The Struggle for Love – Gospel in Life

The Struggle for Love

Tim Keller |  November 11, 2001

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  • Family and Relationships
  • Redemption
  • God's Love
Genesis 29:15-35
RS 141-3


Jacob is that very ancient figure in the book of Genesis and yet an incredibly modern figure. Jacob is a man with an inner vacuum, an inner emptiness. Although he has begun his relationship with God, that does not immediately create a full remedy for his inner emptiness.

People with an inner emptiness have a tendency to give themselves to the hope that out there somewhere there is that right person, that he or she who is somehow going to make their life right and going to fix it, but what we’re going to see here are three things. First of all, we’re going to see what is behind that hope for one true love. Secondly, we’re going to see the disillusionment that generally accompanies that hope for one true love, and lastly, what will actually fulfill that hope.

Understanding Genesis 29:15–35

When we look at Jacob’s story, we see a man wrestling with a feeling of emptiness and a strong craving for approval. His journey teaches us that finding oneself and experiencing inner change doesn’t happen overnight, but takes time, mistakes, and sometimes even disasters. Despite the messiness in Jacob’s family, God’s hand is clearly at work. The story also shows how we often hope that finding the “perfect love” will solve our problems, how this dream often leaves us disappointed, and where we can find true happiness.

1. The dream of finding the perfect love

Jacob’s love for Rachel and his hopes of finding meaning and satisfaction in life through her is something many of us can relate to. Today, a lot of people believe the right romantic relationship will fill any void they feel. Jacob’s willingness to give up so much for Rachel shows how much he thinks he needs her. But his deep longing for love is actually a search for a deeper kind of healing, a way to escape feelings of insignificance.

2. The disappointment that often follows the dream of perfect love

Jacob’s story with Laban, Leah, and Rachel shows us the consequences of Laban’s trickery. Genesis isn’t saying things like slavery, having multiple wives, or buying a bride are good – far from it. Instead, it’s showing how God can bring good out of messed up situations. It also reminds us that true happiness doesn’t come from other people or things, but from within ourselves.

3. The one who can truly fulfill our dreams of perfect love

The changes in Leah’s life show us that real freedom and happiness come when we focus our deepest longings on God instead of worldly things. When Leah has her fourth son, Judah, she stops looking for approval from her family and starts praising God. This shows her new freedom. Leah, who was unloved and not attractive, becomes a symbol of God’s love for all of us, even when we feel unlovable. It reminds us of how Jesus offers salvation to all who admit they need a Savior.



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