Friday, March 4, 2016

Leah & Rachel and the Principle of Compensation

For almost a year now, I've had the goal of working my way through the Bible. It's been always slow and not so steady.

Just a few days ago, I was reading in Genesis. I read about Jacob and his marriage. Jacob really wanted to marry Rachel, but Rachel's father gave Jacob the older sister on the wedding day, as it was not proper for the younger sister to be married first (Genesis 29:26). Jacob wasn't very happy, but he eventually was able to marry Rachel as well. And [Jacob] loved also Rachel more than Leah" (Genesis 29:30).

"And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren" (Genesis 29:31).

"And Leah conceived, and bare a son . . . for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction . . . And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also . . . And she conceived again, and bare a son . . . And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord" (Genesis 29:32-35, emphasis added).

Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son.  

Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son.

"Understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude" (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May and Love It," October 2008).

"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss."

"All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ" (Preach My Gospel). 

Leah was faithful. Leah loved the Lord. Leah was in a marriage where her husband didn't love her - actually, the scripture says he hated her. Rough, huh? So, "The Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb." God blessed Leah with sons.

But! The Lord also caused Rachel to be barren. God made Rachel barren so Leah could feel something special that Rachel didn't have. Rachel had the love of her husband, Leah was able to bear children. Leah got something special. If Rachel had also borne sons, Leah's sons wouldn't be a special blessing. 

So let's look at Rachel now. While Leah was experiencing her blessings of compensation, Rachel is still here with no sons (bad news in that society). Rachel must have been pretty bummed - maybe angry. "When Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister" (Genesis 30:1). Maybe Rachel wondered why she couldn't have any sons, when her sister was bearing many sons. When we read this story in the scriptures, it's short to us - seconds or a minute to read. But Leah had four sons. If her sons were born back-to-back, that's still a matter of five to six years that Rachel is watching and wondering why she can't have any children. That must have been hard.

But as I already said, this was Leah's compensation for being faithful - Leah's husband hated her, so God gave unto Leah to bear sons.

During these years when Leah was bearing sons and Rachel wasn't, Rachel may have wondered what she had done wrong, why this curse had some upon her (reminder: a prevailing belief at the time was that all affliction was the result of sin or God's disfavor). Rachel may have wracked her brain trying to figure it out. She probably poured her little heart out to Heavenly Father asking why she could not give sons to the husband she loved. 

Rachel's barrenness was in no way a result of anything she did. Rachel suffered this loss, as God blessed Leah, as Leah experienced the Principle of Compensation.

However, this isn't the end. "God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son" (Genesis 30:22-23). After Leah had been compensated - after she got a special blessing that her sister did not have - God remembered Rachel and opened her womb. Rachel bore sons.

Rachel, too, was blessed by this principle of compensation. The son Rachel FINALLY bore? She named him Joseph. 

Joseph, who would be hated by his brothers but loved by his father. Joseph, who would be sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph, who would become ruler of Potiphar's house, and be an example of righteousness when he fled from the temptations of Potiphar's wife. Joseph, who would interpret dreams and warn Egypt of a famine. THAT Joseph.

Because of the Atonement and the merciful Principle of Compensation - we will be repaid for all unjust harm that comes our way. Just like Leah. Just like Rachel.


Leah suffered, so God blessed her.

Rachel suffered, so God blessed her.

I suffer, so God will bless me. 

You suffer, so God will bless you.

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