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When the Odds are Not in Our Favour

Posted by Pastor Adrian Chong on

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.


Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

Genesis 29:15-18 (ESV)


Jacob’s journey takes him to the East where he finds Laban, his mother’s brother. He then begins working for Laban. After Laban asks Jacob what his wages should be, we read that Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel. He had noticed Laban's younger daughter Rachel and had fallen in love with her.

When those seven years were over, Laban plays a big switcheroo on Jacob and gives him the older sister Leah instead. After figuring this out on the wedding night, Jacob marries Rachel a week later, but only having promised to work another seven years for Laban.

It is obvious that Jacob had a preference for Rachel over Leah as his wife. It was his father-in-law’s sneaky maneuverings that resulted in Leah being his first wife. Leah, I am sure, would feel neglected, not wanted and rejected as Jacob only had eyes for her younger and more beautiful sister.

In the Bible, Leah is first described as having “weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful” (Genesis 29:17). If the only adjectives used to describe me in a story were that I had “weak eyes”, well, I wouldn’t feel very good about myself.

However on further reading we see that the Lord had compassion on Leah and granted her the blessing to give her husband four children—Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.

"When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless."
Genesis 29:31

We can only imagine the deep longing that Leah had to be wanted by Jacob. She bore him multiple children and it was clear each time that she hoped he would finally want her as he did Rachel.

“Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”
Genesis 29:14

Feeling overlooked or not good enough can cause a deep hurt, and can snowball into feelings of being inferior, forgotten, or the fear of not being wanted.


I love how God had a special place in his heart for Leah. You see, God enabled Leah to have four sons because “… the Lord saw that Leah was unloved…” (Genesis 29:31). God saw the rejection that Leah faced, and knew what having sons would mean to her.

In this story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel we see how God worked through this family to bring about His will by their sons eventually making up the twelve tribes of Israel. What sticks out to me is that things aren’t always as they seem.

In the case of Leah, she was rejected, dealt with the emotions of jealousy, and deeply desired to be pursued. What she realized was that though her own sister Rachel was wanted and pursued, Rachel herself had her own demons to deal with including jealousy and anger.

Leah eventually found her security in her Lord and no one could take that away.

We see this when she was naming her fourth child, Judah, “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord” (Genesis 29:35).

May we be reminded that God has our back and we have nothing to fear even though the cards are stacked against us.


O Lord I thank You for the cross, for it is because of Your sacrifice that I can hold my head up even if the odds are stacked against me. I thank You for Your word that assures me that I will always be loved and cared by Your unfailing love. May I realise that You are my rock and salvation through the power of Your Holy Spirit.


Pastor Adrian Chong is Pastor of PJ North 1. You can respond to this devotional by writing to  .

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.