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The Girl Nobody Wanted

Succumbing to the world's definition of success brings devastation and disappointment, but God works with, through, and in weak people to give satisfaction.


I'm going to read you a passage out of the Old Testament: Genesis 29. And one of the things we're struck with immediately is that the Bible is the most unsentimental of all books when it comes to the subject of marriage and family. It is utterly realistic about this—that it is always hard and often devastating to not be married and it is always hard and sometimes devastating to be married.

Keeping this biblical understanding is very difficult, because there's almost no support for it institutionally, structurally. Outside Christian circles, or in the secular world at large, there's a tremendous amount of fear and a tremendous amount of cynicism about marriage, and with good reason, because of one of the things I just said that the Bible talks about. On the other hand, inside Christian circles there is a tendency to say, ah, marriage, that's what life's about. Marriage, family, kids, white picket fence. And the Bible says both of those attitudes are utterly wrong, because the Bible does not show us Jesus Christ pointing to marriage saying, "This is what you need." But rather the Bible shows us marriage both in its strengths and even in its tremendous difficulties pointing to Jesus Christ as the thing we need.

Now it's never been more obvious when I read you this account. I'm going to read Genesis 29:15-35:

Now after Jacob had been with Laban for a month, Laban said to him, "Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be." Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah; the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven ...

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Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan He is also the co-founder and vice president of the Gospel Coalition. You can find more sermons by Dr. Keller at

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The Bible shows marriage, in both its strengths and its weaknesses, as pointing to the necessity of Christ.

I. A family of grace, a family of suffering.

II. Laban's plot and Leah's lot.

III. Bad news: sin does you.

IV. Bad news: life on earth is marked by cosmic disappointment.

V. Bad news: we make our own lives worse through idolizing family.

VI. Good news: God works with weak people.

VII. Good news: God works through weak people.

VIII. Good news: God works in the weakest.


Those searching for God must understand that God is not standing at the top of a ladder; he sent his son to be the ladder.

© Tim Keller

The Girl Nobody Wanted was preached 10.11.98.