What do you look to in order to find your self-worth? What is that one thing, if you were to attain it, do you feel would bring you genuine satisfaction? Is it good looks? Maybe you believe that it is a certain guy or girl? Could it be a big family? Maybe you feel that wealth would do the trick? What are you searching for that you do not have?
In Genesis chapters 29-30, we find an interesting story about a group of people who were seeking happiness. They all had their different desires yet, at the end of the day, when those desires were satisfied, they were left unsatisfied. Why is it that when we finally acquire that which we have dreamed that would make us truly happy, we usually end up disappointed and frustrated? Is there anything that can satisfy us fully? The answer to that final question is a resounding YES!!! But, before we examine the source of true satisfaction, we have to examine the things that do not satisfy.
I. Good looks
The story involved Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. Jacob, the nephew of Laban, the father of Leah and Rachel, sees Rachel and immediately falls in love with her. Rachel is the younger sister of Leah. Leah, the older sister, is a plain girl with bad eyesight. Rachel is beautiful. She is desired by the men around her. Being beautiful did not fully satisfy Rachel. Having the hearts and glances of the men around her did not fully satisfy her. Good looks are nice but they are never going to satisfy us. Plus, good looks do not last. You will spend your life fighting a losing battle against time and its destructive qualities on the human body. God teaches us this in Proverbs 31.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”
There is more to life than good looks. There is more to life than attention from the opposite sex. Rachel needed more and, later on in this article, we will learn what Rachel needed, and it is the same thing that we all need.
II. The perfect spouse, a big family, and riches
Another set of circumstances that promises satisfaction is having the perfect spouse (not necessarily you, yourself, trying to be the perfect spouse), having a big, happy family, and having possessions. Many people spend their entire lives searching for these three things, and, more often than not, end up disappointed and unsatisfied. Rachel fell into this trap. She was married to Jacob, even though her dad had deceived her and Jacob, they ended up together. They also had a very large family and a comfortable living. It would seem like the perfect scenario. Things were not well neither for Leah, nor for Rachel. Jacob became a pinball bounced about. Even the handmaidens were used and got caught up in this. Leah felt that if she could just have lots of kids that she would be happy, that this would make Jacob happy, and that he would finally love her, bringing her the satisfaction that she so desperately craved. It did not work. Rachel landed the man of her dreams as a spouse, she had a large family, even a comfortable living, yet, in the end, she was still not satisfied. There was only one place that Leah, Rachel, and Jacob could find happiness and we will discover that secret as this story develops.
This strange relationship produced rivalry and competition that had some strange consequences. Leah began to have babies right away. Rachel was barren. Leah had 4 babies and Rachel had none. Rachel gets jealous of her sister and mad at Jacob. Now they are fighting with each other. Rachel decides to give her servant to Jacob as a wife to produce offspring. Now Jacob has 3 wives. The servant who also became Jacob’s wife bears him two more children. He has a total of 6 now. This stirs Leah’s jealousy so she decides to take her servant and give to Jacob as a wife, his fourth. This servant also gives birth to two children, giving Jacob a total of 8 children. Rachel and Leah are in a heated, jealous battle. They begin to use their own children as pawns. Leah traded the right to sleep with Jacob, using her eldest son against Rachel. The plan works and Leah is pregnant, giving birth to another son, Jacob’s ninth son. Then she gets pregnant again and gives birth to another son, Jacob’s tenth son. Then Rachel gets pregnant twice and gives birth to two children, a daughter and then a son. There is much tension created by this rivalry and competition.
Is there any good to come out of this? YES!!! As the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 8:28:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
All here means all, both the good and the bad. In this case, there are some very dysfunctional family circumstances in the family that God turns around for good. Let’s find out what the good here is.
IV. Jesus Christ blesses us
These children that come from this mixed family of deceit and rivalry eventually become the 12 tribes of the Nation of Israel, through which comes the Promised One of Genesis 3 and Genesis 15. The Promised One is Jesus Christ. Through Rachel, God uses Joseph to take the children of Israel to Egypt to preserve them during the great famine. Through Leah, God traces the lineage of Jesus Christ through Judah. God blessed both Leah and Rachel. After Judah was born, Leah changes her tune from wanting satisfaction to choosing to praise the Lord. Our satisfaction is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Back in Genesis 12 and also in Genesis 15, God promises that people will be blessed in the Promised One, Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word for “blessed” means “happy, satisfied, content”. When we come to Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we find satisfaction. Our worth is found in Him. This is the key to satisfaction, worth, contentment in this life. Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you seeking satisfaction in Christ, or in something else? Do you trust the Lord to turn all things in your life to good, for your own good and for the good of the people around you? Where are you seeking satisfaction, in money, looks, a person of the opposite sex, family etc.? None of these things are bad in themselves. In fact, many of these are noble things that can be quickly turned into idols, taking our focus away from devotion to Jesus Christ.
May the Lord help us find our worth and satisfaction in Him and in Him alone.