The Girl Nobody Wanted – Gospel in Life
Sermon

The Girl Nobody Wanted

Tim Keller |  October 11, 1998

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Topics:
  • Idolatry
  • Marriage
Scripture:
Genesis 29:15-35
SKU:
IS 94

Genesis 29:14–35

The Bible tells us that marriage isn’t the ultimate goal in life, but instead, it points to our need for Jesus Christ. In Genesis 29, we hear about Jacob marrying Leah and Rachel. This story shows us what happens when we play favorites and how it affects our character. It also tells us how important it is to pass on genuine faith to the next generation. From this story, we can learn six lessons, half of which warn us about the dangers of certain actions.

1. You never do sin; sin does you

People often think when you sin (lie, trample on somebody, etc), “That’s just an event. That’s just an action.” No, it’s not. The Bible says when you sin, you don’t just do an event and then move on. You are actually creating and releasing a devastating power that careens around your life indefinitely. Sin is a powerful force that keeps affecting our lives, just like how favoritism and deceit affected Isaac and Jacob’s family for generations. Sin isn’t just a wrong action we do once, it’s a persistent influence that promotes more wrong actions. The hard truth is, we can’t avoid the effects of sin – they ripple out like waves.

2. All life here is marked by cosmic disappointment

The story of Jacob and Leah shows us that no matter how hard we try, nothing in this world can completely satisfy our deepest desires. When we realize this, we usually respond in one of four ways: we blame our stuff, ourselves, life in general, or our beliefs. But, true satisfaction comes from understanding that if nothing in this world can fulfill us, we must be made for something beyond this world.

3. As bad as life is, you make it much worse through idolatry, and especially the idolatry of a family

Idolatry, or placing too much importance on something, isn’t just a problem with liberal values. It can also happen with conservative values, like when we depend on our spouse or kids too much for happiness and self-worth. The Bible warns against this because it can lead to emotional dependency, controlling behavior, judgment, and even abuse, making life’s disappointments even worse. But there is hope and redemption amidst all this.

4. The good news is better than the bad news was bad.

God works with very weak people. The Bible doesn’t approve of Jacob’s bad treatment of women and his polygamy. Instead, these actions highlight human weaknesses and God’s grace. The Bible isn’t just about good behavior, but it’s a record of God working with imperfect people. Unlike other religions, Christianity doesn’t say we have to be good to reach God. Instead, it teaches that Jesus Christ has made a way for us to reach God.

God works through weak people. When Laban treated Leah and Jacob badly, it helped Jacob see his own past mistakes and become more humble. This insight helped Jacob understand himself better. It’s important to remember that God often works through flawed people, even those who hurt us. This shows us that God’s work isn’t just for the good people, but through them as well.

God is attracted to the weakest. God often works most powerfully in the lives of the weak and broken, like Leah. Even though Leah felt unloved and unwanted, she found joy and purpose in worshipping God. She even became the mother of Judah, Jesus’ ancestor. This shows us how God loves the unloved and values the weak over the strong, and it reminds us to make Jesus the most important part of our lives.

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February Book Offer

Put Your Hope Not in Lesser gods, But in the One True God

In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.

February Book Offer

Put Your Hope Not in Lesser gods, But in the One True God

In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.