Faithlife Sermons

Genesis 29:1-35: When Life Disappoints

The Fighter   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction - NOT what you expect to get for $400,000 of your hard earned cash.
Jacob works for 7 years, and he’s NOT going to get what he worked for when he made an agreement to work for his uncle Laban.
Odd… Gen. 28 - Jacob has an amazing encounter with God. Certainly after that experience he was expecting life to be easy. After all, God was with him. BUT… life doesn’t turn out to be so easy. Instead, the next decade or so after Jacob’s encounter with God is rather disappointing. Jacob doesn’t get what he expected.
We can relate to Jacob. You thought life was going to be better. Maybe like Jacob, you had an encounter with God. Maybe when you came to faith in Christ, or maybe in a church service you “felt” the presence of God, or maybe another time in life. When you had that encounter, you thought, “everything is going to be alright.” But it hasn’t been. Maybe some of you could sum up the last few years of your life in one word: disappointing.
God is present when you are at rock bottom (Last week). God is present when life is disappointing. What we need in seasons of disappointment is perspective. God doesn’t promise to give you an easy life where you get everything you want, but He does promise to be with you and complete in your life the work He has begun.
Reality: God uses disappointment in your life. Two ways God uses disappointment:

God uses disappointment in your life to remind you of your own sinfulness.

Jacob feels like a new man after vision of God. God is with him, and God is at work.
On his way to Uncle Laban like Rebekah instructed. Time to find a wife. Comes to a well. Maybe the same well where God directed Abraham’s servant to Rebekah, Isaac’s wife.
Jacob knew the story. Maybe he walks to the well with confidence. Well is a great place to meet women. Maybe he thinks the same thing will happen to him that happened for his father years ago.
Shepherds at the well. Moses’ detail: only time they watered the sheep was when all the flocks were there because it was so much work to roll away the large stone at the mouth of the well.
Jacob strikes up conversation at the well: “Do you know Laban?” “Yes, and look, daughter Rachel is bringing her sheep.”
Jacob: “Why are you standing here? Water the sheep and go...” Shepherds: “It’s not time...”
Coincidence? Nope… In God’s providence He’s bringing Rachel right to Jacob. In Gen. 24, Abraham’s servant prayed. Notice, Jacob doesn’t. He still hasn’t learned how to walk with God, but Jacob’s lack of spiritual growth doesn’t change God’s work in Jacob’s life. God is faithful.
Jacob, the momma’s boy, puts his masculinity on display. He rolls the stone away. Kisses Rachel, and she doesn’t slap him. He weeps. Figures. He’s a momma’s boy. But… it’s love at first sight. He tells Rachel who he is… She goes and tells Laban.
This is it! Jacob’s been on the run… Longing for a better life. Esau’s out to kill him. A rock as a pillow. It’s been a tough month or so for Jacob, but now, life’s finally looking up! Rachel… the woman of his dreams.
Laban welcomes Jacob into his home, and Jacob stays for a month. At the end, “You’ve been serving me. What can I give you in return?” Jacob knows exactly what he wants… Rachel...
BUT… there’s another daughter: Leah. She’s older, and according to custom, she’s supposed to be married off first. BUT, she’s NOT the one Jacob wants. Jacob wants Rachel. Rachel is beautiful. Leah’s eyes were weak. Moses’ nice way of saying that she wasn’t exactly what Jacob was looking for in a wife.
Jacob is a desperate man: “I’ll work 7 years for Rachel.” Customary to pay a bride price to the future father-in-law. Jacob has no money. He offers his labor, but 7 years? A high price to pay, but an offer Laban can’t refuse.
Vs. 19 - Note that Laban doesn’t actually agree to give Jacob Rachel. Just says, “It’s better that I give her to you… You’re family...”
Jacob served for 7 years, but seemed like just a few days… What a line!
Then it happens… Waited for 7 years… vs. 21 - Jacob’s a ready man…
An ancient wedding… usually lasted several days. It’s a feast! On the day when the marriage consummated, the bride fully veiled. Everybody’s celebrating. Likely, the wine flowed freely.
It’s dark. A full day of celebrating. Jacob takes his bride into his bedroom chamber. He’s slightly intoxicated. In the darkness of night, Jacob calls out to his bride, “Rachel...” She answers, “Here I am...” The marriage is consummated.
Then, the morning comes. The sun shines into the bedroom, and it’s not Rachel! Laban had pulled a switcheroo. Can you imagine? Jacob expected to wake up next to beautiful Rachel, and instead he wakes up next to “weak on the eyes” Leah.
THE SHOCK! Maybe went like this: “But, I called out to Rachel last night, and you answered. You lied! Leah: Didn’t you do the same thing to your father? Didn’t he call out Esau, and didn’t you say, “Here I am?”
To Laban: “Did I not serve you for Rachel?” Laban: “The older is married off first.” Remember, Laban didn’t technically promise to give Rachel to Jacob. But, Laban strikes another deal. “You can marry Rachel after a week of celebrating with Leah, but you’ll have to serve me for another 7 years.” 14 years of service to Laban to get the wife that he wanted.
Jacob had met his match in Laban. The deceiver had been deceived. Talk about disappointment, but God at work.
God using Laban to discipline Jacob - to reveal sin in Jacob’s own life.
God will accomplish His purpose in Jacob’s life. He will make him a great nation, but He will also do a work inside of Jacob - purifying him and making him the man he wants him to be.
Life can be disappointing. BUT… there are times in your life when God uses disappointing seasons to show you something about you - to show you that He wants to do a work in you. In disappointing seasons, ask yourself 4 questions:
1. Are you disappointed because you didn’t get what you think you deserve? Jacob thought he deserved Rachel after 7 years of work. If you think you deserve blessings, maybe God is exposing pride.
2. Are you disappointed because you have been mistreated? Jacob mistreated. He brought it on himself because he had mistreated. So have you. Maybe God is exposing your hypocrisy or self-centeredness.
3. Are you disappointed because you expect better from God? God had just promised Jacob blessing. This wasn’t blessing. You expect better? Maybe you’ve forgotten that God has given you His best. Maybe your sin is you’ve lost sight of the fact that God expects better from you.
4. Are you disappointed because your agenda has been disrupted? Jacob had a plan… get Rachel as his wife. Agenda disrupted. You had a plan… It got disrupted by something: sickness, family crisis, COVID-19. You can’t see how God is at work in the disruptions. Maybe your sin is faithlessness.
Disappointed? You can sulk, or you can look inward and see what God is trying to reveal about your own heart. We don’t spend near enough time diagnosing our own hearts. We spend lots of time sulking and complaining, but we don’t spend much time at all self-examining. We expect, but we don’t confess.
Ill. - car problems again… disappointment. Reveals bad attitude, entitlement, etc. I want disappointment to reveal faith.
See your disappointment as an opportunity for you allow God to do a work on the inside of you, to make you more like His Son.
Sin separates. Sin damages. Sin takes life. Sin keeps you from being who God has called you to be. It has to be dealt with.

God uses disappointment to teach us to worship Him alone.

Jacob not the only person dealing with disappointment in this story. Think about Leah!
She’s not wanted. She knows that in Jacob’s eyes, she’ll never compare to Rachel.
God knows… He shows Leah compassion. He opens her womb.
Listen to Leah’s response: “Now my husband will love me.” But, he doesn’t. Third son: “Now my husband will be attached to me.” But he’s not. She will never be to him what Rachel is to him.
Then there’s the 4th son: Judah. Leah’s response: “This time I will praise the Lord.” In other words, “I’m no longer worshipping my husband. I’m no longer looking to Jacob for satisfaction and meaning. I’m looking to God. He is worthy of my praise.”
Judah… We’ll study his story later. He’s a lot like Jacob: a mess. BUT… From the lineage of Judah would come the real Savior: Jesus Christ. Jacob would speak over Judah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet… (Gen. 49:10)
Leah in the family line of Jesus… Unloved by Jacob but loved by God.
Jesus was the one who is the antithesis of Jacob and Judah. Jacob never did anything right while Jesus never did anything wrong. And, Jesus, the Lion of Judah, went to a cross and died for a world full of Jacobs.
He died for people who never do anything right. The one who never deceived was punished by the Father for all of us who are full of deceit. He died in our place taking the penalty of our sin upon Himself so we could be healed of our deceitful ways. He died so we might be forgiven of our sins and presented guiltless before God. He rose three days after His death proving He was God in the flesh and preparing the way for us to receive eternal life. Turn to Him!
Your disappointment is often a reminder that you have your eyes on the wrong Savior. If you look to anything other than Jesus to be the Savior of your life, you will be disappointed.
When your eyes are on Jesus, you will see every disappointing season as an opportunity to lift your heart to the ONE who never disappoints. Life disappoints, but Jesus does not. He will ALWAYS be your Savior. He will always be at work. He will always work for your good and His glory.
Are you disappointed this morning? Look inward. Is their sin to confess? Are you disappointed this morning? Turn your heart to Jesus and worship. Know that He is your true Savior.
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