Summary: The Creator God has the power to give grace, but the Creator God also has power to judge sin; and all have sinned against God.
God is Gracious. What does this mean?
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 21, verse 1…….
God was gracious to Sarah, the mother of God’s Chosen People! The word grace and gracious appear about 200 times in the Bible. Biblical grace means “undeserved favor”! Over and over again, God tells people He is gracious, giving even when not deserved! Many of you probably wondered; Abraham lied not only once but 2 times but God made him prosperous! Why? – God is gracious!
Today and next Sunday we will study this truth that God is Gracious from Genesis 29-31. We will also connect the New Testament to God’s Grace and conclude with our response through Communion next week.
Today we will see how God was gracious to Leah and Rachel. Turn with me to Genesis 29, starting with v31……..
Let’s first take a look at Leah.
In Genesis 29:32-34 we read that Leah was miserable and was not loved by her husband even after having 3 sons.
We read in Genesis 29:35; Leah praised God but then God made her barren. We noted last week that God was trying to teach Leah a lesson; the lesson of loving God first before anything else, even before a husband or a child. Did Leah learn her lesson? Look at Genesis 30:9……...
What was Leah thinking? Didn’t she have enough problems with her own kids and her rival Rachel? But, Leah allowed her husband to have another woman!
Why did Leah do that??
Leah thought that more children, even adopted ones, will make her happy and the world will see her happy!
Is it wrong to be happy? – Absolutely not!
Again, as we had discussed last week; God wants us to be happy but God wants us to be happy in Him first!
Now, what can we note about Leah from v15-16 of Genesis 30? Leah hated Rachel and she was manipulative, just to be with her own husband! Remember Esau who sold his birthright for soup? Here we read Leah selling herself for flowers! Can we note Leah consulting with God here?
At the end of Genesis 30, we can note Leah praising God and what’s interesting is that we won’t hear much more about Leah in Scriptures. Did Leah finally learn her lesson about loving God first? – Maybe, but what we can summarize is that Leah was a complainer, selfish, jealous, and manipulative! Would God do anything for such a person? What did God do for Leah?
Look again at Genesis 29:31……..
In spite of Leah being unlovable, God loved her!
And in Genesis 30:17, God actually listened to Leah.
Leah was a complainer, selfish, jealous, and manipulative but God loved her and rewarded her anyway! Why? – Because God is a Gracious God!
What about Rachel?
Did God bless Rachel because she was a “good” girl?
Rachel’s story starts in Genesis 29:31 which states she could not have a baby!
In v1 of Genesis 30, Rachel became jealous and demanded from her husband! Give me children!!
In v3-6 we read Rachel scheming and allowing her husband to have another woman for selfish reasons!
And look again at v8…………….
Rachel’s desire was to look down on Leah!
In v14-15, we read about mandrakes (we read in Song of Solomon 7:13, “The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” Mandrakes were considered aphrodisiacs!). Rachel compromised herself for some love flowers.
Sadly, we will see in Genesis 31 that Rachel did not learn her lesson. Rachel was jealous, demanding, scheming, selfish, compromising, and sensual! Rachel was not a good girl! Would God do anything for such a person?
What did God do for Rachel? Look again at v22……..
In spite of Rachel’s sinfulness, God remembered, listened, and blessed her! Why would God do that?
God is a Gracious God!
Now of course we can ask, “Wasn’t God gracious to Leah and Rachel because God promised to bless them?” This may be true but, wasn’t the promise to Jacob? Jacob was the one for sure who will receive grace because God promised. God could have just skipped over Leah and Rachel!
God is gracious and God will always be gracious to those He makes a promise to. We will talk more about this next week. But you see, God can give grace to who He wants to! He is God!
God never promised to bless Leah and Rachel but there are at least 3 reasons why people receive grace from God:
1. Grace is part of God’s character. Please turn your Bibles to Exodus 34. Read along with me v4-7………….
God is self-sufficient; He didn’t need to create people!
God is omniscient! God knew people were going to sin against Him but He decided to create them anyway! Why, because God is gracious and He desires to share Himself!