It’s love at first sight. Jacob sees Rachel and learns that she is his cousin and is overjoyed. After staying for a month, the marriage is arranged to take place in seven years because Jacob offers seven years of free labor. Again, Jacob is trying to earn something that he could have just had. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah in the dark of night, and so Jacob ends up with two wives, two sisters.
Rachel has no children, while her sister has several children. Leah has Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. These will all become the tribes of Israel. The Levites get a special place as the priests in God’s temple. They come from Leah’s line.
Each time Leah has a son, she thinks, “Now my husband will love me.” Like Jacob, she’s trying to earn something that can’t be earned. You don’t earn God’s love. You don’t earn your husband’s love.
We love God because He first loved us. His love for us isn’t in response to our love for Him. His love was always there.
Leah is not successful in earning her husband’s love. When her next son is born, she finally turns her affection where it should have been all along. She names him Judah, saying, “I will praise the Lord.” She doesn’t know it, but the Lord did look upon her affliction, her rejection as the unloved wife. God chooses the least of these. He loves to work through those the world overlooks.
The whole world will be blessed through the line of Leah. Her offspring leads to the Lion of Judah, Jesus, the Lamb that was slain to offer salvation to the whole world. Leah finally does the right thing and praises God. She stops looking at her trouble and stops trying to earn affection. She praises God and receives His love and favor. It was always there.
His love and favor are always there for you, too. We just have to receive. God is heavy-handed in His blessing. His desire is for His people. He created you to be loved by Him, not for any other reason. He will always act in love towards His children. He is for you, not against you.
You can’t earn His love, but you can reject it. Receive His love for you. Bask in it. Let it fill you to overflowing until you pour out love for God and others because you are so full of God’s love for you.