In preparing this sermon this week I found myself in somewhat of a quandary in regards to how to approach today’s sermon topic: love and romance. The reason for my distress is that today is Valentines Day. For some it’s a great and wonderful day because you are in love with somebody. For others it’s a miserable day and gladness will only return when this day and all the hype over this day is over and done with.
Today will be our fifth and final sermon on the topic of love. We began this series by pondering the unfailing, unwavering love of God for us. We then focused on the topic of misplaced love. Two weeks ago we talked about love and friendship. Last week we broached the topic of forgiveness-forgiveness is an expression of love which the Lord commands us in.
Today we are going to ponder love and romance or the love of a man for a woman or a woman for a man. The Bible has a fair bit to say on this topic. A whole book of the Bible is dedicated to romance which you ought to read: The Song of Solomon. When it comes to the topic of sexuality the scriptures even have more to say. The first 7 or so chapters of Proverbs are full of warnings about getting involved with the wrong people sexually. I Corinthians 7 has much to say on the proper relating of dating and married couples. I Corinthians 7 also has much to say in regards to singleness. Singleness is held up as something of an ideal. Many people feel pressured to get married yet the Bible affirms singleness and yes it affirms marriage.
Today we are going to consider a love story. How many of you like love stories?? This is going to be no ordinary love story. It’s a love story with a twist
READ GENESIS 29: 15-30
-Jacob’s parents. Mother barren. After 20 years God enables her to conceive. Going to have twins. A special word from the Lord came to Rebekah “2 nations in your womb, the older will serve the younger”
-at the day of the births out came a very hairy baby who was promptly named: Esau (meaning “hairy one”) and holding onto his heel out came Jacob whose name deriving from what he was doing at birth means “supplanter”
-Jacob indeed began to live up to his name. One day his brother he was a hunter came home empty handed and asked Jacob who was a momma’s boy to feed him. Jacob said I’ll give you food if you give me entitlement to the firstborns share of the inheritance.
-Jacob along with the help of his mother who favored him continued to live up to his name then conspired to get his fathers blessing—the blessing given by a father to the eldest son before they died. Isaac was deceived and the end result is that Jacob has connived and wiggled his way into the firstborn’s inheritance and his father’s blessing-both of which should have gone to Esau.
-Esau decides to kill Jacob. Rebekah hears about this and has Isaac send Jacob away. Isaac is unaware of the plan to kill Jacob and is actually sending Jacob away to find of wife from among Rebekah’s relatives for Esau was a disappointment to his parents because he had married some pagan women and they didn’t want Jacob polluting himself in that way.
-Jacob heads out to get away from his brother and to find a wife from amongst his mother’s family
-on the way God communicates to him in a dream. God communicates to him that through Jacob that He is going to build a mighty nation. In the morning Jacob sets up an altar and makes a conditional commitment to being a servant of God.
-ch. 29 has Jacob arriving at the well at which his mother’s family water their flocks. It’s no coincidence, as we who are astute at reading God’s word know. It’s by the providence and design of God. God’s hand is upon Jacob whether or not he admits it or not at this point. It’s also no coincidence that Jacob’s future wife meets Jacob that day-she is an outdoors girl, she’s a shepherdess!! When he meets her he kisses her and begins to weep what appears to be tears of joy and relief—for he has found his mother’s family.
Note: At this point some of you may note a parallel of this story with that of Jacob’s parents ch. 24. Abraham sent his servant to find a wife from amongst his distant relatives (from the same area this story is taking place in) for his son Isaac. God directs the servant to well and out comes Rebekah to get water for the household. Rebekah agrees to go and marry Isaac, whom she has never met. In the account of ch.24 God is front and center in all matters. In this account the leading of God is evident but its not pronounced like is in ch.24