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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cafe Chat

You all don't know it, but about 90% of the inspiration for my questions come directly from my life circumstances. Well, this week falls into the 90% :) I was able to attend a Women's Conference this past weekend at a Church, and Liz Curtis Higgs was the speaker. Liz is so darling, and she is a witty, funny, fun loving woman of God.
This weekend Liz talked about a few women from the Bible; Sarah, Hagar, and Leah. I want us to focus in on Leah this week. Actually, Leah and Rachel. I won't assume that everyone reading is familiar with the story of Leah and Rachel, and Jacob of course. So below I will post a portion of scripture from Genesis 29. Please read before you answer the questions, and I would encourage you to read even more of the story than I posted.

(From Genesis 29)

After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, "Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be."
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."

19 Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her."

22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. 24 And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant.

25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?"

26 Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work."

28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. 30 Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 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."
33 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.
34 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." So he was named Levi.
35 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.

So after reading part of the story (again, I encourage you to read more) who do you sympathize with more, Leah or Rachel? Who does your heart go out to? Does your answer reflect the fact that you can relate to your choice personally? Share if you feel so led.

I again look forward to seeing your answers. If you are new to the "Cafe Chat" please join in :)

Kim (I encourage you to use the MckLinky feature today)

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Blogger I am blessed! said...

I feel sorry for Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. It's hard to know whether Leah played some part in this deception or if her father forced her to marry Jacob. I've also wondered if Jacob hadn't had a little too much to drink at the wedding feast. Surely the veil would come off at some point, wouldn't it? Interesting thoughts. The answer is, I don't know. It's no fun to feel unloved, but it's no fun to be tricked or lied to either. Laban's sin of greed, wanting Jacob's labor for twice as long had long lasting effects. Joseph and Benjamin were favored by Jacob because they were Rachel's. Jacob's favoritism toward Joseph caused his brothers' envy to be aroused against him, but we know that even in that God was sovereign. As Joseph was able to say to his brothers that they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, perhaps the same could be said of Laban. He meant it for evil (exploitation), but God meant it for good.

October 29, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Laurel@FromMyHeartToYours said...

Wow, again you amaze me Kim with a fantastic and thought provoking question. I am going to answer this on my blog as well but I will answer in two parts. To read more, click on the link to my blog.

I too have wondered how a man could be so fooled? I know that the sovereignty of God is always above our own understanding.

Imagine a man loving you so much that he is willing to work first, 7 years to have your hand; then another 7? What must that kind of passion and disappointment do to a heart? I also think of how it might make me feel to see my sister's heart break each day...or perhaps to watch my sister married to the man I dream of. Of course we have no knowledge of the relationship between Leah and Rachel...

Then I think of Leah. I can't think of many things that would be as hurtful as being married to a man who does not want bear children by a man who can't love them fully. When I relate this to my own story (of course very different) - might it be a little like finally getting to the place of my husband's salvation only to realize that while he has committed to it, he has no intention of living for Christ? While all of my dreams are before me (with his salvation at hand), might I live my life heartbroken that my expectations and dreams of our life together, equally yoked - are shattered? All that to say nothing of how Jacob must have felt...

I will think on this through out the day dear friend. Thank you for this question, and blessings from Canada.

October 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

Kim - you always give us some thought-provoking questions. You certainly keep me on my toes.

My first thoughts were sympathy to Rachel, as she was barren for so many years. I guess my not having children caused me to sympathize with her. Then I thought of Leah and how she must have felt, knowing Jacob favored Rachel and her children.

I have strong feelings about people showing favoritism as my grandmother was a person who had her favorites. Suffice to say, I wasn’t the favorite. Still I know she loved me in her own way. So, I guess I’m saying I sympathize with both women for different reasons.

It’s funny that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, as he was also a trickster. I wonder how he felt when circumstances were reversed.

October 31, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

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