He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not – Part 2
“[Leah] conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ So she named him Judah…” (Genesis 29:35 NIV)
Leah, who was one of Jacob’s wives in the Old Testament, knew the deep pain of loving someone who did not love her back. That someone was her own husband. But after pining for Jacob and bearing him three sons in the hope that he would finally notice her and love her, Leah sadly realized that would never happen. More importantly, she finally understood that although Jacob didn’t love her in the way he loved her younger sister, Rachel, God did love her with an everlasting love! This caused her to exclaim, “This time I will praise the Lord”! And she named her fourth son, Judah, which means “praise” in Hebrew.
In the midst of pain— and rejection is painful— the best thing we can do is praise the Lord, as Leah did; and the Lord will help us to move on and be fruitful and joyful despite what is going on in our lives. He holds us and does not turn us away. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother, and he can understand the pain of love that is not returned. That is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He had come to his own, and his own did not receive him. Instead, he was rejected, spat upon, beaten and ultimately crucified; and he subjected himself to all of this pain, for you and for me. Oh, how he loves us! And oh, how he understands the pain of love spurned.
We are exhorted in Scripture to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 1:21). That means that we have to live and work and breathe and trust in God’s love for us every day; because the love of the Lord is steady, deep, and everlasting; it is sweet, strong, and unchanging. If we were to depend on people for our emotional well-being, our lives would be a roller coaster ride; but God’s love remains the same when we’re on the mountaintop and when we’re in the valley; when we’re successful and when we trip and fall.
In the end, Leah got her eyes on God and said, “I’m going to praise him!” And that is the secret for you and me; for the best way to be ministered to by the love of God when the enemy of our souls wants to take us to that place of despair is to praise the Lord for his endless love. While you may be experiencing hurt because of what someone may have done or said, you can have deep-seated joy within; because the Lord is not going to let you go. Jacob will just break your heart every day; but Jacob is not the be all and end all of life; Jesus is the one who must hold that place in every believer’s heart.
Oh, and one more thing: Rachel did end up bearing two sons to Jacob; and Leah’s and Rachel’s sons all became the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. Can you guess which was the tribe from which Jesus descended according to his natural lineage? That’s right: It was the tribe of Judah, which means “praise.” Little did Leah know what was in store for her progeny, all because she chose to look to God rather than others for fulfillment, direction, and purpose in her life. We can do the same.
Read Genesis 29:31-35.