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Genesis 29:31-35

Looking for Love

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • November 22, 2014

Like children, we all have a sense of what love should look like. In many ways, love is a simple concept and yet so complicated in a fallen world. Is it possible to find real love? Today, we will look at someone who longed to be loved but never was… yet found true comfort in God’s heart for her.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Looking for Love

Genesis 29:31-35 

Introduction

ILLUS – Kids Talk About Love

1. Like children, we all have a sense of what love should look like.

2. In many ways love is a simple concept and yet so complicated in a fallen world.

3. Is it possible to find real love?

4. Today, we will look at someone who longed to be loved but never was… yet found true comfort in God’s heart for her.

READ Genesis 29:31-35

I.  All Of Us Want To Be Loved

A. We seek unconditional love conditionally

1. Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Leah’s younger sister.

a. Rachel was beautiful of form and face (v. 17)

b. Leah, to put it kindly, wasn’t Jacob’s type!

2. After 7 years of working for Laban, Jacob’s day had finally arrived for marrying the “girl of his dreams”.

3. But under the veil of night, Laban switched Rachel with Leah and Jacob woke up to a living nightmare!

4. Why did Leah go along with daddy Laban’s scheme?

a. Perhaps she felt compelled to submit to her dad’s authority.

b. I’m sure she was also tired of playing second fiddle to her beautiful sister, Rachel.

c. Maybe she thought it was her only chance at romance!

d. We really don’t know the reasons why, but as I read these verses one thing stands out… Leah wanted to be loved, badly!

5. To Jacob, Leah was a burden, a bother, a dirty trick!

6. It didn’t take great discernment to see that Jacob loved Rachel and could care less about Leah!

a. Sure, he took care of her physical needs but his heart was with Rachel.

b. Daily, Leah was reminded of the fact that she was still second fiddle in an orchestra that had room for only one!

8. In v. 31, we are told that the Lord saw this too…

a. The Lord opened Leah’s womb to conceive.

b. But God closed Rachel’s womb.

9. I’m sure the moment Leah knew she was pregnant she thought, “I’m second fiddle no more!”

a. You see, in that culture bearing children was considered a blessing from God

b. And, if you brought forth a son, even better!

APPL True love doesn’t come with conditions! But we live as though it does…

Test Question - Have you ever had someone say “I love you” and you asked them, “Why?”

If you’re like me the answer is “yes”! The answer proves my point…

  • If I’m smart, then I will be loved… or
  • If I’m rich, then I will be loved… or
  • If I’m pretty, then I will be loved
  • Basically, if I’m anything but me… then I will be loved!

ILLUS - A Second Chance at Life

Problem # 1:We live in a conditional world that loves with conditions and the world sucks us into this way of thinking!

ILLUS – My brother, Mike, playing football for the UW Huskies

Problem # 2: We think the world will change the way it loves us if we try something different! (Terrible Cycle)

Trans – You’ve heard it said that you can’t change someone else… it’s also true that…

B. You can’t make someone love you

1. Leah conceived and gave birth to her first son.

a. Leah knew the Lord had opened her womb.

b. The Lord had seen her affliction (“misery”).

c. What did the Lord see? The same thing that everyone else saw, including Leah!

1. Jacob’s eyes would light up when Rachel came near.

2. But when Leah came near, Jacob had the “What does she want now?” look!

2. Leah gave Jacob his 1st son! (v. 32)

a. The name Reuben means “See, a son!”

b. Leah was really saying, “See, I have value!” “Will you love me… now?”

c. But notice who named the boy, Leah!

ILLUS – Abraham named Ishmael (Gen. 16:15) and Isaac (Gen. 21:3). Together, Isaac and Rebekah named their sons Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:25-26)!

d. Where was Jacob? He didn’t even notice. He didn’t even care… just another mouth to feed. Jacob’s heart for Leah did not change.

e. But God noticed!

3. Leah gave Jacob a 2nd son! (v. 33)

a. Once again Leah acknowledged God’s hand while hoping that she would be valued and

loved by her husband!

b. Leah declared, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved”

c. What did the Lord hear?

1. The Lord heard what was said and how it was said over the years.

2. But God also heard what wasn’t said!

NOTE: When did Leah ever hear Jacob say he loved her? Probably on the night she pretended to be her sister, Rachel!

d. She named the boy, Simeon, which means “heard”

1. Even if Jacob wasn’t listening…

2. God was listening.

4. Leah gave Jacob a 3rd son! (v. 34)

a. The Lord had opened her womb again.

b. Leah was in the bonus round - 3 sons!

c. Surely, Jacob would be attached to her now.

1. He had met her physical needs.

2. But Leah desired a spiritual and emotional connection!

3. She wanted her husband’s heart!

d. Notice, Leah named the boy, Levi (“joined to”) but Jacob became even more distant! Why?

APPL - You can’t make someone love you!

Having sex won’t make someone love you! Sex produces children not love! Sex is a gift from God that finds its ultimate fulfillment within the realm of a marriage that is grounded in the love of God!

Getting physically fit is a good thing because we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. But getting fit in order to be loved, is a dead end!

We should seek to grow in all facets of our lives, but not for the approval of man, for the glory of God!

5. Reading this story is painful. I find myself wishing for a fairy tale ending, that somehow Jacob would love Leah! But it never happened.

Trans - Yet unconditional love does exist. It’s a love that’s not of this world. In fact, it’s been around before the world ever began!

II. God Loves You Unconditionally

A. God has always loved you 

1. Leah eagerly longed for Jacob’s love but the Lord had loved her from the beginning.

2. God knew what she was going through.

3 God saw and heard and opened her womb to show her He loved her though Jacob did not!

4. God’s love is an everlasting love…

Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”

ILLUS – Jesse’s response to God’s love at summer camp

Trans - It took a while, but Leah finally figured this out!

B. Accept God’s love… He’s accepted you!

1. Leah gave Jacob a 4th son! (v. 35)

a. She called him Judah, which means “praise”

b. Saying, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

1. It’s the high point of her faith.

2. Hear the freedom in her words, “I am not going to live like this anymore!”

c. I am going to praise the One who has always loved me.

d. I am going to praise the One who loves me unconditionally.

APPL – This can be true for us too. We can say with Leah, “This time I will praise the Lord!”

ILLUS – Teaching Malina how to say, “I love you this much!”

APPL - Do you know just how much God loves you?

  • I believe if we really understood how much God loves us it would radically change our lives!
  • What’s so amazing is that we don’t have guess how much. The Bible tells us just how much God loves us… as much as He loves Jesus…

John 17:22-23, “Theglory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfectedin unity, so that the world mayknow thatYou sent Me, andloved them, even as You have loved Me.”

Now, I have no problem understanding that God loves Jesus… What’s not to love about Jesus? He’s perfect… but loving me is a different matter…

ILLUS – LAX size baggage…

Conclusion

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah? Leah’s son… the rejected wife, not Rachel? I think the Lord is also telling us something through this… God values you when others don’t.

Have you been looking for unconditional love from a conditional world?

  • The Lord has always loved and valued you.
  • Will you accept God’s love?
  • Will you let the Lord heal your wounded heart?
  • Will you let the Lord bring freedom into your life?
  • Will you say with Leah, “This time I will praise the Lord!”

Genesis 29:31-35    NASB

31 Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me." 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, "Because the Lordhas heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." So she named him Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore he was named Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, "This time I will praise the Lord." Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

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