Sunday, January 15

“This time I will praise the Lord”

Scripture: Genesis 29:30, Luke 15

Genesis 29:35 Leah became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” That is why she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.

Observation

If you thought your family was dysfunctional, read these two chapters! 

Jacob’s two competing wives (and concubines) vie for his affection. Leah, the unwanted wife, had four sons in quick succession. Each of the first three were named with reference to her being unloved and hoping this son would cause her husband to love her. Each son’s name was a reminder of her pain and disappointment being unloved. 

Finally, with the birth of her fourth son, she makes no reference to her relationship with Jacob, but simply says, “This time I will praise the Lord.” As you continue to read the story, it’s clear that this is not the end of her struggle, but something changed at this point. She acknowledges her relationship with God without having to reference her disappointing relationship with her husband. Her fourth son’s name was Judah, which means “God will be praised.”

“This time I will praise the Lord.”

Application

I know this may be a stretch…but I’d like to apply this thought to our relationships. We begin to be healthy when our identity, our sense of self is grounded in our relationship with God, and not just in relation to others, particularly when those relationships are broken or unhealthy.

For example, an unloved wife is much more than that—she is a much loved child of God. So rather than think of herself primarily in relation to her husband, she can see herself primarily in relation to God. “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Or when someone feel victimized by another person—perhaps you lost your job unfairly—rather than identifying yourself first as a victim, see yourself in Christ as one who “more than a conquerer” (Romans 12:37). “This time I will praise the Lord.” 

I’m not suggesting pretending or being Pollyanna. But I believe that finding our primary identity in relation to God rather than anyone else sets us up for health, happiness and the abundant life. 

Prayer: I love you Jesus and I’m so grateful that ultimately I’m defined by You, not my failures (or successes) or other’s failures. Help me in the midst of the mess to say, like Leah, “This time I will praise the Lord.”