In a TV program, young adults posed as high school students to better understand the lives of teenagers. They discovered that social media plays a central role in how teens measure their self-worth. One participant observed, “[The students’] self-value is attached to social media—it’s dependent on how many ‘likes’ they get on a photo.” This need for acceptance by others can drive young people to extreme behavior online.
The longing for being accepted by others has always been there. In Genesis 29, Leah understandably yearns for the love of her husband Jacob. It’s reflected in the names of her first three sons—all capturing her loneliness (vv. 31–34). But, sadly, there’s no indication that Jacob ever gave her the acceptance she craved.
With the birth of her fourth child, Leah turned to God instead of her husband, naming her fourth son Judah, which means, “praise” (v. 35). Leah, it seems, finally chose to find her significance in God. She became part of God’s salvation story: Judah was the ancestor of King David and, later, Jesus.
We can try to find our significance in many ways and things, but only in Jesus do we find our identity as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and those who will dwell eternally with our heavenly Father. As Paul wrote, nothing in this world compares with the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
In what or whom have you been striving to gain your value and acceptance? How does faith in Jesus open the door to your true identity?
The story of Rachel and Leah is a sad one, but one we need to understand in its cultural context. Genesis 29:1–30 tells the story of Jacob coming to Laban’s family (who were his own extended family) and falling in love with and asking to marry Rachel. However, the custom of the time was that the eldest daughter married first; and since Rachel was the younger, she couldn’t marry before her sister Leah (v. 26).
When our text says “the