After another week off due to snow, we were able to meet again this week for WNW and continue on the "gods at war" series. We began with a worship set that included "Song of Hope" (Robbie Seay Band), "I Believe" (Jason Castro), and "One Thing Remains" (Kristian Stanfill). I reviewed the previous weeks since we've had gaps with the snow and shared how we would be focusing this week on the "gods of love/relationships". Our overuse of the word "love" has come about with our diminished view of it. We use the word to describe our feelings for almost anything these days. We wrongly use and it sadly has lost its rich meaning. We focused the night in Genesis 29 and a love story that seems straight out of reality television. The love story between Jacob and Rachel and Leah.
After Jacob has deceived his father Isaac and betrayed his brother Esau, he leaves and ends up in the land of his relative Laban. Laban tells him that he won't allow him to serve him for free but to name his price. Jacob has fallen in love with his daughter Rachel and asks for her hand in marriage and offers to work for him for seven years. Scripture tells us that Rachel is beautiful but the other sister Leah has weak eyes. This means that she probably had a weaker color eyes which were viewed as a blemish. Laban agrees with Jacob on the terms and the seven years of service begins. Verse 20 tells us that to Jacob they only seemed like a few days. At first that may seem really sweet, but in my opinion it makes Jacob look a bit like a creeper. He loved Rachel, but he also made her into an idol in his life. So at the end of seven years he informs Laban that he is ready to proceed with the wedding. Then a really odd twist happens. They have the marriage feast, but Laban sends Leah into the room with Jacob. He wakes up the next morning realizing what had happened and is distraught to say the least. Jacob, who had once been the deceiver, has now been deceived himself. He asks Laban why this has happened and he responds that it is their custom to marry the older daughter first but that he can also marry Rachel if he agrees to serve another seven years. Jacob agrees to this in order to marry the one he really loves.
We see a family that is about as dysfunctional as possible. This is not the way that God intended marriage and the family to be. Jacob does not love Leah, yet is married to her. Leah knew she was unloved and made it her life effort to gain Jacob's attention and love. This probably consumes every moment of every day. She makes Jacob and her desire for his love an idol in her heart. In verses 31-34 we see how she strives to earn his love thinking that by giving Jacob a child that he will begin to love her. She bears three sons for Jacob, but it does not change how he feels about her.
If we are not careful then we will worship the idea of love. We can easily get a wrong and twisted view of love by what we see in the media and the world around us. We will desire a fairytale love that truly does not exist and we make it our idol. Love and marriage and not bad things themselves. In fact, God created them to be good things in our life. However when we seek them to be the fulfilling essential in our lives we worship love instead of the God that is love and it becomes a false god in our lives.
So what happens to Leah? In verse 35 we see that her mind changes from seeking the attention of Jacob to worshiping God. This changes everything! When we stop pursuing the false gods in our lives and pursue and worship God then our lives begin to transform. Leah praises God and names her fourth son "Judah" which sounds similar to the word "praise" in Hebrew. We recognize Judah in that Jesus is known as the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." When we read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:2 it tells us "Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Jacob, and Jacob was the father of Judah." When Leah stopped worshiping Jacob and began worshiping God, God used her to be a part of the bloodline of Jesus.
The god of love is one that we will all probably struggle with at some point in life. We must realize that if we are pursuing the god of love to fulfill us, that it will leave us feeling empty. Love is a great thing and we were created for love. However we were created for a deeper, richer love that only Jesus Christ offers us.