Thursday, March 20, 2008

On Leah

I’m working my way through all your great comments. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will post the next reading, and then we’ll discuss her on Monday. Feel free to stop in here over the weekend if you want to comment further on Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah or on something another sister has said.

Ever look at one of those movie stars on the red carpet and think: I never have and never will look that good! Me too. I image that’s what Leah felt every time she looked across the room at her younger sister. There was no escaping Rachel’s beauty. Sometimes, when she was alone, Leah would braid her hair fancy, tuck some flowers in it, and pretend to be irresistibly beautiful as she danced about. However, that was just pretend … real life was different.

Leah had heard the whispers between her parents about how easy it will be to find a husband for Rachel. They never said that about Leah. Her Dad expected he would be able to demand a large bride price for Rachel. What sort of dowery would I fetch, Leigh wondered. Thank goodness, custom holds the older sister will marry first, Leah thought, because she would be so embarrassed for Rachel to marry first and her never to marry.

Sometimes Leah wondered if she would marry. Being the oldest, she'd reached the age for marriage but had no suitors. Each day as she helped cook dinner, she imaged she was cooking for her husband and she hoped God would send him to her soon.

Then one day Rachel brought home their cousin Jacob she’d found by the well. He was an unmarried, eligible bachelor! Jacob told them who he was and about the dream he'd just had that God would bless him.

Laban told Leah to be sure and be attentive to Jacob, for he was a possible suitor for her and one that Laban did not want to get away. This had to be it – her destiny – her future husband. Leah worked all day in the kitchen cooking a scrumptious meal and even dared to braid her hair with a little flower that evening in preparation for dinner. Jacob sat across the table from braided Leah and her little sister. But before the meal was even half eaten, everyone could tell Jacob fancied Rachel, not Leah. Of course … beautiful Rachel.

In a matter of weeks, Jacob and Rachel were engaged. This was not fair! Rachel was hardly even marrying age, and everyone knew the older sister is customarily married first. Laban broke custom and struck a deal for Jacob to work seven years in payment for Rachel. Laban said that would also give Leah seven years to marry. Maybe with Rachel officially “off the market” it would give Leah a chance to shine, Leah's mother reasoned. But they both knew Leah wasn’t exactly the shining kind.

For seven long years, Leah watched Rachel and Jacob exchange tender looks and loving words as they made plans. Leah couldn’t help but think that could’ve been her … that should've been her. Meanwhile, another suitor never appeared.

The whole wedding switch was her Dad’s idea and Leah prefers not to talk about it. Rachel, however, won’t stop bringing it up and won’t forgive her. “What was I suppose to do, Rachel, Dad insisted on it!” Leah would argue back. Honestly, Leah feared what would happen to her if she didn’t go along with Laban’s plan. Her father could be a hard man - both sisters knew that. Leah figured if she did go along with it, at least she would have a husband. Maybe Jacob could learn to love her.

The problem was Jacob only had one week to learn to love her before her Daddy gave him Rachel too. Oh not officially, but he sure was in Rachel’s bed nearly every night. How was her husband supposed to learn to love her with her beautiful younger sister always taking his attention away? Leah never felt she got a fair shot at Jacob. Not seven years ago when he first arrived, and not now after her marriage to him.

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.” (Genesis 29:31-32)

So Leah birthed Jacob’s firstborn – a son! Surely, he would love her now. Now he would spend less time with Rachel and more evenings with her and their son. Only that’s not what happened. Jacob actually spent more nights with Rachel, not less, claiming it was Rachel’s turn to conceive.

Leah became a lighting rod for Rachel’s anger. And that lightening grew stronger with every child Leah bore, and with each year that Rachel remained barren. In some small way Leah felt sad for her sister’s bareness, but not too much because, after all, Rachel always had Jacob. Leah tried to be a good wife but always just felt second-fiddle.

Sometimes on hot evenings as she lay awake, alone in bed, Leah would think: None of this would be if Daddy had not let Jacob be engaged to Rachel when I was still unmarried. He let Rachel steal my suitor. And she stole Jacob again when Daddy gave her to Jacob just a week after he married me. He married me first!

Leah bore Jacob many more sons, and even a daughter. She acknowledged God each time, but with each one she hoped Jacob’s heart and attention would be swayed her way. She even named her sons with that hope.

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." (Genesis 29:33-34)

But Jacob never seemed to attach to Leah. Slowly Leah learned to look less to Jacob and more to God for her happiness:

"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. Then she stopped having children." (Genesis 29:35)

Rachel died while giving birth to her second son, and Leah grieved. But Leah found new hope thinking this would finally be her chance to bond with her husband. Rachel was out of the way now for good.

Only Jacob never really recovered from the loss of Rachel - and he focused his affection not on Leah but on Rachel’s two sons. As it turns out, the beauty of Rachel’s memory after death even out-shined Leah’s presence in life. Yes, according to Leah, there was no escaping Rachel’s beauty.

I’m taking some “creative license” here to enter the shoes of these biblical women and look around at their situations from their perspective. But it’s so helpful to me to imagine why things may have unfolded as they did, and what the women may have been thinking or feeling. Then I can relate to and learn from them when I find myself in similar circumstances, or experiencing similar feelings.
I’m struck today by the thought that Rachel and Leah spent so much time looking at each other and instead of seeing their commonalties, they saw the thing the other possessed that they wanted. Don’t we do that today with our siblings or women in our lives? We look at their beauty, or their children, or their husbands, or their talent, or their large home, or their ____ (you fill in the blank). And we decide we’ve been somehow short-changed compared to them. We wake up one day to find that we’re not content and thankful, but competitive or resentful -- and we feel we have a “right” to be.

I leave this time with Rachel and Leah wanting to thankfully accept myself and my blessings, and wanting to look lovingly at other women as my sisters and not my competition. I want to be content where I am at – right now, here today - while patiently looking to God to bring about whatever good plans He has in store for my future (Eph. 2:10).


Stay tuned for the next woman we'll cover.

61 comments:

  1. Your words about Leah struck something so deeply hidden in my heart. Thanks a lot!

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  2. Thanks, Rachel, for your imagined, embellished picture of these sisters—both so blessed of God, but unable to perceive their own beauty and value in God's plan. Beauty—both inwardly and outwardly—can bring as much pain and misunderstanding as the lack of it. We need to seek God for the true picture of ourselves and the love and value He bestows on us.
    You've challenged me in this study of Rachel and Leah to allow God's love to fill me to overflowing and to spread around that love to all in my network, both near and afar. It's so easy to see and desire something 'perfect' alloted to another, rather than recognize the gift already in my hand waiting for me to receive/accept/embrace it, with thanksgiving to the Lord. I've a long way to go...

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  3. Your right Rachel, women should see themselves as sisters and learn to love each other's talents and uniqueness. I have always read this story and thought of Leah and Rachel only as two biological sisters and yet we, as women, often treat each other this way. I pray that God will open my eyes to the unique beauty in my "sister" lives.

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  4. Your insight on Leah and Rachel really opened my eyes. Thanks so much Rachel O for this study, im learning so much from it. I had gotten away from reading the bible and now getting back to it. Looking forward to the next Passage. From Virginia

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  5. Ahhhh....yes.....contentment with ourselves. It is so difficult to find contentment in the blessings we have been given. Afterall other people have so much bigger and better gifts.

    Thanks for your "insight" into what Leah may have been feeling. When I read it the first time I thought "so what Leah, so what if Rachel is more beautiful than you, get over it, surely you have other gifts that she doesn't have" but to think about day in and day out dealing with your husband "google-eyed" for your sister even as you are carrying his children must have been mind consuming to say the least!!!!

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  6. Seems like so often, no matter what God gives us we, in our human fraility, want something more, something (to our way of thinking) better.

    Learning more about the times and customs of Bible lands is amazing. It's hard to conceive how hard the lives of both Leah and Rachel must have been. Being a spinster would certainly not have been a good option for Leah, but it might have been a better choice than such an unhappy marriage; but then that would not have worked within God's plan either.

    We just have to have faith that God's perfect will will be done in His time in our lives.

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  7. I loved today's words about Leah. I too have felt envious of other women, when I should feel blessed by all that God has given to me. But more importantly, your last comment struck a chord. God has a plan for me..just for me.. Isn't that the most incredible thing? That He has a plan just for me? And I am trying to learn the patience and how to discern what that plan is.
    Thanks for opening my eyes (if just a little bit further...)

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  8. I am so glad that I am the only wife of my husband ....and that we share our two beautiful daughters...Life is complicated enough! My sister and I have had sibling rivalry over trival things during the years....but, never something as deep as sharing a husband and everything that entailed....I can not even imagine what pain these women lived through. How amazing that this was part of God's plan. But, it was and the rest is "His"tory! Amazing!

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  9. Thank you so much for a real perspective on Rachel & Leah. I have always enjoyed this story in the Bible but wanted to know 'more'. Your take on these women was right on. I struggle with wanting what I have, rather than what I have not. Thanks for the reminder to count my blessings...

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  10. Rachel O. you have made the story of Leah and Rachel come alive by writing what you felt and put into everyday words. It makes it so much easier to understand.

    One thing I realized after yesterday's reading was that I feel somewhat as Leah did. I was an only child and through my teenage years I have a few friends and one especially who has remained a good friend even though we are so far apart in miles. What I realized was that I see other women who have friends they do things with like shopping, just talking together, etc. and I can honestly say I envy that because I don't have a "special" friend. Maybe it's because I've had so many health problems and have dwelt on them too much when I'm around other women (at least that's what my husband says). My prayer to God is going to change that I will see the good in others and also their needs and put myself aside. Thanks for this study, it has truly been a blessing and opened my eyes to a lot of areas that I need to improve on. Have a wonderful Easter.

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  11. I don't know if I typed my name wrong but it should be AliceE. not Aliceje. Sorry, from NC

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  12. Such loneliness and comparison. Never matching up. Never feeling good enough. No where to escape. Unloved by her husband, hated by her sister. It's in her own home, in her face all the time. There's no place that she can retreat to where she is the "special one" and rest in that. How awful. I can relate to that in my growing up years and early twenties (except for being unloved by husband and sister). I never had the beautiful clothes my classmates did. I didn't have close friends. I was never taught that I was special. I never got those things that I longed for and desired because it was unnecesary to my mom. No piano or swimming lessons, no extras, no nothing. I too imagined myself a princess in beautiful clothes being worthy of something. I constantly compared myself to others. How I felt sorry for myself! Jealousy and envy drove me nuts. All on the inside. Outside I was a very quiet girl and nobody knew how I felt.
    As I grew older there was more rejection but I was also learning more about God's love for me, and finally in my twenties I found a wonderful church offering an inner healing class where I really started to find wholeness in Christ and Christ alone. I was and am significant. I also forgave myself and others. Healing started to take place. What a learning experience life has been. I'm now in my late thirties and loved by my God, husband, children and others. I feel special because I am special, just as each and every person is.

    I'm glad that Leah started to find her significance in God, but sad that she never seemed to break free from jealousy or envy, as it seems thats what she taught her sons. We leave a spiritual heritage for our children, good or bad. I know that I want to continue to grow in Christ, and continue to leave the everyday burdens at the cross so that I can be more like Christ and leave a good heritage for my children.
    Connie - Canada

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  13. Wow! Amen, Ginny. I echo your thoughts and words. I want to come to that place of total contentment in who God made me to be...embracing His love for me, so I can then love my family and friends with a more genuine, confident, selfless love. I,too, have a long way to go, but I choose to bask in God's steadfast, unconditional love, and focus on the gifts He's given me, and the plan He has for me in this season of life. I've been so blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for almost 9 years, and my youngest is almost 2 yrs. old. In the midst of the sometimes mundane tasks, there are days when I struggle with feelings of insignificance, and even envy when I look at some of my friends who are in the working world. However, this study is so helpful in putting things back into perspective. Also, 8 months ago, my husband decided to quit his job and open his own auto body business. It was a huge step of faith for us, and we are still having to take one day at a time, and trust God for His provision. I am learning to wait on Him, and not try to "control" the outcome or future of the business. Anyway, I share this to encourage any of you who can relate. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and insights. Be blessed today!

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  14. Poor Leah. That would be terrible to live your whole life and know your husband had eyes for someone else. I think about how often that happens today, when a wife just can't quite capture the full attention of her husband. As women, I think we have so much to compete with today for our husband's attention. We have television, sports, and all of the terrible images of women plastered everywhere we look.

    I am so grateful for the husband I have. He is so attentive to me and only has eyes for me. After reading your story on Leah, it definitely makes me want to be much more attentive to him. I feel like I have definitely been taking him for granted lately. Thank you.

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  15. Debbie in Goose Creek,SCMarch 20, 2008

    Rachel, I've been very discontent in the past and compared my 'lack of something' to the many 'somethings' other women have. I have found a wonderful book by Linda Dillow called ,CALM MY ANXIOUS HEART. Through that, I've come to be thankful for what God has given and thankful that He is the Great Controller who knows best. I'm much more contented with my life. I suggest every woman gets that book.

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  17. Rachel, I can not say it enough...you are presenting these stories in such a way I'm overjoyed to come back to your blog for another addition. You make these women real.

    Will you be on the women's cruise next February? I'd love to hear you speak!

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  18. You know, sometimes I feel like Leah. I don't have any sisters (or brothers) to be competitive with, but I feel this way toward other women. I call it jealousy. I am seriously jealous of women who are beautiful (I do not see myself this way)or slender (I'm definitely not that) or successful in their careers (I have a great job, but it could be more) or have talents like singing, crafts, etc. or have it "together" financially. Man, do I sound unthankful or not. I guess that is what I got out of this picture of Leah. I need to let go of all of that and be thankful to God for what He HAS given me.

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  19. Wow, you are making these women alive for me. And sadly, I have never looked at Leah the way I did today. What a very sad life, to long for love from a husband who is in love with not just another woman but her SISTER!!! And to be consumed year after year praying that she would be loved as Rachel was.

    Our blessings are hard to see when we're focusing on what someone else has and it too often causes us to covet and envy what others have.

    But what a blessing it is to realize, recognize and enjoy the blessings God has given us in our own lives. I am talking to myself here. I must stop getting frustrated over how I need things in my home clean and tidy all the time, (with 5 children) and how I need the laundry down, and learn to thank God for this season in my life. A season that will flash before my eyes if I don't open my eyes and bless God for all that I have RIGHT NOW! Not looking and comparing myself to others but being content right where I am.

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  20. Using "creative license" gives insights to the human side of Rachel and Leah and surely gives food for thought! Thanks to Rachel and all the comments from others.
    What an interesting and enlighting study!
    Today is the first day of Spring
    Happy Spring and glorious Easter to everyone!

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  21. I'm very happy that so many of you have been so open about your lives, I dealt with fear and insecurity for most of my life and it had some devistating results. So I can really relate with a lot of these womens feelings. God made me a special way with talents of my own, but I always believed I was nothing special and wanted what everyone else had. If anyone could do something I wasn't doing or couldn't do I tried to do it. How many of you know that trying to do something that God hasn't gifted you with is very hard. But by golly I was going to keep going. Finally after my 40 years in the desert, :) I am learning to just be me. Almost every morning I pray for God to let me see myself the way He sees me, and for me to be who he called me to be. Now that I'm just being me and working with the talents that God placed in me I am being so blessed in every area of my life. I now have people that want to know how I do things. I'm still growing, I always will be, and I have to fight not to let the fear and doubt in, but all the glory goes to God. A book that helped me on my journey to being free in God is "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyers. If any of you battle insecurity it really helped me. Thank you so so so much Rachel O. I am enjoying the learning and the fellowship with all these women. You have a special gift yourself, an insight to these women, and a talent to write as you do. Lynn Milwaukie OR

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  22. Thank you SO much for the special insight into Rachel and Leah this week. It is so interesting to discover that "Biblical" women were just human like us -- worried about how they looked, jealous/envious of others around them, etc. Somehow we must let GOd show us as the women HE made us to be. May we all find our value and beauty in our Heavenly Father, the King. That makes us Princesses, you know! Royalty. I don't often feel like a Princess, but I find that when I'm resting in the Lord and His ways, I am much more "beautiful" in my actions/attitudes toward others. Blessings to all of you and Happy Easter!

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  23. I never thought what it would be like for leah always being in the shadow of her younger sister. In fact in my family I am the Rachel, because I am the only girl and have two brothers. They were very similar, I relate to Rachel, but more so to Leah. The underdog. Yet when they look toward God for guidance, they see His loving will displayed. Oh wonderful God is when we relize our life is in His hands grants the best blessings!

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  25. When we apply Leah's predicament to our lives, her possible thoughts arent too much different from some women today. But,we get so wrapped up in outer appearances (self) that we miss our true meaning for life (spirit being). If only we realize that God is our source for Love and only He can bring us real peace in our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus when we make our request made known to Him by prayer and supplication Phil 4:6,7.

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  26. Thank you for sharing, jnl4god. I can sooo relate! I am going to look for that book. ~Kelly in MI

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  27. Can I ask a possibly silly question?

    When did Leah and Jacob get married?


    I thought they switch happened after the ceremony.

    Emily in Ohio

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  28. I give an "Amen"! to Lakeisha's last paragraph...being content in this season of life, and not getting "bent out of shape" over the mountains of laundry that never seems to go away. Amen, sister!!!

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  29. Thanks for sharing your hearts and all the great insights. The story of sisters forced to share their husband through no control or say of their own is heartbreaking to say the least.
    It brings to my mind the current news of the NY governor and his infidelity, the impact on his wife and 3 daughters. Even more disturbing is the seemingly unrepentant heart of the other woman.
    This brings to light that sin is all around us. We are in a battle, and that battle is for our heart. People in our lives (husbands, sisters, other women etc) will disappoint us and sin against us. Our enemy wants to use these circumstances to poison our heart, so that we harden them and become bitter. In this way our eyes are focused inward and we feel justified in our bitterness. This molds us and consumes us and keeps us from God and others.
    So, from tales of old to current news, the battle continues.
    I ask God to help me keep my eyes turned up to him and out of my own belly. To give him thanks and gratitude in all circumstances. Seems easy as I sit and type this but then as soon as I get up and am faced with_______(fill in the blank) it is not so easy.
    Rachel, thank you for this oppertunity to learn and share with you and other women.

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  30. I do not beleive any question is a silly question and even though I don't know the answer to yours, I too would like to know when Jacob married Leah.
    There are so many unanswered questions in the bible stories and
    sometimes I go back and wonder where and what, I missed. I continually ask my husband questions about history and geography because it seems I have lost all that I was taught. This
    bible study has been an answer to
    my prayers. Rachel, you have made it so easy for us. Thank you again.

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  31. This story really does make me look inward and how I let other women affect my thought about myself. God has been working with me on that and the accepting of oneself. God makes no mistakes so we are to be molded into His image, daily, and He enjoys the work and we should enjoy the process, perfecting us for His return. What a awesome God we serve. Only with our best interest in mind, only wanting us to follow His will for our lives because He cares for us. He is so mindful of us He knows our beginning and end. How I love Him so. Ingyr, Columbus Ohio.

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  32. It is a blessing to read your study, then with all of the different ladies' comments, it has helped me grow.
    One of my problems is on my job, watching my boss have an affair. It creates in me bitterness toward him, the other woman here,feeling sorry for his wife for not knowing and I have to ask God to help me with this. Do I close my eyes to this daily? My boss considers himself to be a Christian and his business is great.
    Having this discussion with my husband, he told me that Satin can make sin look so good. I don't want the affair or the attention of the boss, but I can't understand how the business can be growing with all of the sin around.
    But then I looked at Rachel and Leah's story. Each wanted something else and sometimes that's the way I feel also. I want that something else and I need to look at what I have and when I do..... I am sooo blessed.
    Thank you again for sharing with us.

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  33. How wonderfull it is to see through the study of these women of the bible that God can and will use us despite our shortcommings, imperfections and sin. Praise God we do not have to be perfect in order to be used of God!!!! It has also given me a new goal and that is to be totally sold out for the Lord. We can see the jealousy, and envy being passed on to the sons of these women and I sure don't want to leave that as a legacy for my two son's.

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  34. The question was asked earlier when did Jacob marry Leah? What comes to my mind is that he "married" her after the wedding ceremony when he made love to her that night in bed.
    Rebekah and Isaac were considered married after he took her into his mothers bed and they made love.
    They did not have wedding ceremonies like we do today.

    I asked my Uncle who is a pastor and he agreed with me but said he would research it and let me know if he found out anything different.

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  35. You know what I find really amazingingly wonderful after reading about both Rachel and Leah?? That the Bible records (in Gen 29 and later in ch. 30) how God heard these girls cries for help right where they were. Despite there prior sin and 'i'll just do it myself' mindsets, God STILL heard there pleas for children or for love and fulfilled those requests. What an awesome and personal God we have! He didn't turn a deaf ear but was intently watching over and orchestrating His perfect will. I'm so thankful we serve a God who sees us where we are and knows our needs and our heartaches.

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  36. I agree with sky4kat-we are to keep our eyes on the Lord and not our circumstances. Recently I found it difficult to remove my eyes from a circumstance and place them on the Lord. I struggled fiercely to have my way and say. Thank God that he held me back and kept me from saying or doing things that would of caused pain. It seemed like an eternity before I relented but I felt the peace of taking my eyes off of the circumstance and on to the Lord. That evening the Lord was a very present help in times of trouble.

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  37. Reading this today reminded me of something I haven't thought of in a while. It's easy to forget that there are still women, even in America, who must live with the heart wrenching realities of polygamy.

    Let's all lift these women up in prayer today, as we consider the pain and jealousy that Rachel and Leah both endured.

    Let's pray that God's light would shine into the darkness that so many lost women live in.

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  38. "Lord Jesus, I just ask that you forgive me for wanting what I cannot have and being jealous of what everyone else has"

    We are all guilty of that aren't we? This study has shown me so much about myself and like Ginny said, "Challenged me.." It challenged me into forgiving myself, I allowed myself to feel abandoned, but never was, I didn't listen to the Lord, so that is why I had to forgive myself. Just thinking about what I always had is so amazing and now I feel so refreshed and alive in the Lord!

    Praise God for His mercy and grace..I am a child of the King!!
    Donna

    p.s. don't forget to say Hi on my blog..donnamcguinness.blog.com
    Thanks Kim, Sweatpea, Dana..I haven't looked today. We are sisters together in the Lord, all of us here..

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  39. thank you again racheal for doing this study i look foward to reading with every one eles.now i have alot of sisters where before i was an only girl .GOD BLESS YOU

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  40. Hello Ladies, this confirms something that I realized as a very young girl, never knew that God would reveal it to me 30yrs later. I have always felt as if women were groomed as little girls to be envious of one another, and now as I read these trials that presented the resentment of each sister, it starts to make since. I pray that in learning to Love God I have accepted who He designed me to be, because I am special to Him just as He designed. This study has truly allowed me to do some self evaluation and soul searching to make sure that I am still in the will of our Father.
    May each of you enjoy this Resurrection Weekend.
    LOL
    MDC....in Dallas, TX

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  41. Thank you Rachel for your commentary. The thoughts that you had on contentment really struck home with me. I want to be content where I am at in my life instead of looking at other's lives. Have a blessed Easter everyone.

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  42. Sometimes it's hard to feel content with where you are when you once knew with all your heart that you were exactly where God wanted you to be and then it all disappears because of a life altering illness that is beyond your control. It's a daily struggle to believe there is another purpose for one's life when that happens. Finding ways to be grateful with what still remains can be challenging but critical until the way to move forward is revealed.

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  43. Thank you all for your comments and Rachel for bringing us all together. I pray everyone has a blessed Easter, whatever you are doing.

    To Anonymous, I don't know what your life altering illness is, but I pray that God blesses you and shows you His purpose in it. Eleven years ago my husband suffered a massive stroke, they removed the right side of his brain do to swelling (to save his life), the stroke left him totally paralyzed on the left side of his body, he is in a wheelchair. Last November 6, 2007 they had to amputate his left leg, he is diabetic and after a fall in September his leg wouldn't heal. I take care of him at home, with the help of home health aides and a wonderful homecare nurse, (she's been his nurse for 6 years now, she is a part of our family).
    In the beginning all I could do was ask "Why God"? He was just 56 years old at that time. I've learned over the years to ask each day, "what lesson do you have for me in this today Lord"? He always shows me something new to do with my husband or He brings people into my life to encourage. In my quiet time He reveals so much of Himself to me, I love the Psalms, old hymns, I've learned to journal and to try not to take each day for granted...thats alot easier said then done...we both look forward to spring and warmer weather, we can be outside working in the yard and visiting neighbors, we take long walks...I walk he rides his power chair...I need the exercise anyway...hehehe.
    We have a lovely family, our 3 children are all grown and married and God has blessed us with 15 beautiful grandchildren....God is soooooo Good...

    Once again I Love the Study, and I pray each one of us will come to know God in a deeper more meaningful way as we grow in His word together.

    God Bless you all, Josie

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  44. Josie, your comments were a blessing. Your attitude concerning your husband's stroke is a good example of the following quote:
    "If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade."

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  45. As I read all of your comments and the insights you shared, Rachel O, I am struck by how thank full I am to be living in America. I am divorced, childless and have struggled in the past with being alone in my life.
    I thank God for my Mom and Dad who affirmed me for who I am and encouraged me to pursue my interests. My parents were way ahead of their time in that they didn't raise me, my brothers or sisters into any gender specific roles. My brothers know how to cook, and my sisters don't hesitate to grab a wrench to do some auto repair work when needed. I am thankful that I am valued for me and am not limited by the cultural expectations that Leah and Rachel faced. Don't misunderstand me please, I'm not a superwomen and there are times I miss raising a family. However I also cherish loving my nieces, nephews and have even been adopted by friends children as "Auntie" or a special friend. God is ever good and even if it doesn't appear so at the time, His plans for us are very good too.

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  46. As I read all of your comments and the insights you shared, Rachel O, I am struck by how thank full I am to be living in America. I am divorced, childless and have struggled in the past with being alone in my life.
    I thank God for my Mom and Dad who affirmed me for who I am and encouraged me to pursue my interests. My parents were way ahead of their time in that they didn't raise me, my brothers or sisters into any gender specific roles. My brothers know how to cook, and my sisters don't hesitate to grab a wrench to do some auto repair work when needed. I am thankful that I am valued for me and am not limited by the cultural expectations that Leah and Rachel faced. Don't misunderstand me please, I'm not a superwomen and there are times I miss raising a family. However I also cherish loving my nieces, nephews and have even been adopted by friends children as "Auntie" or a special friend. God is ever good and even if it doesn't appear so at the time, His plans for us are very good too.

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  47. Dear Josie,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your strength is beautiful to behold and your love is clearly abundant. I pray that you and your family have a blessed Easter!

    You are an inspiration that God never leaves us or forsakes us. That His plan is to prosper us and not to harm us. And that he binds up the broken hearted and gives us strength. Rest easy in His arms!

    -Karen

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  48. Wow....I have experienced just what you were talking about. I have finally accepted who and what I am and my life has gotten much better. You have to be pleased with yourself first, right where you are at this very moment and because I am going through this process, you will find that life gets better. Putting God first, staying in His Word, praying, and trusting God and believing He will bring you through whatever you're going through gives you the strength to press through anything that comes your way. No, it's not always easy, hpwever,what human thinking says can't be done, God can do the impossible. I wish for all of you God's blessings and favor and when you feel like you can't make it, look up and ask God for help. He loves us and believes in us and knows what we're capable of. From Denver

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  49. You know what's so amazing in all this, I have taught Sunday School for I can't tell you how long...never have I gotten the perspectives I am getting currently with this blog. There are real life lessons to be learned here.

    Thank God for you Rachel for doing this. And thank God for all you wise women who so graciously bring your insight and wisdom to the forum so the not so insightful ones (namely me) can start to look at the Bible in a new light and see that the Old Testament is not just a story book with a simple moral at the end.

    Happy Easter to you all.

    HE is Risen!! Hallelulia

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  50. imagine that through all of this God still loves His precious children... the women that He created.

    thanks for your thoughts... it made me think quite a bit about where i am in life right now. God has given us some great women to learn from.

    i particularly was impressed when leah began to just praise God and to be thankful to Him. she made him central in her life.

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  51. Emily I believe they were considered married once it was consummated. I am thinking that there were no exchange of vows as today. My question is what was going on during all the festivities that were a part of the marriage celebration? Were Rachael and Jacob together at all doing the day? It appears there were separate celebrations/preparations and the bride and groom didn't see each other until night. Than Leah came in veiled.
    I'm trusting that one of these knowledgeable and insightful women can answer these questions (rachel).

    thanks ladies I am reaally enjoying thos and most especially the sharing. I beleive women have a very hard time really sharing what they are feeling with other women becasue of insecurities, jealousy, distrust. It is definitley much easier when we don't know each other. May we all continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God and His expectations for us as we study those He has given us as an example in His word. I agree Rachel that you are annoited may God continue to use you.

    have a blessed Ressurection Day Everyone of you God's Holy Women.

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  52. Praise God for each of your comments and thoughts. I must echo how incredible God is using this study for each of us to get so much from text that many of us have been reading, reading, some even teaching and now the Holy Spirit is just opening it up and really bringing it to life.

    Easter is our time to celebrate and make His story told. Did you know that Good Friday is the same time as Purim this year. Purim is when Esther saved the Jews from the distruction planned by Hamen. This is a great time indeed!

    In Joy, Gwendolyn in Arizona

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  53. Jean, thanks for bringing that information to light as I too was not understanding about the wedding...I didn't think about them not having a wedding ceremony like we have today...that makes more sense now!

    There was a time in my life when I felt that I had everything that I could ever imagine...a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful girls...a very good marriage for 15 yrs and I remember many women saying to me how they wished they could have a marriage and family like mine. Then I watched my husband summoned to alcohol and my life began to change drastically. Within 4 years it was a totally different marriage and life...however no one knew that...and learning to deal with that and learning to trust God through that time was very hard for me. But I'm so Thankful that I remained faithful to God and trusted him to work things out in his way and his time...not that I always agreed with it...but my life now is so different and amazingly better than I could have ever imagined. God does still work miracles...it's just hard for me to be patient and wait on his time and his way...because what I've experienced is his way isn't anything that I can see/imagine and he goes about it in all sorts of different ways.

    My encouragement to all here is...Continue to have faith & patience and walk the path that he lays before you each day and know that he is in control.

    JT in Southern IL

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  54. I can relate to both these women. I understand how Leah did not feel special and I see how Rachel felt like she was always in Leah's shadow. Just think what their lives would have been like if they told each other about thier insecurities. Because I bet you that both women thought the other one had it made. However, it is hard to open up to someone (even a sister, even though it should not be that way) and show them our weaknesses. I think it is some what strange that I feel more comfortable sharing my inadequacies with my husband as opposed to any of my sisters. I thank God everyday for the relationship I have with my husband and I pray that that continues for the rest of our lives.

    I really have enjoyed learning about these women. They seem more real now and more like us. Thanks Rachel for taking the time to do this and answering the call for all of us women. I know this is time consuming but I think we all needed it.

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  55. This Bible Study has really motivated me to dig deeper.

    I love what an awesome God we serve.
    Geneva Study Bible

    Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he {k} opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (k) This declares that often they who are despised by men are favoured by God.

    I know that we are studying Rachel and Leah but I wanted to share what I found on Jacob. This has really been eye opening for me.

    Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)

    The personal lesson is obvious: while Jacob is not forsaken, he is permitted to reap the shame and sorrow of his self-chosen way.

    I am reminded of the saying...Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.

    This has really taught me to be careful how I live my life because if it doesn't affect me personally how will the way I have lived my life affect my children?

    Click here: Bible.org: "What Goes Around Comes Around!" (Genesis 29:1-30)

    By: Keith Krell BA Th.; M Div bible.org

    Interestingly, the Hebrew verb translated “deceived” Genesis 29:25is cognate to the noun used in 27:35 to describe Jacob’s deception of Esau. Jacob is discovering what goes around comes around.

    In Genesis 29:26, Laban resonds, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.” Laban rather coolly replies that he was forced by custom to give Leah in marriage first because she was the firstborn. This is the second direct hit by God. Jacob had dishonored the principle of the firstborn by cheating his brother out of the birthright and the blessing. Now God forces him to honor the principle he had violated by marrying Leah first. And who had Jacob deceived? His father, Isaac. Now the deceiver is deceived by his father-in-law! Everything that goes around comes around.

    Knowing a sucker when he’s got one on the line, in 29:27, Laban moves in for the kill. “Complete the week of this one, [Leah] and we will give you the other [Rachel] also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.” Laban offers to let Jacob marry Rachel as well, but with one tiny condition: He must serve Laban for another seven years. That’s 14 years altogether! Uncle Laban is going to change Jacob’s life forever. Up until this point, Jacob has lived by his wits. He has survived by relying on his native intelligence and his shrewd ability to take care of himself in any situation. True, things haven’t always worked out for him, but even when things have gone bad, Jacob has somehow managed to land on his feet. Like a cat with nine lives, Jacob has been getting into and out of tough spots all his life. Sometimes he’s left the playing field with a black eye, but no matter, at least he always walks off under his own power.

    All of that is about to change because in Uncle Laban, Jacob is finally going to meet his match. Jacob has lived as a penny-ante con man, pulling the wool over his brother’s eyes, and deceiving his father with that ridiculous goatskin routine. Kid stuff, you might say. But, unfortunately, Jacob has been playing in the Little League. When he meets Laban, he is joining the NFL of con men. Laban is about to take Jacob to the cleaners. And there’s nothing Jacob can do about it. In the providence of God, Jacob is about to be enrolled in the oldest school known to man—the School of Hard Knocks. And Uncle Laban is about to give his nephew, Jacob, 20years of free post-graduate education.

    God trains Jacob by allowing him to meet his own sins in someone else. Soon he will know what Esau felt when he was tricked out of something that was precious to him. It is almost a case of “an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” Jacob is being made to see just how despicable his tricky ways are. It is all a part of the training in his life. If Jacob hadn’t stolen Esau’s blessing and had patiently waited for God’s intervention and timing, he would have had the financial resources to acquire Rachel immediately, rather than having to invest 14 years of his life, laboring for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Lesson: Taking short cuts and failing to trust God is costly! It can often cost years of a person’s life. What a heavy price sin requires!

    So That God Could Humble Jacob at the Point of His Perceived Strength. If you had asked Jacob, “What’s your strong point?” he would have no doubt said, “I know how to cut a deal. I know how to handle people. I know how to negotiate a contract.” Then he would have said, “I’m always in control. No one ever gets the best of me.” Yet, when he meets Uncle Laban, all his boasting comes to nothing. Suddenly he’s no longer in control. He’s not on top anymore. He cut a deal, and ended up losing. He negotiated a contract, and Uncle Laban snookered him.

    Do you see what God has done? He has touched Jacob at the point of his strength and humbled him. God does that to you and me—touching us at the point where we feel strongest. He brings us down so that we will understand our confidence must be in God alone. He wants us to know that even our strength must come from him.

    I hope this helps everyone as much as it has helped me.

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  56. Thank you,Rachel, for bringing these women to life for us! I KNOW these women. In some ways I AM these women.
    Thank you, Jean, for your comments on Jacob. It certainly was a case of the tricker getting tricked, wasn't it?

    Loving this! :-)
    michele in mckinney, texas

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  57. Rachl, I thank the Lord for giving you a voice to speak to his daughters. I must admit, I'm guilty of being envious of other women. I am competitive my nature and don't like to be out done. However, no matter how much I try, there will always be someone prettier, richer, smarter, etc.. I no now through this Bible study that I need to love me for me and know that God loves me no matter how much weight I gain or loose.

    Praise unto Him for the opening of my eyes.

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  58. Thanks Jean for your insights into Jacob. Maybe neither Leah nor Rachel had such a great husband??? But they all had an awesome God, just like we do.

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  59. Studying these two ladies of the bible has been very helpful for me. I have read these passages in the bible before but never really thought too much about how Leah or Rachel must have felt. This study is causing me to really take a step back and read between the lines to see what God wants me to see.

    I will be honest, many times I find myself reading the bible to simply check it off my list. I have learned that I shouldn't read it for what I want to see in it, but I should pray that God show me what he wants me to see through it. Have a blessed day!

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  60. I've had some problems getting settled to get here.
    I've tried three times...so this is quick and to the point this time.
    I love hearing your responses. The relationship between sisters is something I haven't shared being an only daughter between two brothers and growing up in the 60s before mothers told you much of anything about life.
    There are times when I would just like grab a cup of coffee and sit and listen to all of you.
    I always enjoy reading the religious dramas like Mary, Called Magdalene or other books that embellish the Bible stories of our women of the Bible.
    I look forward to this study every day and felt I was lead to you all.
    I've read on line devotions for quite a while now and find it so helpful each day.
    Rachel you are a truly another woman of the Bible. Thank you. I hope this goes...my last attempt.

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  61. What is so clear to me is that the sisters passed down their resentment to the next generation. I know I do not often see the damage my actions cause.

    Passing down contentment-what a real gift.

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