Second Best

 

Chai and Bailey

 

This morning I was in the bathroom and Chai was trying to get my attention. She was wanting to show me love and I was wanting to show Bailey love. Hmm. Does that sound familiar or what? Bailey is my first-and-foremost-puppy-love. Yep. That’s right. I love her. I am beginning to love Chai, but not like Bailey. Yes, Bai-Bai is my puppy-girl – it’s Bai-Bai all-the-way!

Then I thought about Leah (you know, from the Bible.) She wanted to be loved by Jacob, and I am sure he did eventually love her in his own way, but not like he loved Rachel. (Leah even got shafted on her name; Leah means “weary” and Rachel means “a little lamb.”)
Jacob left his home because his twin brother Esau wanted to kill him (yes, they had dysfunctional families back then too.) So Jacob left and went to his Uncle Laban’s house. When he arrived, he saw his Laban’s daughter Rachel, and fell head-over-heels-in-lust. Yes, in-lust. You don’t fall head-over-heels-in-love with people – you fall in-lust. Love grows if it is nurtured. Whoops, I better stop, that’s a different blog.

 

Jacob Meets Rachel by William Dyce

 

Anyway, Jacob fell for Rachel. He told his uncle he would work for him for seven years WITHOUT PAY  if he could just marry Rachel. After seven years there was a big wedding with some major celebrating.  Jacob had a bit much to drink, because when he woke up in the morning he discovered that instead of Rachel he had married her homely sister Leah. Actually we don’t know if she was homely or not, the Bible just says she had “weak eyes.” (Gen. 29:17).

Jacob got angry and went and complained to his father-in-law. Can you imagine how devastated and hurt Leah was? She had just spent her wedding night with her husband and now he was off complaining about having married her. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life where I have felt I was second-best and it hurts. There are many times when I have felt shut-out, but not on the morning after my wedding night. But I can’t begin to imagine how hurt I’d be after I gave my virginity to a man and then he complained.

But complain he did. Laban excused his deceit by claiming that Leah, being the older, by the custom of his people had to be married first. So Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Rachel. But this time he gets the payment first. All Laban asked was that Jacob spend a week with Leah and then Rachel would be his second wife. So both women got less. Rachel got cheated out of a big wedding. Leah got cheated out of a loving family. But obviously God looked upon Leah with more favor, because for quite some time Rachel was barren. “And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb.” (Gen. 29:31). It is obvious that Leah felt the sting of being second best. She named her first son Reuben for “Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction: now therefore my husband will love me.” (Gen 29:32). She named her second son Simeon, “Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he gave me this son also.” (Gen. 29:33). Poor Leah, she kept on hoping, and Jacob kept on loving Rachel. Even to the end of their lives, Jacob loved Rachel more. He had 12 sons (and at least one daughter) but through it all, he loved Rachel and her offspring the most.

As I was pondering about Leah and Rachel God showed me that this is a picture of us and Him. Imagine us being Jacob. And God is Leah. Not quite as beautiful (in our eyes) as the world (Rachel). So we go through life desiring after what looks good, but may not be what is good for us. Imagine how God feels, every time we choose Rachel (the world that is sin) over Him. When I gossip, I am loving my Rachel. When I overeat, I am loving my Rachel. When I choose not to read my Bible. . . you get the gist. When are we (I) going to stop loving that which is “beautiful” and love that which should be first?

God doesn’t want us to have less, He wants us to have more. We are the ones that keep our “Rachel’s” in front of our eyes. For what I see written about Leah and Rachel, Jacob probably would have been better off with Leah. She didn’t lie or steal like Rachel did (see Gen. 31:29-36) She only wanted to be loved by Jacob and she spent the rest of her life trying, at least until the hurt turned to bitterness. Just like Leah would have made the better wife, God makes the better choice. God’s not going to become angry and bitter like Leah did, but I do believe He is hurt when we choose our “Rachels.” We (I) need to turn from my Rachel towards God. I need to start seeing God as not second best, but the best for me. I need to remember that God is even better than Ben and Jerry’s or Lost or _____________[insert your own Rachel.]

Selah.

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About michellerap

Today I find my identity in God. I use to find my identity in externals, like motherhood, being a lawyer, etc. But that's not who I am. I am redeemed and wholly loved and precious in His sight. First and foremost, this is who I am. The other things are part of me, but they do not define me. God does. My job as a Christian is not to judge people but to show them the heart and hands of Christ. I am to show mercy and grace. And someday, when I am an attorney, I hope I can help those God puts in my path to find justice. I am a mother of four and a grandmother of nine. I am proud of each of them. I also have three dogs. I am lawyer who loves what I do. I am also Gluten-Free and any recipe I publish is GF. It's the only way I cook.
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