When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben. (Genesis 29:31-32)
The Hebrew word that is translated “unloved” might better be rendered “loved less.” In other words, the text is indicating that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, not that he mistreated her. Still, God looked upon her with compassion and favored her, causing her to bear a child while Rachel, the preferred wife, was barren. Though Leah had been described as “weak” in appearance, in this regard she was “strong.” It was the preferred and more lovely one who turned out to be weak when it came to conception.
Once again we learn that appearances don’t always tell the whole story; there is and should be more to a person than looks. So often mankind favors the form of something rather than function when the opposite should be true. In other words, the color, size and appearance of something shouldn’t be nearly as important as whether it does what it is supposed to do. The same is true is with people; God is much more interested in us doing what He’s placed us here to do than He is how tall and good looking we are.
Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben, was evidence that, as a wife, Leah was functioning in God’s intended purpose. Producing offspring is, in fact, the purpose of marriage — mankind is to be fruitful and to multiply. Obviously man and wife are to love one another and be devoted to each other but it is intended that they reproduce children who will, in God’s plan, propagate knowledge of the One God and the truth of His Word.
Functioning in one’s purpose is superior to our appearance, charm and charisma. Discovering and then doing what God has created us for is the purpose of our existence. Therefore, let us not be carried away with the outward trappings of life but place value on the eternal attributes that our Creator wishes to cultivate within us and our fellow believers.
Blessings and Shalom,