Sunday, June 19, 2011

This Time I Will Praise the Lord

Jonathan and I had a neat opportunity today to play the piano at a city event. It was neat to see their openness to the Lord. When Jonathan was asked about his aspirations regarding music, he said he just wanted to glorify God. Those words make a big brother so proud (in the right way). :) I am so thankful for Jonathan and love getting to see him and play a small part in his growth in the Lord. God is making him into a very neat, godly young man. I am so thankful! It was neat to see others singing Christian songs as well at this public event. I played things from the top of my head. I was playing "It is Well" and a lady that was sitting near by was singing along. At first when I was asked to do it, I really didn't want to do it. I don't like performances, but I finally decided that if I was going to do it, I must worship Him through it. I really enjoy just sitting at the piano and playing to the Lord (in the quiet of my home)... and I decided that I could do so in this case as well. I was thankful for the opportunity and pray that God used it to encourage someone listening.

I was reading this evening in Genesis 29. The ending is sad with Jacob being deceived regarding marrying Leah... but even more sad than that is the lack of love that Jacob showed to her and her trying to impress Jacob so that she would be loved. Take a look at verses 31-35.
Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
I think it is important to note God's part in all of this. Sometimes we feel that He doesn't see or doesn't care about our trials, but not only did God bless Leah with children, He chose to withhold them from Rachel. Having said this, we see Leah continually hoping that her husband will love her. Yes, Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, but that does not remove his responsibility before the Lord to love her. Love is a choice. Even through it all, we see that God is at work in Leah's heart to teach her to depend on the Lord even though she was unloved by Jacob. That phrase "This time I will praise the Lord." really caught my attention. She finally got it. God blessing her was not for the purpose of manipulating Jacob into loving her... it was simply for her to take joy in the Lord and praise Him! I am not advocating that any man treat his wife in such a manner (just to clarify). Jacob failed in a major way to meet the needs of Leah; yet, the Lord was enough.

God, search my heart and show me where my motives are impure. Show me where I am seeking the love and praise of man rather than the approval of You. Show me where I am using Your blessings for selfish gain. Convict me of sin and lead me to repentance. Cause my heart to overflow with praise for You for Your abundant blessings. Make me a man of thankfulness. Cause me to see how You are fulfilling my every need and praise You for it.

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