Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Looking up, don't look down - Give God Praise!

Genesis 29

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.  Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. 

After Judah came, bible records that Leah stopped having children, we know that in the next chapter she did have more children, so why did the bible record this? I believe it is instructive, somewhere along the line, Leah turned her attention to God, finally He had got her attention even if but for a moment in time, she could in that season learn to turn to God. 

One thing I know through all of this was that God wanted Leah's attention, He was already in love with Leah as He is in love with us all. The bible records that He saw that Leah was not loved so HE opened her womb - HE DID IT, HE SAW!

1 Samuel 2:8 "He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them."

I couldn't help feeling Leah should have named her first son Judah as I read through Genesis 29

Judah means praise
Reuben means see, a son!
Simeon means heard.
Levi means attached.

Initially I thought perhaps Simeon at first but as I read through I concluded that it should have been Judah, why did I decide on Judah?

Because in her first son, Leah was saying - ah ha, I have a son, now Jacob will love me, see Rachel I beat you to it. Her focus was on the gift and those around her not on the giver, the one who loved her wholly and completely.

Praise is a means by which we connect & communicate with Him - in praise, we are looking up but when we focus on the gift we are looking downwards; and the Lord is not there, that's not where He lives, its not His post code.

Leah was conversing with Rachel through her gift, also hoping that Jacob would notice her, her conversation was not with God. Although He had seen her distress and helped her, she did not respond to Him; her first response was to those around her and her focus was on them but when she decided within her to say: this time, I will praise God! I believe heaven said: now I have your attention, let's get together and for a season she stopped having children that perhaps she would focus on getting to know this ONE Who loved her so.

Psalm 22 tell us that God dwells within the praises of His people, it is so much more beautiful and powerful when our dealings on the issues of life are with God, not man. When she decided to praise God, He responded as He likes to live within our praises, it is an invitation for Him to enter in.

God is not in that outward showy striving stuff, it's not how He rolls. So when we go aha, see a son, He's not in all of that. God will display you, He will celebrate you but He will not bless your human pride or show off. He's not in there brother - that's all on you, you are as they say are on your own.

It is no wonder that when God was going to spare one of the tribes of Israel when He tore the kingdom from Solomon. He spared Judah, for in Jerusalem of Judah He had chosen to place the banner of His name. He choose the place of Praise & Worship, it was no coincidence.

1 Kings 11:

13 "Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen"

32 "But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe"

As the brothers are a type, a foreshadow, it is important that we look at their lives and glean wisdom from it...

Selah - pause & think about it

Marinate it people!

Next time you are tempted to respond to those around you in that fashion or focus on the gift you've been given, look upwards! There is power there, there is strength there not downwards.