Read about Jacob yesterday and thought about it when I woke up last night. Actually I started thinking more about Leah. I couldn’t help but notice the contrast in how she named her children compared to how Rachel named hers. She could have easily named her first son 'Vindicated' like Rachel named her first son. But she didn’t. Instead the names of her boys are more like ‘God sees’, ‘God hears’, ‘God touches’, ‘Praise God’, ‘Lucky’, and ‘Happy’ while Rachel’s boys are ‘Vindicated’, ‘Fight’. Etc. Leah must have felt unloved/unfavored by Jacob all her life, yet she seemed to see God's involvement, care, and understanding in her life if the names of her boys are any indication.
(updated June 1, 2023)Where did Leah learn about God? Perhaps from Jacob's story of running for his life from Esau and meeting God at Bethel? Genesis 29:31,32. "When God saw that Leah was unloved..." God sees! He recognizes when we are overlooked, unloved. And there is a blessing in that! "...He enabled her to conceive..." Leah then acknowledged God in that blessing, in the names of her kids. How could Jacob ignore that? Every time he called one Leah's boys he had a reminder that God was with them. She may have been unloved, but she was still an influence in Jacob's life! An influence he couldn't ignore and I believe he acknowledged in Genesis 35:3
When Jacob's clan was meeting Esau, Jacob put Leah and her boys ahead (as a protective buffer?) of him and Rachel Meanwhile Rachel had idols she stole from her father with her on the camel. I thought this was a rather interesting contrast in who Jacob's two wives seemed to trust. Leah seemed to depend on God, Rachel felt more secure with her father's idols.
Jacob also gave Joseph, Rachel's son, second last in the traditional line of inheritance, the first born son's inheritance. This bypassed all Leah's sons who were older than him. Leah was, fortunately I think, dead by this time. Even at the end of his life, Jacob still appeared to favour Rachel. I'd like to think God had a little different perspective on it all. Consider this: The line of Kings of Israel, including King David and ultimately Jesus came through Judah (Leah's son), not Joseph (Rachel's son)
In this meditation of mine, I felt God encourage me... Have I felt like I've been in a rough/challenging situation for a long time? Like Leah? Like Job? Like David (with the promise of a throne but running from Saul for years)? Like Paul (with the thorn in his flesh)? God is using that situation to sharpen me, hone me, refine my character for Him. He sees. He hears. He cares.
I thought I'd look and see if I could find some other journal entries of mine where I felt 'sidelined' or 'passed by'. Here they are:
January 25, 2018
I slept poorly again last night. Thinking about what i should do in my position at work - what I’m not doing that I should. I constantly this unspoken pressure from others with an agenda to do something else (actually, more than once it’s been a spoken pressure with a specific person). I had some ideas how to resolve this, but after that ‘sleep’ last night, I’ve got nothing. Maybe that’s the way God wants me - completely empty and void of anything good I could offer in and of myself. It would only be grumpy me at this point.
Ugh. Worship practice tonite with church. I came home exhausted and frustrated with God because I just feel totally sidelined and a bit whipped - like I get all the wrong attention. ‘Do it this way’ from three different people at practice. I’m tentative on drums because these builds are too long in my opinion and I don’t know when they are going to stop. The young people on the team are ‘it’. Us older people are good for serving, and that's about it... it’s rather frustrating. To sit back and let others lead and they can’t even follow the click without me. I was kind of hopeless when I got home. Just wondering what I’m doing. It’s more stressful than fun. It just seems like I’m hoeing a really hard row right now. Learning humility, again. People at work aren’t convinced and happy with what I’m doing. With music its the same. I was pretty much at the end of my rope and God lead me to Job chapter 7. I could TOTALLY relate to that. Particularly verses 17 and 18. I’m being refined and nope it’s not comfortable and I have idea if this is going to lead anywhere good. But it’s comforting to know that Job felt the same and that God is testing me. Job 23:10.
May 2, 2017
This cold I've been fighting with for the past week is getting to me. Last night was rough. It seems when I get tired it takes advantage. I was tired and frustrated at work yesterday afternoon. I want to provide value, but my boss doesn't want me to experiment much with the infrastructure it seems. All the stories in the sprint are taken up. I felt like dead weight and sidelined... again. A week after I turned down that great TCPL contract. How frustrating.
Job 23:8-10 “I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed. But he knows where I am going”
Can I worship God when I don't feel great and things look frustrating? Worship is not about getting a feeling.