And he (Jacob) went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
Jacob was so relieved to have survived the trip to Padan Haran, that he made the mistake of embracing his Uncle Laban as a father figure. A repentant Jacob spilled his guts about how he deceived his father and how terrible he felt about it. Thinking he was with a safe person, Jacob never dreamt that Laban would use his weakness against him.
Once again, Jacob felt the keen rejection of a father’s trust and love. First from his own father, Isaac, and now from his uncle. Even though he was sorry for what he had done, Jacob was being haunted by his own mistake. But, it wasn’t God Who was working against him. No! It was the enemy who used Laban against Jacob. Why? Because Satan, master deceiver, wanted Jacob to lose his faith in the God and rob him of his covenant blessing.
Jacob’s feelings towards Leah
Now, he had an extra wife that he hadn’t planned on and, it was a woman who he couldn’t stand. Yes, he performed his marital duties towards Leah. And yes, he provided for her material needs. But, he was repulsed by her. To him, she was just a baby making machine.
Psychological projection is a detrimental and warped defense mechanism. It refers to the difficulty of coping with one’s own problems, negative feelings or emotions. Instead of truthfully dealing with one's own issues, they deflect the blame and redirect it onto someone else (1).
When Jacob looked at Leah, do you know what he saw? In his eyes, she was an unloved, disrespected, easily swayed by her lying father kind of a woman. The first born daughter who brought embarrassment to her family. Leah’s eyes had no spark of life, and she was deeply depressed. As far as her parents and the local villagers were concerned, she wasn’t even worthy of their notice.
Jacob was just as damaged as Leah
Jacob was also was unloved and unfavored by his own father. He was easily swayed by his mother to deceptively steal the blessing from his older twin. Almost to the very end, Jacob was hardly worthy of Isaac’s notice. And now, another father figure abused him by breaking his most intimate trust. Physically, Leah was a picture of what was going on inside Jacob’s own tormented soul. She was an image of his inner self. Jacob couldn’t deal with his own wounds, so he just hated her instead.
What is the lesson here?
Have you ever disliked someone and couldn’t figure out why? It could be because they remind you of your own weaknesses or vulnerabilities. There is a choice we must make. We can turn up our noses with disdain and dismiss them as someone not worthy of our notice. Or, we could ask God to shine a light on our own negative feelings, deal with our own deficits, and be a blessing.
Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Father, You know me better than I know myself. If I have consciously or unconsciously projected any type of negative feelings towards anyone, I repent. Please show me why I would feel such a way towards someone. Please give me the wisdom to know what to do about it. I resolve to pray for that individual and treat them with the respect they deserve. Search my heart and point out anything in me that offends You. Lead me along the path of everlasting life. In Jesus Name, Amen.