Summary: By examining the experiences of Leah, the modern church need to learn three basic lessons in order to better minister to people needs.
Lessons from Leah Genesis 29:31-35
The best teacher is Experience. When nothing else can teach us some of life’s most important questions, Experience can. We should learn from our own experiences, Experience is the best teacher. The lessons we learn from experience we seldom forget. If a person does not learn from experience is it questionable whether or not they can learn at all. One reason is the lessons we learn from experience are deeper and more involved. Experience will take a person by the hand and lead them through the lessons of life.
Although Experience is the best teacher, Instructions is a more extensive teacher. You can learn more from instructions than you can from experience. The reason is simple. Why? Because you can not experience everything. The one way in which we can get the depth of Experience and the breadth of Instruction is when we learn from the experiences of others. In this way, we are able to have the best of both worlds. We can have the depth that only Experience can provide and we can have the breadth that only Instruction can provide. The Old Testament is literally filled with the life experiences of others from which we are to learn. In addition, if we are able to learn from their instruction that they have gain through experience there are some things in life we can avoid.
Let us look at the experience of Leah in order to learn about a segment of the members of the church and how we can properly minister to them in times such as these. Because we are all in some way or another Leah. There is something about Leah that makes her real and causes us to be able to identify with her needs. First, Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban, the sister to Rachel and the first wife of Jacob. She had relationships that really was unfulfilling. The Bible says Leah [was] tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. This means that Leah was rather plain, she did not possess the physical attractiveness that her younger sister possessed. Once on the Andy Griffin show there was a beautiful young lady that Andy was talking to and he commented that she looked like God had spent a lot of time on her. This was true of Rachel but Leah looked as if God did not spend enough time on her. The Bible goes out of its way to give us the impression that because Leah was unattractive her chances for marriage were slim to none. Why else, would her father use her in ploy to trap Jacob into marrying her. There is something about Leah that makes her the perfect spokes person for most of us when we think about how we are so under appreciated by others.
Now, what are the lessons, we learn from the experience of Leah? What instructions from Leah’s experience that we can take that can assists us in our spiritual journey? There are three lessons from Leah’s experience that I would like to lift-up. DESIRE - DISAPPOINTMENT - DECISION
The first lesson we need to learn is Desire. Leah had the basic human desire to be loved. Every human, if they are breathing and honest will have to admit that we desire to be loved, unconditionally, unreservedly, unmistakably, passionately, completely and for who we are rather than what we have or have not. In the 1980’s a rapper by the name of Grand Master Flash said, "One Love, One Love, You’re lucky just to have one Love. Well Leah was not this lucky, she did not have one love. St. Augustine is said to have quoted, "Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all". Love is a basic human desire. We want Love. We need Love. We desire to be loved. In Leah’s case, it was the love of her husband. For some people it is the love of their parents, for some others it is the love of their children. Some people take the love of a husband, parent or a child for granted, while there are some people still trying to earn the love of a loved one. The kind of love that appreciates you regardless of what you do or what you have. The desire to have someone to love you is natural and reasonable.
In verse 30, it says that Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. The word translated in the KJV hate actually means to Love-less. There was no recording of abuse on Jacob part. We are not told that he disrespected her in anyway or did he ever mistreat her. He simply loved Rachel and was tricked into marrying Leah. That did not change the fact that Leah always dreamed of the day that if no one else will love her, her own husband will one day. Now that day has come, and her husband is madly in love with Rachel. Madly and Openly in love with Rachel. I tell couples all the time, Marry the one you love or Love the one you have married. Leah believed that the love of her husband would make her happy.