Summary: This sermon is an exegetical sermon from a rare character’s perspective.
Fear Factor: “Leah—The Fear of Rejection” (Genesis 29)
M. Cameron McDonald
February 15, 2004
ILL: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE MOVIE BACK TO THE FUTURE? IN THE MOVIE, MARTY McFLY GOES BACK IN TIME TO THE YEAR 1955, TO MAKE SURE THAT HIS MOM FALLS IN LOVE WITH HIS DAD. AND THERE IS A SCENE WHERE MARTY TRIES TO GET HIS DAD TO ASK HER OUT. AND HIS DAD SAYS, “YOU MEAN ON A DATE?” AND MARTY SAYS, “YEAH.” AND THE DAD SAYS, “GEE I DON’T KNOW, MARTY. I MEAN, WHAT IF SHE SAYS NO? WHAT IF SHE LAUGHS AT ME? I JUST DON’T THINK I CAN TAKE THAT KIND OF REJECTION. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?”
AND MARTY LOOKED DOWN AND SAID, “YES, YES I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN.”
A. Do you know what he means?
a. I think we can all resonate with that, I mean as humans we hate being rejected, in any form. Why? Because rejection hurts.
b. Whether it is on the playground at recess, at school growing up, asking a date to the prom, asking for a hand in marriage, or maybe it is on the job, or maybe it’s from your spouse or a child.
c. Wherever it comes from we can all agree it hurts, it damages, it bruises our ego, and I would be willing to bet that it is an emotion that we can all agree we would like to do without.
d. But in our sinful nature, we understand that hurts for us to be rejected, but it is not so bad when that rejection happens to somebody else. Because it makes us feel a little better, and it allows us to compare our situations and ourselves with someone else.
EX: I think that is why millions of Americans tune in every week to shows like “American Idol” or “The Bachelor or Bachelorette.” Yeah the show is entertaining, but for the most part we love the rejection part of it. The best part of the Bachelor is the last 10 minutes when they have the rose ceremony and the interviews of the contestants who got rejected, and just to see their humiliation and how they handle it.
Simon the British guy on American Idol has made millions of dollars and quite a name for himself simply by belittling and demoralizing potential candidates.
e. As human beings we seems to enjoy this rejection when viewing it safely from the comforts of our living rooms, but when we experience it first hand that is a whole different story.
f. It makes our stomach turns, it leaves us with feeling and emotions and thoughts that we never thought we were capable of having we say things we wouldn’t normally say, we think thoughts we would not normally think, all because we feel like we have been trashed inside and deemed worthless by another human being.
B. Well today I am continuing the series Fear Factor.
a. And we are going to take a look at an uncommon character in the Bible who felt this rejection on a daily basis.
b. I want us to draw some parallels with her situation and see how maybe we can gain strength from it.
c. If you have your Bibles get them out and turn to Genesis 29, and we are going to look at the story of Leah.
I. Now this is a story that you are probably not aware that you know.
A. It is found nestled in the Genesis account about Jacob the son of Isaac.
a. Now remember Jacob is considered a trickster, when his father is old and nearly blind, Jacob dresses up as his older twin brother Esau, and get his father to bless him with the birthright
b. Well this of course infuriates Esau and so Jacob hits the road and is on the run from his older brother because of the swindling.
c. So Jacob begins to travel and he decides to go far away to his mom’s brother’s home, his uncle Laban. Let’s pick up the story there in verse 16.
SCRIP: Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.
d. Now what the text says right there is basically a polite way of saying Leah was ugly.
e. And this is not something that is news to her, she is fully aware, and was aware all the more because all her life people saw her with her younger sister, Rachel, who happened to be absolutely beautiful, and in contrast Leah looked all the more ugly.
ILL: ASHTON KUTCHER IS A YOUNG STAR IN HOLLYWOOD, WHO GAINED NOTIRIETY BY FIRST BEING A MODEL FOR ALL THE BIG NAMES. THE OTHER DAY I HAPPENED TO BE FLIPPING THROUGH THE CHANNLES WHEN I TURNED TO A DOCUMENTARY ON ASHTON KUTCHER’S LIFE, I LEARNED THAT HE HAS AN OLDER BROTHER WHO HAS SOME MAJOR DISABILITIES. NOW IT IS ONE THING FOR HIM TO BE HANDICAPPED, AND I AM SURE PEOPLE FELT SORRY FOR HIM, BUT TO HAVE THIS MEGA STAR FOR A LITTLE BROTHER, PEOPLE FEEL ALL THE MORE SORRY FOR HIM. THEY WONDER HOW DID SUCH OPPOSITES COME FROM THE SAME FAMILY.