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September 13, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 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.’ Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.’ So she named him Simeon. 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. 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.”—Genesis 29:31-35 (NASB)
Who are you? Take a moment and write a list of some things.
Does your list look like job titles (landlord, designer, cook) or more like character attributes (loyal, simple, sensitive)? Mine always ends up being more about what I do than who I am.
I’m convinced everyone wants to be known and loved for who they are more than what they do. Yet we often go about trying to earn attention and love by doing things! “What can I do today to be accepted or irreplaceable? How can I stay relevant and important?” It becomes more about what we do than who we are and, consequently, our actions are praised and prioritized over our hearts.
If you’ve ever felt you didn’t fit in or weren’t absolutely approved, then you can imagine how Leah felt. She was given in marriage to a man who never wanted her, a man who was so uninterested he continued to pursue another. She saw in his eyes that who she was would never be enough. And so, she thought if she could DO SOMETHING—like give him sons and create a legacy—that he could be convinced she was worthy. But I think Leah was the only one who needed to be convinced.
We hear this story a lot from Jacob’s perspective. And while we can’t fault him for falling in love, it doesn’t mean Leah was worth any less than Rachel. Think about how the Lord felt about Leah, His daughter. She was just as loved and valuable to Him. Her worth was never under question; never up for interpretation.
Yet she looked for worth from someone who could never author it. With each labor pain, she hoped to earn his approval. One son after another saying, “Now my husband will love me, because of what I’ve done for him.”
But God is faithful. He cares more about our heart than our actions. So, after three children and still not having the affection of Jacob she craved, we see Leah’s heart change when she gave birth to her fourth son. Here, she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” And she named him Judah, which means “praise.” She didn’t mention her husband or earning his love anymore. She just thanked the Lord for a gift she would use as a testimony of praise instead of a weapon for worth. And it’s important to note that through this son the lineage of Christ continues.
Friends, don’t be concerned with how others’ see you. Be at peace with the Lord and then with man. He has a plan for you beyond the judgement of others.
Now, take another moment to make another list. Who does God say you are?
DIG: Why are we often so concerned with how others see us?
DISCOVER: What do we have to do to receive God’s approval?
DO: Who does God say you are? Make a list of how you would describe yourself.