I was struck today while reading about Leah and Rachel’s competition in son-bearing that Leah praised God when her fourth son was born. The first three sons Scripture records her using as means to buy Jacob’s love, which Rachel had stolen before Jacob even met Leah. Finally, by the fourth son, Leah relinquishes that – at least for the moment – and rather than thinking that Judah would turn Jacob’s eye to her, she simply praised God for another son.
I am struck by a couple of aspects. One, that she praised God at all. I’m sure it was a pretty normal thing in the culture of the day to praise a deity for the gift of a child, particularly of the male variety. I guess she thought that since Rachel was barren (apparently), and she now had four sons for Jacob, that he status was secured, even if Jacob never loved her as he loved Rachel. In a way, I guess the praise feels “left over.” Like an afterthought or something. Especially since, when Rachel hands over her maidservant, the competition starts all over again with renewed vigor.
The other thing that strikes me, and contributes to the “left over” feeling, is that it took her to son number four before she gave praise to God. The first three were all about Jacob. Even her fifth and sixth sons she counted as wages due her by God for some action she had taken – something God provided for her on account of her circumstances, rather than an undeserved blessing for her simply to be thankful for.
And I guess I’m struck because I have the same tendency. God is down on the list. I eventually think of Him and even thank Him for the good things in life – the blessings. But it’s after they are here for a while, and I’ve enjoyed gloating over them or showing them off to someone else. It’s about me getting my status right first. Then I’ll give God the glory and the honor. Once I’m set up the way I want to be set up, then I’ll turn over the praise.
More ramblings that probably have little or nothing to do with what Rachel and Leah actually were dealing with in their lives. Besides, there are so many reasons that I cannot understand or comprehend what they were going through…beginning with my chromosome set.