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GENESIS 29:31-35

Leah, learning to worship God!

Beauty isn't everything!

 

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

LESSON 1 VERSE 31:

Her name is Leah.

Her story is one of the saddest in all Scripture. Yet again, due to her amazing character, her story is  one of the most victorious!

Genesis 29:31-35 give us the background. "And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing."

The first thing we learn about Leah is that she was not a pretty lady. Not like her sister Rachel anyway. Rachel is described this way, "beautiful and well favoured." Literally, if I can say this, the Text says she has a very pleasing appearance, her "figure" is great!

But not Leah! The same verse that described Rachel says this about Leah, "tender eyed." Which can mean anything from cross-eyed to one-eyed to deformed eyes, in other words, "not attractive."

And on top of that Leah was "married" to Jacob under false pretenses! Blame her father Laban for this deceit. Jacob spent the first seven years of his married life quite unhappy. Living with the older sister Leah, but loving her younger sister Rachel!

Conditions like that can "warp" a personality!

It appears that Leah spent a number of years trying to "compensate" for these wrongs.

Notice the first verse of our Text. "And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." Genesis 29:31

Wow!

Take that, little beauty queen!

No children for Rachel, not for a long while anyway!

But with Leah it's another story!

Why?

Plainly says "the Lord saw that Leah was hated!"

If the Lord, from Heaven, could see it ... don't you think Leah knew it too?

Her husband hated her!

The verb "sane" means "to be hated" in this sense," to be treated as an enemy!" As a "foe!"

Not loved, in other words!

I suppose that's one of the countless weaknesses of a man having multiple wives. Each is compared with the other! No doubt. And Leah "lost" in every category.

So God knew how to "even" the score a bit!

Wives in those by-gone days existed for one primary purpose. To bear children, the more the merrier, too.

So Miss Rachel, beauty that she was, remains "childless," by order of Almighty God. Yes, it is the Lord Who "opens the womb." Yet, "Rachel was barren."

And God "opens" Leah's womb!

Boy, does He!

She becomes quite a fertile lady, with ultimately six sons and one daughter!

God's blessings, those children. The very foundation of the Israelite Nation! Jews!

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalm 127:3

Yes, God "opened" Leah's womb. "Pathach" means "to loosen" or even "to allow to break forth."

God did all this for Leah because He saw how "hated" she was!

And God knew how intensely she wanted her husband's love.

All Christian ladies do.

More about Leah tomorrow.

Her saga continues.

Her story is one of "worship."

You will see in a few days!

Le me now interject this. A lady's worth, a wife's value, should not be linked to what she can "do" or what she can "produce" or anything else along such selfish lines!

Nor should a husband be treasured that way.

A wife's delight to her husband should rest in "who" she is!

The "person" God is making of her!

Proverbs 31 did not commend a lady for her "fruitfulness," her child bearing capability. But for her "virtue!" Her character and strength and godly qualities of life!

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10

No physical features mentioned here.

And in Proverbs 18:22 even more is said. "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." It does not say a wealthy wife or a stunning wife or a brilliant wife! Just a wife, obviously a God-pleasing one.

Sir, the greatest blessing in your life, next to your very salvation, is your wife!

Jacob ignored his!

No, more than that, he hated Leah!

Shame on him!

Shame on any man who does not at least try to practice the Ephesians chapter five verbs on his wife, like Jesus does on His Bride, the Church!

And those verbs are?

Love her!

Give yourself to her, even unto death if necessary!

Sanctify and cleanse her, helping her live a godly life!

Nourish and cherish her!

Overall, encourage her every way possible.

Tell her these things too! Let he know she is the "delight" of your life!

Brother Bagwell, you are getting all "mushy" today. Too much of this love stuff!

Well, you wouldn't think so if you had buried your wife last January.

I promise you that.

Jacob was wrong!

God tried to correct him, to no avail I fear.

"And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." Genesis 29:31

Poor Leah!

All she wanted was to "please" her husband.

No wife should be ignored or belittled or certainly not hated.

Ever.

I want to say more.

Lord willing, next lesson.

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 32:

Genesis 29:32 tells us more about Leah, wife of Jacob. "And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me."

In ancient days, sad as it may have been, a "wife" had value dependent only upon the number of children she bore! Especially the number of boys!

Leah, who is called "less than pretty," and that's being generous, could not compete for her husband's love on that level, on the "beauty queen" level.

But she suspected that she could have babies!

And she was right, all total six sons and a daughter. Not including the children her "handmaid" bore Jacob as well, Zilpah. Add two more boys here, still in Leah's name!

Wow!

This is called "compensation."

Making up for one deficit by excelling in another area.

"And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me." Genesis 29:32 

I am not sure Leah loved children all that much!

But she sure did love Jacob her husband. It's just that he did not love her in return!

And she knew it.

So she sets our to "win" or "earn" or "buy" his love. And that's a love probably not worth having, really. If love is not freely bestowed, graciously given, is it really love in the first place?

Listen to this poor girl!

When her first son is born! "Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me."

The word "affliction" is from the word "anah," meaning "to be depressed, downcast, humbled, troubled, impoverished."

She is of little worth, by their day's standards, due to her "weak eyes" and lack of beauty, especially when compared to her "gorgeous" Sister Rachel. The one whom Joseph really loves! "Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel." Genesis 29:17-18, the inspired Word of God!

Again, all she wants, the ultimate "end" of her desires, is her husband's attention!

Now she will have it!

She has presented Jacob with a son!

His firstborn!

And a boy at that!

She's so proud she names him "Reuben!" It means, "Behold, a son!"

Hear her delight!

"And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me."

She thanks God.

But then she skips Him, the Almighty One, His Pleasure, and goes straight back to Jacob! Jacob's attention, Jacob's approval, Jacob's love! That's all she wants!

Poor girl!

As long as she looks to any human for "meaning" and "satisfaction" and "fulfillment," Jacob included, she will be disappointed!

Man cannot not supply all that!

Or woman!

She wants love!

She wants approval!

She wants significance in her life!

It's just that Jacob is not willing to give those things!

Rachel has them.

I fell so sorry for Leah.

But she's just like millions of other folks alive on earth today!

Looking for acceptance from a friend, a family member, a lover, anyone significant!

But such things cannot come from a mere human!

For these things, if valid and sincere, must come from a Higher Source!

From the Lord Himself!

But don't worry too much.

Leah is a smart lady!

Very intelligent in fact.

Whatever she may have lacked in beauty, she possessed in a dozen other ways.

She will solve her problem.

She will find purpose and contentment in life.

But not until several "pregnancies" later!

And what she finds, though absolutely priceless, is not located in Jacob her rather "selfish" husband! That's my description of him, not hers. To her he's the "best!"

She finds it in her God!

Our God!

The God of Abraham and Isaac and ... Leah too!

Tomorrow, another son, but another lesson too!

Oh, the trouble to which we humans subject ourselves. Needlessly. If only we could lean to trust the Lord!

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Solomon wrote that, Proverbs 3:5-6. These verses will soon be Leah's motto, though they truly had not been written yet!

God is greater than anyone!

He longs to be the "Supreme" Focus of our emotions!

The "Ultimate" desire of our hearts!

The "Joy" of our lives!

He wants to be our "Lord!"

Is He yours?

Is He mine?

Leah got it right, in just a few verses we shall see.

Have I got it right yet?

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 33:

The name of Leah's next son, the second of six boys, helps establish a pattern. "Simeon" by definition means "heard."

When the little fellow was born his Mom said, "Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon." Genesis 29:33, I've underlined the key verb here.

"God has heard that Jacob my husband does not love me, not like he loves my sister!"

"Now that I've borne him two sons, this will all change!" So said Leah.

But nothing changed!

Leah is still rather plain looking.

Rachel is still beautiful.

Not just to Jacob either. The Bible plainly says so. Genesis 29:17 once again, "Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured."

Here's the point. Leah is living her life, her whole life, around pleasing her husband.

She had apparently elevated the man higher than she should have. Maybe even above the level of her God!

Every child she bears, up to a point anyway, is named in such a way as to make her husband pay her more attention. She wants his approval, his love, his delight!

Do not misunderstand me.

A lady is supposed to love her husband. The Bible says so, almost to an extreme. Peter told the women in his congregation to love their husbands like Sarah loved Abraham, "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord." 1st Peter 3:6, Wow!

Then Paul, in Ephesians 5:33, adds this. "And let the wife see that she reverence her husband." Mercy! Reverence him!

Yes, the wife is to adore that man!

But not worship him!

That quality, that heart-throb, that devotion belongs to God, to God alone!

Leah will learn this lesson, I think, but it's going to take a few more years. Meanwhile Jacob is the center of all her emotions, the ultimate focus of all her affections, God aside.

Oh, today's full verse. "And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon." Genesis 29:33

God has heard.

My husband will now love me.

Remember Genesis 29:18, "And Jacob loved Rachel." This is never said about Leah, not that I can find, not anywhere.

Years and years and years, trying to earn her husband's love!

By bearing him son after son!

Six in all, and a daughter on top of all that!

To no avail!

What frustration that must have brought to Leah's heart!

What confusion!

What desperation!

Let me tell you why this schedule of priorities will not work, "Husband first (or wife or any other family member), God second or third or wherever, and self somewhere in there too, fairly close to the top." This is just not right, not for the Christian.

No priority list can be correct until God is at the very top!

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Matthew 22:37

"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:1-3

"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

Jesus wants so much to be first place in our lives, that He actually said this. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

Leah, of course you are to love Jacob. That's God's will, even if Jacob never loves you in return. The man is your husband. You married him, nearly by stealth, by trickery. Now love him dearly.

But you will never receive full satisfaction from him, nor from any human! That, absolute meaning in life, complete fulfillment, can come only from God!

And even then, only from one God!

Our God!

That's the God of Abraham and Isaac, and believe-it-or-not, eventually Jacob too!

Here's the right priority, Leah. God first, Jacob next, then those seven children, with yourself somewhere on down the line!

But don't miss the obvious here.

God first!

Like the Man of God said in the last verse of Psalm 87. "Lord, all my springs are in thee."

All of them!

All my blessings come from Thee!

All the answers to prayer I've even experienced!

All my joys!

All my delight!

Thou art my everything!

All other benefits of life flow from Thee ... often through others ... down to me. Yes, I am grateful for all the "others," but I worship Thee, Thee alone!

When Leah reaches this point, she will be fine!

Then even bearing children will be "to God's glory," not simply for Jacob's approval!

Making God first place!

Always, but especially at Christmas!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 34:

Someone defined stupidity as "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."

Well, no offense to Leah, wife of Jacob, but she nearly qualified.

And a lot of us do the same thing too!

Leah is trying to satisfy the most important person in her life, to gain his love and attention, a person so significant that he even supersedes Almighty God!

She knows that this person wants offspring, children, sons to be specific. So she 'lures" Jacob her husband to the marriage bed. Which is acceptable behavior, of course, since they are married.

But Jacob's attention is elsewhere.

On Leah's sister, Rachel, also a wife of Jacob's!

Sounds like an afternoon "soap opera!"

But this one is in the Word of God.

And it's fact, too!

Leah had one baby boy, Reuben. That will earn Jacob's love! But not so.

Then Leah soon as possible had a second baby boy, Simeon. "Now he will love me," she reasons. It didn't happen yet again.

So here Leah goes a third time.

"Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." To which Albert Einstein said, "Insanity!"

Today's verse, even if a little repetitive. "And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi." Genesis 29:34

The verb "joined" is "lavah," related to the name she's going to give this third child, "Levi."

She actually named him after her "goal" in the whole matter! She wants her husband to attend to her, to be closer to her, to love her, or at least not to hate her!

This desire has possessed Leah! It's now an obsession! More than that, it has become her "god."

Here are the first three attempts, risky ones in those days when childbirth was mortally dangerous.

"And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me." This is little Reuben, meaning "look, behold!" Literally, "behold, a son!"

"And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon." His name meaning "to hear!"

"And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi." As we've just seen, meaning "joined!" Note too that this time Leah does not even mention the Lord!

This is all about Jacob!

Who is still eyeing Rachel, Rachel only!

Not poor Leah!

How much of this can a girl take?

Well, anything Leah might be lacking in appearance, she overcomes in sheet intelligence!

Next child, a boy again, she gets all this settled!

That's tomorrow's lesson. I can hardly wait to tell you! Suffice it to say that Jacob gets "bumped" from first place in her life. And this is not a sin either!

She rightfully is going to put the Lord first place, Jacob can be second. Or lower, polygamous man that he was.

Twelve sons, four wives, many years!

Playing favorites!

Not the most desirable husband anyway!

Still for Leah ... three tries, no success.

But these failures will become blessed failures, after her next try!

That's often the case with the Lord. He turns the Christian's shortcomings into the Christian's strengths! Through forgiveness, through the Blood of Jesus, and through His marvelous Grace!

"And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi." Genesis 29:34

One Bible character after another has made this mistake, substituting people in the place of God Himself.

But God will not have it!

He will not be second or third place!

He is First, or He is nothing!

"Ye cannot serve God and mammon," Jesus said.

Decide!

"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:2-3

What a Lesson for Christmas morning!

Love the children, or grandchildren!

Delight in your Mate!

Enjoy the gifts, even!

And the delicious food, prepared by loving hands!

Just remember the Reason for all the celebration!

God sent His only begotten Son to earth!

Virgin born, at that!

Jesus Who died for you and me!

And rose again!

"The Saviour of the world," that's What He is called in John 4:42.

Keep the Lord first place this Christmas! And every other day, too.

Gifts or no gifts, everyone is not as blessed as you and me, Jesus is still God!

Food or no food, the Lord is good!

And for me sitting here at 4:00 in the morning, Christmas morning, alone for the first time on Christmas in forty-five years, Sister Norma having gone to Heaven, I will not focus on sadness.

I will not try to major on the heartaches.

I plan to acknowledge God as God!

To declare Him Lord of my life.

King of my heart.

And Adjuster of my emotions!

Paul, in Colossians 3:4, called Jesus one great Name! One showing clearly the Lord's high priority in the Apostle's life anyway. "And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Yes!

If Jesus is my very life, nothing or no one else will ever uproot His rightful place!

And the wonderful thing about it, when Jesus is first ... I do not have to earn His love and favor!

It's His Nature to share it bountifully!

Whether I'm worthy or not!

Whether I'm handsome or not!

Whether I'm wealthy or not!

Whether I'm popular or not!

It's all about HIM, not me!

Wow!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Let me spell it this way, CHRISTmas!

Feel loved today, by the One Who defines the word!

"God is love." 1st John 4:8

John 3:16 too, a love that cannot be earned. Nobody deserves it. You don't have to labor nine moths to get it. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 35:

We have been studying the life of Leah, the wife of Jacob, Old Testament Jacob.

She really was not his only wife, but one of his wives. That fact alone would have placed her in a position of needing to "compete" for her husband's attention.

And compete she did!

The greatest desire any Biblical man had, almost without exception, was to father children. Especially boys, expressly to carry the family name into future generations!

And God opened Leah's womb!

But one fact is observable in her childbearing career, that fact being carefully recorded by the Holy Spirit. Every time she delivered a baby, all boys except one, she named each in such a way as to emphasize her overpowering desire to earn her husband's love, or at least his attention. Neither of which she had!

Well, there is one exception!

Here they are in order, the first four anyway.

Reuben, of whose birth Leah remarked, "Behold a son, now my husband will love me!"

Simeon, causing Leah to say, "The Lord has heard that my husband hated me! That's why He gave me another boy!"

Levi, clearest example of all, "Now will my husband be joined to me, finally!"

Leah has used the meaning of each child's name in her exclamation following his birth!

Reuben means "son."

Simeon means "to hear."

And Levi means "joined!"

But the more babies Leah bears, it nearly seems the less Jacob notices her! He was one thoughtless man, at that point anyway.

So, wisely, Lean shifts her focus of affection.

She prioritizes!

She loves her husband no less, mind you.

But she seems to put Someone Else in first place, after Levi's birth.

When the fourth child is born, Jacob is not even mentioned! That's a first. It's almost as if Leah's reason for existence has changed!

Instead of Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, it's now the Lord!

The God of Abraham!

The Creator and Redeemer!

Almighty God, El Shaddai!

Jehovah!

Elohim!

The God of the Bible!

The Triune God indeed!

Here's today verse. "And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing." Genesis 29:35

This son is not named after some "sad" theme!

Or with her griefs and inadequacies in view!

He is named "Judah!"

A name that means "Praise the Lord!"

Just that, praise the Lord!

Somehow Leah's whole attitude has changed! Her world-view has shifted! For the better, drastically!

No doubt the result of this new lifestyle will yield more true love than ever for Jacob, but he will no longer be "god" of her life!

He is not first place now, second maybe, but not the predominant person any more!

The Lord must hold that position!

And by the way, if God is not first place, the preeminent One in our lives, we are guilty of idolatry!

Plain and simple!

Idolatry!

But when the Lord is so elevated, supremely, everyone else can fit into their rightful places, and will be all the better for it!

If I am right with God, I will be right with the others too! I mean the others in my life who are important. Family and such.

It's almost as if Matthew 6:33 applies here, to some degree anyway. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

The Lord first!

I think Leah has learned the lesson well!

Have I?

Have you?

It's not just what today's verse says, but what it does not say too! "Praise the Lord," it says. "Jacob," it no longer says!

"And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing." Genesis 29:35

Life lessons like these are hard to learn, and may be even harder to maintain. Such right behavior may be a constant battle!

But God requires it.

It's as if Psalm 73:25 has "come to life" in Leah's soul! "God, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."

Wow!

More important than anyone!

The Lord God!

Whereupon all the loved ones I know are immediately elevated too, becoming more significant than ever, because God is now foremost in my life!

Wow!

Loving Him most leads to my loving them more properly!

Amazing!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, A RELAPSE:

Leah, however, might have had a relapse!

After bearing her fourth son, Judah, she finally got things "right."

She focused on the Lord, the Lord alone, in Judah's birth, no longer trying to appease or attract her two-faced husband Jacob.

"And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing." Genesis 29:35, she glorifies the Lord, alone!

But, look!

Rachel, Leah's beautiful sister and Jacob's "favorite" wife, was still barren! So Rachel "loaned" Jacob her "maid" for sexual purposes, much like Sarah let Abraham use her maid Hagar.

That's crazy!

Rachel's maid bore Jacob two sons also!

Here's how the Bible describes it all. "And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister Leah; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali." From Genesis 30:1-8.

All this is more than Leah can handle!

Here is where she "backslides!"

"When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." Genesis 30:9-13

If one girl's maid can serve as a surrogate wife, so can the other's. Jacob seemed to have no problem with the whole arrangement either. Selfish as he is, or maybe sensual is the right adjective.

Still, Leah has named her next two boys correctly, Gad's name focusing on the child's size and Asher's on future blessings.

Neither son five or six focused solely on Jacob, as did Leah's first three children. Jacob had once become to Leah a "god," clearly violating the exclusivity the Almighty has always demanded.

But then it happened, a little argument between Leah and Rachel, between Miss Ordinary and Miss Beauty Queen!

This really seems to be more than Leah can bear!

She next literally "buys" her husband's love! That's nearly like prostitution, just in reverse, isn't it?

Read it with me. These "mandrakes" are flowers thought to enhance one's love-making desire and potential. They are aphrodisiacs, for those of you who know the word. The name in Hebrew, "duday," suggests some sort of "love plant!" The Text: "And Reuben (Leah's oldest son) went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night." Genesis 30:14-16, Wow!

There's not a Harlequin novel in existence that can match this story! Rachel "hires" her own husband to sleep with her!

Needless to say, God is back in second place!

Jacob rules supremely, once again.

And the next two boy's names prove it. The last two sons Leah ever produced. "And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun." Genesis 30:17-20, though it appears Leah had indeed prayed for these boys too, "God harkened unto her."

Maybe this is not a total relapse, just a halfway relapse!

Neither of which can please the Lord!

He refuses to be "half" a God to anyone!

He will not "almost" be Lord of one's life!

"Issachar" means "payment" or "hire" or "reward," Leah's "profit" from her shrewd "mandrake" experiment! And she credits God for helping in her scheme! He well may have, but he is not pleased with Leah's misplaced love, better yet, her near "worship" of her husband!

"Zebulun" just means "a dwelling place," Leah's "goal" in all this, to get Jacob to "live" with her, her alone!

Yesterday, for Leah, total victory!

Today, defeat again!

Oh, the "ups" and "downs" of the Christian life!

Maybe God has the last "laugh" after all. May I use that word? God does laugh, at times. Or plans to, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." Psalm 2:4

Leah has one more baby, not a boy though! "And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah." Genesis 30:21

And Dinah means, appropriately, "judgment!"

Let's take all this as a warning today!

It's so easy to fall back into sin!

To relapse!

To backslide!

To forget yesterday's victories!

Son number four: "And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing." All about God!

Son number six, eight if you include her handmaid's: "And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun." Back to idolizing Jacob again!

Yes, Idols in a Believer's life!

The last verse in 1st John: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." Written to Christians!

Hold onto the victories God gives you!

Don't recapitulate!

Paul, in Ephesians 4:27, addresses this issue. "Neither give place to the devil." Pretty plain!

Make God first place!

Keep Him there!

Anyone else, no matter how "good" they are, becomes an "idol" if they uproot your love for your Saviour!

Jesus died for us!

Can't we live for Him?

Let no thing or no person come between you and your Lord!

No job.

No car.

No child.

No grandchild.

No house.

No friend.

No, even this, no Mate, Husband or Wife.

Leah knows now.

Let's ask the Lord to help us maintain our victories!

The devil never quits!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

                                                                                

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