One night in a church meeting that I had been asked to speak at, I stood before the people and spoke soberly to them that I had a fairly common condition but one that is not often spoken about in our circles. I told them that though it is a common condition not very many would acknowledge or confess openly about having it, and that I wanted to come forward and admit that I have been afflicted with this condition. You see, Gottaleah is not a disease of the blood, nor is it a bacterial disease that attacks the different portions of the body. It is a state of mind which predominantly affects the majority of Christians life and attitude and depending on how one deals with it is the result seen.

Let me give you a simple direct definition of what Gottaleah is. Gottaleah is when a Christian has:

“Prayed for a Rachel but got a Leah” instead.

“Brother Jon, that’s not a disorder!” But friends indeed it is. The biblical narrative is found in Genesis 29. You should read this chapter to be familiar with this story before going on. In this chapter, Jacob, after he and his mother had swindled the patriarchal blessing from Esau, was sent by his mother to his uncle Laban.

For two reasons:

  1. For his life (Esau would have killed him).
  2. For a wife from the family.

Jacob comes upon Laban’s daughter Rachel and he see’s that she is beautiful to behold. Rachel’s older and only sister Leah was not as blessed in her appearance as Rachel was. Leah was a sore sight to the eyes, she was not as fair as gorgeous and lovely looking Rachel. After staying and working for his uncle for a month’s time, Laban asks Jacob what he’d like his wages to be. Jacob said he would work seven years for Rachel to be given to him as his wife. Laban conceded to this and thus Jacob began his seven years of labor for his bride to be. The scriptures state that the years seemed as just a few days to Jacob, all his labor, toil and sweat didn’t seem like a whole lot in comparison to the beautiful woman he was going to receive in the end.

It was customary to the people of that day to send the bridegroom after the wedding feast into the wedding tent in the dark and to consummate the marriage between the two. Little did Jacob know that Laban had, instead of giving him Rachel, had given him “Leah”. The next morning the swindler realized he’d been swindled! Jacob had wanted a Rachel but he got a Leah instead!

Further along in the story Jacob works an additional seven years for Rachel and as we all know he finally gets the woman that he wanted.

But what a dilemma this was, if Leah had been a car she’d been branded a lemon. I’m sure that Jacob was infuriated at this betrayal, this seemingly deliberate breach of contract by his uncle. I thought it interesting that the first seven years seemed as just a few days, but there’s no description of the second seven years mentioned. You almost would have to assume that the last seven years were at least in part grievous.

Have you ever prayed for something and though God had answered your prayer it wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for? If yes, then you too have “prayed for a Rachel but got a Leah instead”. Many sermons have been preached on this love story between Jacob and Rachel, movies have been made and books have been written. But I’ve yet to hear the full story in virtually all of these. It has been “presumed” that the story of Jacob and Rachel was a wonderful perfect love story with its tragic and its glorious moments. However the story of Jacob and Rachel does not conclude at her becoming his wife, far from it.

As the biblical account continues we find out that Rachel was jealous and envious of her sister (30:1), idolatrous (31:19), lied to her father and stole some of His goods as well as his gods (31:35) and though she was loved by Jacob more than Leah it appears that she was a handful in being competitive against her sister (30:8). At one point she demands that Jacob impregnate her (30:1) and he becomes incensed at her. Eventually Rachel does give birth to two sons.

However, one can’t help but feel that Leah tried to win the love of her husband (29:32). Leah was hated and despised of Rachel and looked down upon by Jacob. In this biblical story there is no real reference to state that Rachel truly loved Jacob. We only find statements concerning his love for her and Leah’s desire for Jacob to love her.

But God has a way of working all things together for good to them that love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). You may pray for a Rachel but God may have a Leah in mind. You see Rachel is your view of how God’s will and way should be accomplished in your life. But the problem is, is that your Rachel will certainly look beautiful to you but she will cause contention and strife, you will find out that Rachel will make demands upon you that you just can’t fulfill. She will steal from you and not add to the measure of the Christ in you

When you have only the focus of the beautiful Rachel you lose sight of what the weary-eyed but faithful and committed Leah can do for you. I hope you know by now that I am not referring to polygamy nor marriage in general but about your commitment to allow God to work in you His perfect will. Rachel was beautiful but she was also a sore spot. Leah was a “sore sight” but she produced ultimately greater than Rachel ever did.

Leah gave birth to four children in contrast to Rachel’s two. What is all the more astonishing is that Leah gives birth to Judah. Judah is the tribe from which the Lord Jesus Christ is descended from! Judah also means “praise”! You may strive, work, hope, pray to get a Rachel but God knows what is best for you and how to accomplish His will in your life.

Don’t despise the Leah in your life, Leah will produce praise and salvation in you. She will be your deliverance if you will let her. When you’ve prayed for a Rachel and you get a Leah, don’t say, “Oh, no, not Leah!” Instead, find out the blessing in it, look for God’s hand in it. Don’t rebuke the devil about your Leah, you’ll find out that Leah is God’s hand at work in your life.

Finally on a last note, Rachel was buried on the way to Bethlehem having died in giving birth. However it was Leah who was buried with the fathers along with her husband Jacob. Friend your Rachel may seem more graceful, and she may appear to be the brightest path to take but if God intends for you to have a Leah, then give in to His work. You will find that the increase is not so far away. Bury Rachel, she had some good qualities (Joseph and Benjamin) but don’t frustrate the purposes of God in your attempt to birth the perfect will of God in your life. Leah will in life and godliness double that which Rachel could only do in her death partially.