It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. I read a book about B.B. Warfield written by Fred Zaspel not too long ago. In this book Zaspel says that: “Warfield’s heart beat hot for Christ. His passion for Christ and the gospel pulses prominently throughout the many thousands of pages of his works. He adored the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Redeemer, and he loved to say so.” I loved the description of Warfield’s heart beating hot for Christ. As we prepare our hearts for worship we are seeking to stir up our affections for God and to get our hearts beating hot for Christ.
If we want to get our hearts beating hot for Christ we need to start at the throne of grace and plead with God to come and stir us up. This past Thursday at our discussion group we had a wonderful time of prayer after the discussion. Several people prayed for God to come and fill us up because we are helpless without God. So, let us start here at the throne of grace. Let us plead with God to come and fill us up and to stir up our affections for Him. Then we should go to the gospel and just preach the gospel to ourselves again.
So, let me preach the gospel to us all for a little bit. I want to use the passage that Mark preached on last Sunday. Mark preached from Genesis 29 which talks about Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. Specifically, I want to go back over the story of Leah from Genesis 29. Tim Keller says that: “We are told that Leah is the older daughter, but the only detail we are given about her is that she has weak eyes. Nobody quite knows what “weak eyes” means; some commentators have assumed it means she has bad eyesight. But the text does not say that Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel could see a long way. Weakness probably means cross-eyed; it could mean something unsightly. But here is the point: Leah was particularly unattractive, and she had to live all of her life in the shadow of her sister who was absolutely stunning.
As a result, Laban knew no one was ever going to marry her or offer any money for her. He wondered how he was going to get rid of her, how was he going to unload her. And then he saw his chance, he saw an opening and he did it. And now the girl that Laban, her father, did not want has been given to a husband who doesn’t want her either. She is the girl nobody wants.” So, Leah is the girl nobody wanted, but God in his mercy loved her. Keller again: “when the Lord saw Leah was not loved, he loved her. God is saying, “I am the real bridegroom. I am the husband of the husbandless. I am the father of the fatherless.”
Then Keller goes from the girl nobody wanted Leah, to the man nobody wanted the Lord Jesus. “When God came to earth in Jesus Christ, he was the son of Leah. Oh yes, he was! He became the man nobody wanted. He was born in a manger. He had no beauty that we should desire him. He came to his own and his own received him not. And at the end, nobody wanted him. Everybody abandoned him. Even his Father in heaven didn’t want him. Jesus cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Why did he become Leah’s son? Why did he become the man nobody wanted? For you and for me! Here is the gospel: God did not save us in spite of the weakness that he experienced as a human being but through it. And you don’t actually get that salvation into your life through strength; it is only for those who admit they are weak. And if you cannot admit that you are a hopeless moral failure and a sinner and that you are absolutely lost and have no hope apart from the sheer grace of God, then you are not weak enough for Leah and her son and the great salvation that God has brought into the world.”
Keller gets you on so many levels in this story. First you feel compassion for Leah as you see she is the girl that nobody wanted. Then you are moved by the compassion and grace of God. “when the Lord saw Leah was not loved, he loved her.” This should make us think of our own conversion. We were without hope and without God in the world. We were running our hell bound race indifferent to the cost. Then God pursued us and loved us and lead us to the cross.
Then Keller jumps to Jesus and says that he was the man nobody wanted. This is so deeply moving. Jesus the Son of God, was ‘despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;…’ Then Jesus was even abandoned by God: “Even his Father in heaven didn’t want him. Jesus cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So, let us dwell on Jesus today and tomorrow morning, and let’s think about how much he suffered. Let’s think about how the sinless Jesus was actually made sin for us, ‘so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ As we do this we will find our hearts will begin to beat hot for Him. As Jim Elliot once said: “Of Jesus I cannot seem to get enough.” May this be true of all of us, that we just can’t get enough of Jesus.
Let’s be sure to pray for the service tomorrow and to lift up Ian and Erin at the throne of grace. Let us also pray for Jerry and Mark who will open up God’s Word to us. Mark will be preaching from Genesis 32-33. Links to the ESV text are below:
Picture from here