at nearly 100 years old.  Many times in the Bible we read of women who are unable to conceive praying to God and when He opens their wombs their children do incredible things in the Name of God.

Now, by the end of chapter 29 Leah gives birth to four boys (the greatest thing a woman can do for her husband in those days) and she gives them each a different name.  This seems a bit odd since it is usually the father who names the children.  Look at the progression of the names of her boys.

1st - Reuben - named because "the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."
2nd - Simeon - "the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also."
3rd - Levi - "this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons."
4th - Judah - "this time I will praise the Lord."

The first three boys of Leah were named in relation to how she felt, unloved and what she wanted, her husband by deception to love her.  The fact is, she was not going to get married because no one wanted to marry her, sad but true.  Either she was just unattractive or there were other reasons also, physical deformity or mental challenge that had kept her from being married, however, her focus was on her husband and the love of a man who had never loved her and who should have never had to marry her.  This is not Jacob's fault is what I'm saying.  It's Laban's fault.

But by the last child Leah's heart begins to change.  When the first three boys she bore to Jacob didn't change her situation or his love for her she came to a place of peace and said simply, "this time I will praise the Lord."  This in fact, is what she should have been doing all along!  Praising God!  God had allowed her (through deception even) to be married - an honor for a woman in that day.  She also had now bore four sons when her sister had not bore any - an honor for a woman in that day.

We often accept blessings from the Lord with the focus on everyone and everything else except the Lord.  We make the blessing about us and then we want more.  That blessing doesn't make us happy or fulfilled.  When what we should do is praise God for the blessing no matter what.  It's not enough in your eyes, praise Him.  You still want more?  Praise him.  The blessing doesn't get you what you wanted?  Praise Him.

There's a line from a song that goes like this, "I will praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands.  For You are who You are, no matter where I am.  And every tear that falls, You hold in Your hands.  For though my heart is torn.... I will praise You in this storm."

Are you in a storm?  Feeling unloved or have unmet expectations?  Are you receiving blessings from God but not recognizing them?  Take a look around you and begin to make a list of all that God HAS given you.  Perhaps He's simply waiting for you to recognize and praise Him in the midst of your storm so you will see Him as your source and support and not someone or something else.  Praise Him and see what happens.

Day 29:  Genesis/Psalm 29, Judges 5

In Genesis 29 is the story of how Jacob met his future wife Rachel.  It's a beautiful story.  A beautiful mess, Rachel and the smooth but strong Jacob meet at a well.  Jacob is so taken by Rachel that he vows to work for her father for seven years in exchange for his daughter - this apparently is the bride bride price since Jacob did not bring any means to pay for Rachel.  But Laban, Rachel's father deceives Jacob and at the end of seven years of service gives his oldest and ugly daughter Leah to Jacob as a wife.  However, seven days later Rachel is also given to Jacob (after the next day when Jacob realizes the betrayal in the light of day and shudders) as his wife in exchange for another seven years of work.

Leah spent her whole life not very attractive.  We don't know exactly what the situation was, the Bible graciously tells us that Leah had, "weak eyes" which to most means she was not attractive.  We can infer that this is the case since Rachel was of marrying age and her older sister Leah had not yet been married (no one would pay to have her as his wife).  Then, after Jacob works for Laban seven years, Leah is still not married off.  No one wanted her.

I guess we could say that is a father's love for his ugly daughter that drives him to deceive Jacob and give him Leah as his wife knowing that at least she would be cared for, even if Jacob didn't love her.  But more than likely Laban used it as an excuse to get Jacob to work for him another seven years.  After all, Laban must not have been very wealthy if his beautiful daughter had to tend the sheep instead of hired helpers.  Jacob actually increases the holdings of Laban as he served him the first seven years, Laban didn't want that to end.

Anyway, now you know the story and area caught up to what I really want to share.

Because Leah was unloved and Jacob spent all his time with Rachel (don't blame Jacob and Rachel, it was not their fault Leah was put in this position, it was her father's fault).  But God saws that Leah was unloved and Rachel was loved so he opened Leah's womb to conceive, even through Rachel was unable to conceive.  The conception of children was a big thing in those days.  Women who were unable to have children were seen as cursed and often times were divorced because they could not produce offspring to carry on the name.  Sarah was unable to conceive until God gave her that special ability at nearly 100 years old.  Many times in the Bible we read of women who are unable to conceive praying to God and when He opens their wombs their children do incredible things in the Name of God.

Now, by the end of chapter 29 Leah gives birth to four boys (the greatest thing a woman can do for her husband in those days) and she gives them each a different name.  This seems a bit odd since it is usually the father who names the children.  Look at the progression of the names of her boys.

1st - Reuben - named because "the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."
2nd - Simeon - "the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also."
3rd - Levi - "this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons."
4th - Judah - "this time I will praise the Lord."

The first three boys of Leah were named in relation to how she felt, unloved and what she wanted, her husband by deception to love her.  The fact is, she was not going to get married because no one wanted to marry her, sad but true.  Either she was just unattractive or there were other reasons also, physical deformity or mental challenge that had kept her from being married, however, her focus was on her husband and the love of a man who had never loved her and who should have never had to marry her.  This is not Jacob's fault is what I'm saying.  It's Laban's fault.

But by the last child Leah's heart begins to change.  When the first three boys she bore to Jacob didn't change her situation or his love for her she came to a place of peace and said simply, "this time I will praise the Lord."  This in fact, is what she should have been doing all along!  Praising God!  God had allowed her (through deception even) to be married - an honor for a woman in that day.  She also had now bore four sons when her sister had not bore any - an honor for a woman in that day.

We often accept blessings from the Lord with the focus on everyone and everything else except the Lord.  We make the blessing about us and then we want more.  That blessing doesn't make us happy or fulfilled.  When what we should do is praise God for the blessing no matter what.  It's not enough in your eyes, praise Him.  You still want more?  Praise him.  The blessing doesn't get you what you wanted?  Praise Him.

There's a line from a song that goes like this, "I will praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands.  For You are who You are, no matter where I am.  And every tear that falls, You hold in Your hands.  For though my heart is torn.... I will praise You in this storm."

Are you in a storm?  Feeling unloved or have unmet expectations?  Are you receiving blessings from God but not recognizing them?  Take a look around you and begin to make a list of all that God HAS given you.  Perhaps He's simply waiting for you to recognize and praise Him in the midst of your storm so you will see Him as your source and support and not someone or something else.  Praise Him and see what happens.