Summary: You can mean nothing to this world. You can be betrayed and hated but God can make your fruitful!
Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
It would be hard for any Western woman to imagine what it would be like to be on your honeymoon with a drunken man who thinks he is making love to your sister and calling you her name. Leah most likely was already in a poor self-image mode because of her eyes that made her unattractive in that culture resulting in no suitors. Then her younger sister was more beautiful and being pursued by a man she would have desired to court her. Her morale was in the pit.
You watch the two of them planning a wedding for seven years as you yearn for a man. The day arrives for your sister to get married and boom your father swaps you for your sister. Did she have mixed emotions? Was she angry at the ruse and yet thrilled that she would get a man of her dreams? Did she even imagine that he would get Rachel as well for a wife? Many things went through her head, I am sure. Then she heard the shouts of rejoicing by those at the wedding and then he enters the tent. He is drunk and deceived but in his heart he is being joined to the love of his life. Morning comes and maybe he rolled over and at first thought it was hungover eyes that made her look like Leah instead of Rachel.
Now imagine living with him for seven years knowing that each night his body was with you, but his heart was with Rachel. Then the dreaded day come for their marriage. Did she figure from now on his body and heart would be with Rachel and all she would get was her needs supported because he was obligated?
Leah was hated, but she bore him sons before Rachel conceived. Indeed, in the end, she was the one who would bear the son in the lineage of Christ. She would be buried beside Jacob, not Rachel. Jacob was drunken when he consummated his marriage to Leah, but God honored Leah as the first wife. Rachel would come to Leah to barter for birth enhancing herbs by giving up a night with Jacob. Again, no Western woman not in a polygamous cult could imagine such things.
Still, God honored Rachel as a person in a position she had no control of and answered her prayer for children though He highly blessed the first marriage. God did not approve or condone the polygamy. Indeed, had God given Adam four wives the earth would have been populated much more quickly. He did not want more than one man and one woman, but man does what man wants and God records it as it was without hiding anything. Man always brings trouble when he does it his way. Rachel and Leah lived in this unimaginable mess because of the hard hearts of Laban and Jacob.
Had Leah died first Jacob and Rachel could lived out the life two people in love would have desired. Jacob may have thought he married the wrong woman, but it was the marriage God recognized as He desired only one wife at a time. The second one had more trouble than blessing though it was the one of love, not requirement.
Maybe you feel like Leah. Life has not been good to you and you have watched people take what you thought should be your blessing. The person you wanted to live with forever married someone else or left you for someone else. You have been passed over for promotions or laid off when the lazy one kept their job. Maybe you have been used and hated without a cause.
God avenges His children and defends them. Even if Leah loved the idea of being married to Jacob and knew what her father was doing there was nothing she could do about it. She was the innocent party. God saw her plight as He did with Samuel’s mother. He moved on her behalf and gave her the greatest spiritual honor even when Jacob did not give her the honor due her as he sired children with Rachel, her handmaid and Leah’s handmaid as well. She only wanted his love. God gave her love and blessing.