Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do almost anything to get it? You direct your attention to this one object with laser-like focus. Nothing on earth will stop from achieving your goal. Then after dedicating all of your time, energy, resources, and strength on this thing; you finally get it. But to your surprise you find out it’s not what you were expecting. You feel like you’ve been bushwhacked and bamboozled. If you have been in this type of situation, then you are just like me and every other human being on earth. If we have this type of intense focus on anything other than God, it’s called idolatry. All of us have been guilty of it at one point or another. This morning I came across an astounding example of this type of idolatry perpetrated by an amazing man of God.
I’m sure most of us know the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. Jacob meets Rachel, his first cousin, and falls madly in love with her. He falls in love her not by getting know her but by looking at her. The Bible tells us that Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. So Jacob asks his uncle Laban, Rachel and Leah’s father, for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Pause for a moment, I know exactly what you are thinking, “ewww this guy wants to marry his cousin?” Actually in Jacob’s time it was quite common. So yes very gross but not uncommon. Once Jacob fixated on Rachel’s physical appearance and decided he had to have her, he was willing to do anything to make it happen.
Jacob agreed to work for his uncle for seven years in exchange for Rachel hand in marriage. I imagine the work wasn’t easy but he was focused on Rachel. In his mind he probably thought, “If I can just have Rachel, my life will be complete, everything will be alright.” He finished his seven years and demanded his prize. But at the last minute Laban swapped daughters. To make a long story short, the next morning Jacob woke up next to Leah AKA weak eyes. When he confronts Laban about the deception, Laban tells him that it wouldn’t be right for him to marry off the younger sister (Rachel) before the older sister (Leah). Its funny how it took Laban seven years to realize this. Most people would have given up and cut their losses but Jacob was obsessed. He had fallen head first into idolatry’s trap. He agreed to work for an additional seven years for Rachel’s hand.
Many of us may think of Jacob as a fool or a loser but how many times have we worked our butts off for Rachel only to end up with Leah. I once had a friend who worked the same job as me, made the same amount as I did. One day he decided to purchase a vehicle that came along with a mortgage sized monthly payment. Like poor Jacob he worked for seven years paying off the debt from this vehicle and at the end of the seven years the vehicle looked a lot more like Leah. Don’t misunderstand me, physical beauty is by no means important I’m just trying to point out the fact that in time everything starts to look physically different. So even if, unlike Jacob we get exactly what we worked for, if our priorities are not right we will end up dissatisfied. If we must focus time and energy on anything it should be on the things of God which are eternal. In Matthew 16 we are told to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven where they won’t be rust, be eaten by moths, or stolen by thieves. Eternal goals and ambitions will reap eternal rewards and satisfaction.