THEN I HAVE A NEW EXCITING ADVENTURE FOR MID-SEPTEMBER WHICH I’LL BE TELLING YOU ABOUT.
I HAVE A DEEP GROUP OF WOMEN HERE, AND GOD IS WORKING IN YOUR LIVES. I PRAY SOME WILL JOIN YOU FOR THIS, BUT ALSO WHEN WE BEGIN THE NEW ADVENTURE. THIS LOVE STORY CAN TEACH YOU SO MUCH. I’M PRAYING FOR YOU.
JACOB ADORING RACHEL
What do you think you need to be happy? What is your “Rachel?”
Our hearts, John Calvin said, are “idol-making factories.” Instead of worshiping the One who is beautiful beyond description, who will never leave us or forsake us, who laid down His life to rescue us, we worship the things He made, thinking they will fulfill us. We don’t really believe He can fulfill us.
But for those rare individuals who learn that He alone is worthy of worship and pour their hearts into Him, they also find they become thankful for the people and things He has made, giving them grace for their weaknesses, and not expecting them to be everything to them.
Let’s start with Jacob. We know he’s on the run after cheating his brother and father. What I’d like you to do first is find evidence that he was absolutely obsessed with Rachel. (Remember, we can be exactly the same way, seeing someone as being like a god or a goddess, making them what only God can be.)
Read all of Genesis 29 as an overview, asking God to quicken you.
1. Read Genesis 29:7-11 and find any evidence you can of the beginnings of his obsession.
2. In Genesis 29:18-27, How does Jacob “give away” his hand to Laban the cheat? How do you see Jacob’s heart for Rachel?
3. Have you ever been obsessed with someone like this — a lover, friend, or child? How did God show you that that person could not hold that kind of worship?
4. Falling in love and marrying is a gift from God — but no man or woman can ever be what only God can be. But if our heart is right with God, if we are adoring Him, then we can likewise be thankful and contented with a spouse (or friend, or child) who is a sinner and give him or her grace. One of the truths we can learn from the parallel that the Bible makes between marriage and our relationship with the Lord is to adore the Lord — the kind of adoration that happens when you first fall in love with a man, or even, if I may be so bold, the kind of adoration that might happen in the marriage bed — where you adore every part of a person, as you see in The Song of Songs.
SPEND SOME TIME ADORING THE LORD. USE MUSIC, PSALMS SUCH AS PSALMS 96 THROUGH 1OO. USE SONG OF SONGS 2:8-17 — AND SING OR TELL HIM WHY HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL TO YOU. GIVE THIS TO HIM. WERE YOU ‘QUICKENED’ TO ADORE DURING THIS TIME? CAN YOU SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
Jacob thought if he had Rachel, life would be complete. Tim Keller says that Jacob dreamed of apocalyptic sex with Rachel. If only he could have Rachel…
Leah thought if she had Jacob’s love, her life would be complete. If only she could have Jacob’s love…
Rachel thought if she had Jacob’s children, her life would be complete. If only she could have Jacob’s children…
Our hearts are idol-making factories.
5. What contrast is made between Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29:17. How can you tell that the writer wasn’t just saying that Leah didn’t see too well?
6. In a world that worships physical beauty, why might not having it be a gift?
7. Can you see the beauty in individuals who are not physically beautiful? If so, share. If not, pray.
8. Read Isaiah 53:2-3. What do you learn about the Lord here and His physical beauty?
This is when Jesus was on the cross. Spend some time in Isaiah 53 worshiping Him, asking Him to change your heart to worship Him, to care about the things He cares about, instead of the things the world cares about.
9. There is so much more about Rachel and Leah and our idol-making factories. We’ll look at that next week. But for now, let me ask you: “What is your Rachel?” What do you tend to worship instead of the Lord? Ask the Lord to help you with this — to be thankful, yet not a worshiper of this “Rachel?” I’d also love some testimonies here.
10. What did you learn that is impacting you and why?