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The Idol Of Romantic Love - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2022 8:00 am

The Idol Of Romantic Love - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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May 19, 2022 8:00 am

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Jacob loved Rachel. Now this is romantic love all the way.

This is Twilight kind of love. He loved her. By the way, how well did he know her? Not well.

He's not interested in knowing her personality. He's in love with her. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. Human longing for romantic love knows no bounds. But it might surprise you to know that the contemporary culture that we live in has taken romantic love to unprecedented heights.

In Being Alive, the musical company, a man falls in love with a woman and he sings that she will need me too much, know me too well, give me support for being alive. She will make me alive. Obviously one of the most popular series of movies ever made for young people is Twilight. Four movies have been released.

The fifth is on its way. The theme of each and every one of these movies is the same. It's romantic love. It is a love triangle. Bella, sort of the girl next door, is in love with Edward and Jacob. And Edward and Jacob are in love with her. It is a wonderful, romantic triangle.

You might be thinking, well, what's so unusual about that? Well, Edward, the one she loves the most, is a vampire. And Jacob, the one she also loves, is a werewolf.

But when you watch one of those movies, it is unmistakable. Right up front for everyone to see is romantic love. They love each other so much that they are willing to compromise any principle, that they are willing to risk their own lives.

They are willing to betray almost any allegiance. In fact, I guess you could say that Bella and Edward and Jacob are slaves to the love that they feel for each other. I would say it is the love that represents an idol. That this is an idol made through romantic love. But it's not entirely a new idea. Open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 29. Genesis chapter 29.

We are in a series that I call American Idols. And we often think of idols as stone or wood or, you know, something like that. Very pagan.

Very primitive. But it's not. An idol is something that you place in your heart in the exact position where God should be in your heart. And idols are almost always good things. And there's no better illustration than that, than the idol of romantic love.

You see, the background for this is also kind of interesting. We're going to pick up the story with a character named Jacob, who has his name changed eventually to Israel. And his 12 sons become the 12 tribes.

But I want you to understand something. Jacob is the grandson of Abraham. Last week we saw this great test of whether Abraham had made Isaac his son an idol or not. And Abraham passed the test. Isaac, the son of Abraham and the father of Jacob, was told by God in Genesis 25, 23 that he and his wife were going to have twins. And that the elder will serve the younger. Now God told him that directly.

But you know what? It didn't make any difference to Isaac. You see, Esau was the elder. Jacob was the younger. Isaac loved Esau more than he loved Jacob. And boy, because of that, Rebekah decides that she would protect Jacob.

And so you have sort of the overprotective mom. Esau was a man's man. Jacob was a mommy's boy. But what happened because of that terrible mistake that Isaac made, Esau grew up spoiled, proudful, willful, and impulsive. Jacob grew up cynical, bitter, and most of all conniving. And so, as you know the story, Esau gave his birth right up to his younger brother for what we would say just a bowl of porridge.

Just something to eat. But Jacob decided to deceive his father. He deceived his father Isaac and made his father Isaac think that he was Esau in order that he could get the blessing of his father. Well when Esau found out about it, being the man's man that he is, he vowed that I will kill Jacob. And he could do it. And so Jacob takes off and goes on the run.

Not just anywhere by the way. He decides he's going to head back to the land of his grandfather Abraham. And that's where we pick up the story in chapter 29. He is on his way hundreds and hundreds of miles from the land of Canaan where the story began.

And in verse 1 of chapter 29, Jacob went on his journey and he came to the land of the sons of the east. And he looked and he saw a well in the field and behold, three flocks of sheep are lying there beside it. For from that well, he says, they watered their flocks and now the stone on the mouth of the well was large.

Don't forget that. It becomes a point later in the story. By the way, they put a stone on the well for a few reasons, but one so you didn't fall in. They didn't build up little walls around their well like we do in later times. There was just flat to the ground.

And so the idea was it was also to protect the water from many kind of contaminants. They put a big stone on top of it. Well, verse 4, Jacob said to them, my brothers, where are you from? And they said, we are from Haran. And he said to them, do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?

They said, we know him. Now this is interesting, by the way, this is quite a well. This is the exact well the servant of Isaac went and retrieved Rebekah. And so now we find Jacob there. And he said to them, is it well with him? And they said, it is well. And here is Rachel's daughter coming with the sheep.

And he said, behold, still high day. It's not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep and go pasture them. But they said, we cannot until the flocks are gathered. And they roll, now notice, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well.

Then we water the sheep. And while I was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a separatist. And it came about that when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, it's his cousin. He said, and the sheep of Laban, his mother's brother, that Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother's brother. Now what do we know about that stone? It's big. And what was the pronoun they used when they said the stone had to be moved away?

They. But notice what Jacob's doing. He's impressing the lady. Says, what's this? You know, what's what I can do? I just move that. I imagine his back hurt for days, you know, but he's not going to move it. They sort of get the idea as this goes on.

Why? Then Jacob kissed Rachel, just probably on the cheek. It's the way you greeted men and women. And he lifted up his voice and he wept. Now, there's two possible reasons that he's doing this. One could be that he has finally found family. He is completely disenfranchised. He is completely on his own. And he's finally found a place where maybe someone will take a minute.

He belongs. And that's like the case. Or it just could be because he saw Rachel. The image here could have been so like those old cartoons.

You know, when like the wolf sees a beautiful woman in a cartoon and his eyes go like that, that type of thing. That could be what happened to him here. He was just like, wow. Well, Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebecca's son. And she ran and told her father. And so it came about then when Laban heard the news of Jacob, his own sister's son, that he ran to meet him. He embraced him, kissed him, and he brought him to his house. And then he related to Laban all these things.

And Laban said to him, surely, he said, you are bone, or my bone and my flesh. And he stayed with him for a month. And that's the background to this story. This story of something that becomes not a happy ending story. A story that's filled with an awful lot of pain.

And I believe it's all because of the power of romantic love when you let it become the idol of your life. And I believe that's exactly what Jacob does. Then Laban said to Jacob, because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? He says, tell me, what would your wages be? Now, you can see he's getting favored here. It's as clear as could be, your family. And I know you're going to work for me.

What would you like your wages to be? Now, Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah. The name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah's eyes were weak.

But Rachel was beautiful form, face. Now, understand something here. There's a very difficult Hebrew word in that verse. Weak. It's a very hard word. It can mean weak. It can mean a lot of different things.

It has different nuances of meaning. But I don't think it means she didn't see well, because if that was the case that was going to be made, the writer would have said, Moses would have wrote, look, Leah didn't see too well. Her eyes were weak. But Rachel had 20-20 vision.

OK, but that's not the contrast that's made. He says Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful. And form. Face.

Commentators are all over the place here. What was it with Leah? Well, most likely, it means that there was something extremely unattractive about her eyes. One commentator thought maybe her eyes were bulgy. Another one said maybe she was cross-eyed. It's certainly possible.

That idea. And so here's the older sister and the younger sister who is just beautiful in form and face. And now Jacob loved Rachel. Now, this is romantic love all the way.

This is Twilight kind of love. He loved her. By the way, how well did he know her?

Not well. He's not interested in knowing her personality. He's in love with her.

Now, Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter, Rachel. Now, please understand, that's not as crazy as it sounds. It sounds in our culture like what? But in their culture, the diary that was usually paid for a girl in this culture would have been about 30 shekels. Now, 30 shekels to us doesn't seem like, what does that necessarily mean?

Well, we'll put it this way. A shepherd in this culture, the average wages would have been 10 shekels a year. If you want to put that into dollars, a shepherd in those days made about $800 a year in today's wages.

$800 a year. And you don't even have to worry about room and board because you're out with the sheep the whole time. But notice then what that means.

The going rate was three years wages for a shepherd. Without Laban saying anything, he says, I'll work seven years for her. What's that tell you? That's right. He loves her.

You see, he really loves her. Well, now watch. He said, Laban said, it's better that I give it to you than to give it to another man. Stay with me. All right.

Deal done. It says, so Jacob served seven years for Rachel. Here's the key. And they seem like but a few days because he loved her. Are you sure, Bill, that this is an idol? Yes, I am.

I'm sure he's going to make her an idol of his life. Tragically. Why? Well, he served seven years.

And how fast did they go by? Just like that. Why? Because he loved her. Let me ask you something. How much do you think Jacob loved God? You see, was he the servant of God? At this time, was he God's servant? Did he just love to serve God? Didn't his own father, at the end of his life, look him right in the eyes and say, are you really my son Esau? And didn't Jacob look right in his father's eyes and say yes? He lied. Does he love God? You see, is he willing to serve God? No. God doesn't have first place in his life, but Rachel surely does. By the way, there is a point about romantic love.

Isn't that true? Time went by so fast. Boy, I can just remember when I was a teenager, I was dating my wife at the time. If I spent an evening with her, it just went bong. It was gone. It was over. But then my mother would say something like, we're going to go visit your aunt for an evening.

You should come and do it with me. Meet your cousins and talk. And it was like a week. It took a week for an evening to go by. You know what that's like. When you're in love, you can talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend on the phone and the whole evening goes by.

Then let one of your parents want to talk to you for five minutes. You see, that's what romantic love does. It's a tremendously powerful thing. And certainly was powerful to him.

So powerful that he says one of the most unusual things I've ever read in the Bible in verse 21. Then Jacob said to Laban, give me my wife for my time is completed that I may go into her. Could you imagine that? Could you imagine any son-in-law saying that to his future father-in-law? If you have a daughter, would you like the son-in-law to say that to you? Just imagine what he just said. You see, you know why he said that? He's in love. I'm in love. Laban gathered all the men of the place and he made a feast.

It's time. Their weddings were different than ours. It had a legal aspect. By the way, the legal aspect for the wedding was real clear when they made the deal. That was they were legally married.

That's why in the betrothal period, you're legally married. The deal was made. The diary was spent seven years wages.

Soon as they agreed on that, it was finished. By the way, that wasn't to make Laban a rich man. Normally, the money taken for a daughter that has married is put in a trust. If that man divorces her or that man dies, she has some money to help her get by on. That's what the diary was for.

The legal part was done. Now, it's the idea of the celebration. There was a wedding feast called.

The relatives and friends come to the feast. And at that wedding feast, at the night of the wedding feast, there is a consummation of the marriage. That's what we're talking about here. Well, it came about the evening that he took his daughter Leah and he brought her to him and Jacob went into her.

The old switcheroo. That's exactly what happens here. And you're wondering, how in the world could this happen?

Well, one, knowing Jacob's character, there's a very good chance he was inebriated. And not much good comes out of that. And secondly, when a bride is presented at one of these Semitic weddings, she is heavily veiled. This isn't like a bride or veil of today where you can see her right. You don't see anything. You see, you don't see anything. And the other thing is there's no electricity, no lights.

And when they go into the honeymoon tent, it's pitch black. And so consequently, you have this man going and going through this thing. Now, what's interesting about it is, verse 25, So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, What is this that you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me? Isn't that ironic?

Everything that goes around comes around. Isn't it amazing that when he was the second born, he used deception to get the first born's blessing. Now Laban gives him the first born when he thought he was getting the second born.

And he doesn't get it. Laban said it's not our practice to marry off the younger before the first born. That's true. By the way, that will probably tell you something else about Leah. She's not married yet. See, that may tell you something about her appearance, why she wasn't married yet. It hadn't yet happened to her.

No young man had courted her. Well, he then says, Laban then says to Jacob, Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also, for the service which you shall serve me for another seven years. And so Jacob did so and completed her week. And he gave him daughter Rachel as his wife. What he means by the weak idea there is we're still in the wedding feast. And in the wedding feast, you need to go through the rest of this feast. And then you need to serve me for seven more years and you have Rachel. And he did it. No sacrifice too great here. Notice he almost has the behavior of an addict.

I would do anything in this situation. That's what happens when you make romantic love the idol of your life. You see, it has a tremendous power and tremendous control. And it takes the place that God should take. Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death. And he explains the various ways that secular people in the American culture have dealt with their loss of belief in God. How do you deal with your loss of belief in God?

What do you live for? He said, now that we think that we are here by accident and not made for any purpose, how do we instill a sense of significance in our lives? One of the main ways is what I call apocalyptic romance.

We look to sex and romance to give us the transcendence and the sense of meaning we used to get from faith and God. Oh, he's exactly right. You see, he's exactly right.

You see, what happens is if I find that person, it's going to do something for me. You see, it's got built into it a tremendous amount of immaturity, but it's also got a tremendous draw to it. Why do you think in high school, when you're fighting the hormones and lacking any kind of maturity, why is the quarterback so cute? Why? Why?

Why is the head cheerleader? You see, why? Because if I'm with them, I'm somebody.

They fulfill the vacuum in my life. You see, that's what happens in this kind of blinded, romantic love, and that's exactly what happens to Jacob, and that happens to millions of people in the culture in which we live. I mean, after all, years ago, a song was written, You're nobody till somebody loves you. Really?

Where do we get that? Is that scriptural? You're nobody till somebody loves you. Many of us grow up just feeling that, yearning for that, and boy, when romantic love comes into our life, we can make it an idol and a heartbeat. In fact, when we find that one person, we often believe everything wrong with me is going to be made okay when I find that one person. There's a problem now. No one can live up to that. Nobody can do that.

Inevitably, disappointment almost always follows. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts, or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called That's, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 15:22:04 / 2023-04-16 15:31:24 / 9

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