The Story of an Unloved Wife

When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.  And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

Genesis 29:31–35, ESV.

Despised, rejected, ignored, hidden, hated, shamed, unwanted, loathed, shunned, undesirable, unpopular, detested, avoided, abhorred…unloved.  Have you known any of these feelings before?  There are many people who have experienced the pain of being ignored, or rejected, or unwanted, ultimately being unloved.  Children unloved by parents and parents unloved by children.  Husbands unloved by wives and wives unloved by husbands. Brothers and sisters unloved by siblings.  Friends unloved by friends.  Grandparents unloved by grandchildren and grandchildren unloved grandparents.  In fact, some of you, reading this, will know exactly where you fit in that list.  Maybe you were rejected by a husband, wife or parent.  Maybe your best friend betrayed you.  Maybe never in your life have you ever experienced the sweet love of another human being.  In our passage we see the stunning reality of a woman who desperately wanted to be loved.  A woman who would do and give anything to be loved.  Yet, a woman who would not find the love she wants from her husband. This, is the story of Leah.

Leah the woman ignored by all, she was plain to look at and had weak eyes.  In contrast to her sister, who was beautiful in appearance and form, she was nothing (vs. 17).  And Jacob agreed, he desired to have Rachel as his wife.  He was willing to work the seven years to pay the bride price for his wife to be.  Yet at the end of those seven years something very strange happened.  We are told that Laban did the old ‘switch-a-roo’.  When Jacob woke up in the morning after his wedding night he discovered that it was Leah lying beside him and not Rachel.  Now, we are not told how this happened.  Perhaps Jacob was drunk and just didn’t realise what was going on.  Perhaps because of the veil there was no way that he could have known until the morning.  However, the question of how it happened is not really important.  The question that is important is why it happened.  Laban gives us one side of the answer to the question.  He states pretty straight forwardly that, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.” (vs. 26)  However, let me ask you, could the Father have done this if Leah was not willing?If she did not want this to happen surely she would have been able to inform Jacob. I think, and I can only take a guess, we are not told, that Leah had fallen in love with Jacob over the last seven years.  If this is the case then she would have been more then willing to deceive Jacob in this way. She probably assumed that eventually she would be able to win him over.  So here we have Leah, desperately in love with a man who loved another, foolishly involved in a deceitful plan in order to get what she wanted.

The problem of course is that Jacob obviously was not that impressed with what happened when he woke up in the morning.  He found another woman lying next to him!  We cannot know if Leah expected Rachel also to be given to Jacob, all we know is the outcome.  “So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah.” (vs. 30)  He loved Rachel more then Leah. He loved Rachel more.  Can you imagine her feeling, as she comprehends what is happening.  She is going to be in this relationship until the day she dies.  Another 40 or 50 years of being loved less.  The one whom you love and cherish more then anything else, all you want is his love, you would give anything for it.  And all you experience is seeing it poured out upon another.  Maybe you know exactly what this is like, maybe you sit and watch  your spouse, child, parent spread their love out on everything except you.  Maybe the person whom you love loves another.

So the question is, what do you do?  Where do you go to feel loved, what do you do in order to get the person to love you, to make you feel content and accepted in their sight?  Here is where we find Leah dealing with this very problem.  We are told that “the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” (vs. 31)  God looks down from Heaven and sees Leah, in her bitterness and distress.  Unloved and forgotten.  And God comes to her aid, he opens her womb but closes Rachel’s.  Now the interesting thing about this whole section is that the name that Leah uses and the name for God in this verse is not the general name for God, but the covenantal name for God, the LORD, YHWH, the God of Jacob.  So Leah had obviously been learning about Jacob’s God.  But the LORD’s aim for Leah is not quite what Leah thinks.

We are told that Leah’s womb is opened and she gives birth to a son.  She names him Reuben, saying “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” (32) At this point we have to note that Leah got it half right.  The LORD had seen her affliction and he had given her a son.  But why did the LORD give her a son?  Was it so that her husband will love her?  Is that what she really needs?  You see God sees that Leah is unloved by her husband and comes down to meet her.  Does he come in order to restore the relationship?  Or does he come in order to create a better relationship?  God comes to Leah because he wants her to meet him.  He wants her to know who the LORD is, for herself!  And so he provides her with a son.  Yet, as we often do too, Leah learns a bit slow.  She assumes that the LORD is providing in order to help her win her husband from her sister.

Unfortunately after a bit of time it becomes apparent that things are not quite going as she expected.  Jacob still isn’t loving her as he is Rachel.  She is still unloved.  So she cries out to the LORD, to the one who gave her the first son.  And what does God do?  He gives her another son, and Leah calls him Simeon saying, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” (33) At this point Leah’s aims and intentions have not changed much.  She is now crying out to God for help with her situation, and God is helping, but she is still aiming for her relationship with Jacob to change.  Now it appears that she isn’t seeking him to love her, maybe she has given up, but only that she would not be hated by him.  (When it says hated it doesn’t mean actively hate but rather it is using a strong word to highlight his lack of love for her)  Leah’s problem?  She is focusing on what she wants to change in her situation, instead of looking at what the LORD is trying to say to her in the situation.

Eventually again the LORD gives Leah a son and she names him Levi, saying, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” (34)  Notice a problem?  Leah appears to have given up on the dream of Jacob loving her, or even hating her less.  Now she effectively says, ‘Well he isn’t going to love me, he isn’t going to hate me less, but at least this way he is tied to me indefinitely and no one can argue what I have done for him.’  Is this what God is wanting for Leah?  Is he really just wanting her to be resigned to her lot and to live out her life in that way?  Or is the covenantal God of Jacob, the one who would give her three children, is he trying to get her attention for a different purpose?  You see, as I have said Leah is a slow learner, as so many of us are, three children and however many years and she still hasn’t gotten the message God is trying to say.  But our God, he is a patient God, he does not give up because we don’t get it, he keeps on going until it becomes clear.

She conceived again and named him Judah saying, “This time I will praise the LORD.” (35)  What…nothing about Jacob, nothing about love or hate.  Nothing earthly, just “I will praise the LORD.”  It seems that the Lord’s message had finally sunk in.  Up till this point Leah had assumed that God was trying to do what she wanted through child bearing.  But what God was really doing, was showing her how much he loved her.  You see, when Leah was hoping to win her husband over through child birth, God was exclaiming his love for her.  When Leah was despised, her God was saying “you are my beloved child”.  When Leah was unloved by her husband and hated by her sister, she was loved by a God who is far greater then both.  And after this birth of Judah she finally realised, this finally sunk in, God hadn’t just been trying to win Jacob over, he had been showing her how much the infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving God cared about her.

Reader, I don’t know what you are going through right now, I don’t know what you have been through in your life.  But regardless of your lot, regardless whether you are the unloved wife, husband, parent, child, brother, sister, friend, grandparent or grandchild, God is doing the same thing for you that he did for Leah.  It may be that your lot is unchangeable like Leah’s, but that does not mean anything for God.  For although he may not give you children to get your attention, he has given something far greater.  Notice something that came from Leah, her last child, the child that got her attention, the one which finally made her realise what God was saying, what was his name?  Judah.  And let me ask you, what did Jacob many years later prophecy about Judah?

Judah, your brothers shall praise you;

your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;

your father’s sons shall bow down before you.

Judah is a lion’s cub;

from the prey, my son, you have gone up.

He stooped down; he crouched as a lion

and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

until tribute comes to him;

and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Genesis 49:8–10, ESV.

And how would it happen? Did not one come from the tribe of Judah that all his brothers would praise?  And would that one not put his hand on the neck of all his enemies and would not all bow down before him and would the scepter ever depart from him?  And who is the descendant of Judah spoken of but Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Reader, if you feel unloved, if you feel abandoned by men, or despised and rejected, hear God’s cry to you.  He calls out to you with a greater gift then the four sons of Leah.  He cries out with the gift of his one and only son.  How did John say it? For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son!  That whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Or to paraphrase it another way, “For God so loved you, that he gave his one and only son up.  That if you believe in him, you shall not perish but have eternal life.  And you shall feel his love upon you.”

Reader, the only way you can begin to feel contentment and love in any relationship, especially those where love is not given, is if you look to the one who has given up ALL for you because he loves you.

Who can dwell with God?

Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;

and you who are near, acknowledge my might.

The sinners in Zion are afraid;

trembling has seized the godless:

“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?

Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”

He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,

who despises the gain of oppressions,

who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,

who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed

and shuts his eyes from looking on evil.

(Isaiah 33:13–15, ESV.)

If I was to ask you what happens when people are faced with the living God, what would you say?  What would come to mind?  Maybe for some it would be the story of Isaiah 6.  For others it might be the many times when the angel of the Lord appears to someone and they drop in fear.   There are many times that people are confronted by God and in all the situations the response is virtually the same.  One of fear and terror.  Not because God is a scary God, nor because God is some kind of monster.  But, because when God gives humanity a glimpse of his holiness, his pure goodness, his infinite power, the fullness of his love, the incomparable riches of his grace, when any sinful human being comes in contact with that there can only be one response.  As Isaiah said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Is. 6:5)  In our passage today we have a very similar type of thing going on, however it is not a prophet facing God but the sinners and godless that are in Jerusalem.  And what do these people declare when they are confronted with the Lord?  They declare, “Who can dwell with the almighty LORD?”  And that is the very question that we are going to consider today, who can stand before God?

Before we consider this question however, we need to look at what brought the sinners and godless to come to this question?  Look at verse 13, God declares that all people near and far should see what he has done, and should acknowledge his might.  You see up to this point Judah had been trying to find different ways to deal with Assyria.  They had tried paying them off and they had tried political scheming.  They had tried everything, except, the one thing they needed to do.  Turn to God, humble themselves, cry out and be delivered.  When this finally did happen – as we read in Isaiah 37 and 38 – God turned up, he arose and delivered his people.  Out of his great power he slays 185,000 Assyrians and routs the army sending it fleeing back to Assyria.  When the sinful and godless people in Judah are confronted with the all powerful living God, they are filled with dread, because who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? And who among us can dwell with the everlasting burnings?  They are petrified that they too will be consumed by God.  What they are ultimately asking is, who can stand before God?  If God can do that by his power, how do we stand a chance?  But God does not leave the question unanswered, he answers the people and it is to this that we now turn.

In order to answer the question, ‘who can stand before God?’ we need to ask several other questions.

(1) What is God’s requirement?

(2) Who can meet that requirement?

(3) How can we stand before God?

(4) How are we to respond?

So, what is God’s requirement?  Who may dwell before the consuming fire?  And God gives them his requirements in verse 15,

 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,

who despises the gain of oppressions,

who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,

who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed

and shuts his eyes from looking on evil.

You see the change that these sinners and godless people must undergo in order for them to be acceptable before God is not a change of essence, but a change of character.  If they want to dwell before God, they must live in a way that is acceptable before God.  What separates humanity from God is not that we are finite and he is infinite, that we are visible and he is invisible, what separates us is the fact that he is holy and we are unholy.  The two cannot mingle, unholiness cannot come in contact with holiness.  This was the lesson Isaiah himself learnt when he was confronted with God, he was unholy and from an unholy people and he could not stand before God as a sinner.

So what character changes must these people make?
Firstly, one must walk righteously.  To walk righteously means to live a life characterised by righteous behaviour.  Psalm 119 gives a great depiction of what it means to walk righteously, it means to walk in the law of the Lord, it means to treasure God’s law and keep it day and night.  Ultimately it is to embrace God’s law in every aspect of your life.  If you want to dwell before God your life must reflect the law.

Secondly, God requires that you speak uprightly.  Your mouth must speak truth at all times, never let falsehoods come from your mouth.  Your tongue must speak in purity.  Gossip must be far from your lips.  When you hear of a rumour at church it must stop in your mouth, you shall not pass it on to another.  Jesus said, let your yes be yes and your no be no.  Whatever you say you must be truthful to.

Thirdly, you must despise gain of oppressions.  Literally it means to make financial gain in any way that is unrighteous.  For the Israelites it was doing things like moving border stones or markers in order to gain, or gathering to the edge of the fields and leaving nothing for the widow.  For us it is more like taking some cash out of the till at work.  Or lying about the details of your insurance claim in order to get just a little bit more.  Or maybe its lying about what the retail property is in order to close a sale.  There are a myriad of ways we do this, but ultimately it means we must be content in what God has given us and not try to ‘get ahead’ by wrong ways.

Fourthly, you must despise bribes.  This naturally follows along from the last one, but you must hate bribes so much that you perpetually shake your hands in order to ensure that if one falls into your hand you instantly drop it again!  You may say, well I never accept bribes, what if a boss asked you to just lie about something, and he would increase your salary by 20%?  It is the same thing, you cannot be accepting bribes if you want to stand before God.

Fifthly, you must despise violence.  He who stops his ears from hearing bloodshed.  Instead of celebrating or even entertaining any idea of violence we must stop up our ears and take no part in it what so ever.

Sixthly, you must close your eyes to all evil.  This does not mean close your eyes and let it happen, but close your eyes to any involvement in evil.  Literally it means that we must close our eyes to every bit of evil and bad going on, we will have nothing to do with it, we will hate it so much that we will not even want to see it present.

If you want to stand before God, ultimately you must obey the law constantly and abhor sin constantly in your life.  You must live in perfect righteousness before God, only then can you dare to assume that you can stand before God.  And let me remind you that if you break one part of the law you break the whole law (James 2:10), so if you want to stand before God you must keep ALL of it.

Now that we know what we must do in order to stand before God, our next question is who keeps the requirement?  Let us be honest, none of us, no not one, can consider any aspect of the law and believe we have kept it perfectly.  If God’s requirement is for us to keep the entirety of his law, then we should be filled with utter despair.  Because none of us can stand before him, none of us can dwell with him, none of us can have a relationship with him.  But here is the purpose of the law that we must recognise.  One of the uses of the law is that it points us to our need.  We are desperately in need, the Israelites were desperately in need, because we cannot and they could not keep the law perfectly.  So what do we need in order to stand before God?  We need someone to obey the law for us! And what did Jesus do when he came to earth?  He obeyed the law perfectly.  And what do we get when we put our faith in him?  His righteousness imputed to us.

So how can we stand before God?  We can stand before God by putting on the righteousness of Christ in faith.  We can boldly approach the throne of grace in our time of need.  We can come to this same God that these sinners and godless people were so terrified of and stand before him.  Not by our own righteousness, because we have none but by the righteousness of Christ.  You see, God, knowing that we could not keep the law, sent his son down to keep the law for us, when he died Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteous life.  So that we can stand before him, not on our own merits, but on the merits of our saviour.

So what are we to do now that the requirement is kept and we can stand before God?  We are called to live our life in accordance with the very thing that brought hopelessness before.  Without Christ we are utterly hopeless for we see the law and it is a burden, it only brings death.  Not because God’s law is powerless, but because we are powerless to keep it.  However, once our faith has been put in Christ, and his righteousness has been imputed to us, the law of God becomes a thing of beauty to us, we begin to see it in the light that the Psalmist did in Psalm 119.  It becomes our treasure and a fine possession.  Not because by using it we can somehow become more fitting before God, but because the law gives us a way to show our thankfulness to God.  If God has already opened the way for us to stand before him with out fear, if he has made us righteous in his site already, then we have no reason to keep the law except in thankfulness.  We should be so thankful that we want to obey the law, out of love to our great provider.

Let me ask you, who can dwell with the consuming fire?  Who can dwell with the everlasting burnings?  Who can stand before God?  You can!  I can!  Not through works of the law, for that only brings death.  But by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, for he has provided you with a righteousness that you could not obtain yourself.  So, brothers and sisters, stand, stand, STAND before the living God, clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  And go forth and live out your life in obedience out of thankfulness for all that he has done.

God’s People are in Need

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

(2 Chronicles 7:13–14, ESV)

The people of God have a need.  The people who are called by his name have a great need.  In fact His people have the greatest need that any people have ever had before.  These people are facing God’s righteous and just punishment.  They are facing locusts, pestilence, and even the very sky has closed its doors to them.  What a dreadful thing to be faced with the wrath of God.  To have God’s righteous judgements poured out upon you.  These people have rebelled against God, they have set up false idols, have turned aside to the God’s of the nations.  They have turned and rejected him as God and king.  Who are they?  Is it Israel? Is it America?  Is it New Zealand?  No.  It is those who are called by his name.  It was Israel yes, but now it is so much more then a nation, it is every single person who God has set his love upon before the foundations of the earth were laid (Eph. 1:4).  It is you, it is me, it is  all those out there in the world who have not heard the Gospel whom God has predestined to save.  And all of them, ALL OF THEM, have the greatest need.  They need God’s forgiveness and healing.

Some of them have not heard about the Lord yet.  They live in sin, day in and day out, with no hope.  They wander about in their life serving themselves and worshiping the things of this world instead of the one true God.

Some of them have seen the great light but have closed their eyes.  They don’t want to believe it, they want to worship their god’s, they want to serve themselves.

Some have experienced the taste of the gospel but have become lost, wondering in the desert, trying to find somewhere to rest their head.  Meanwhile their first love waits crying out ‘return to me and drink!’

Some believe and have had their needs filled, his name is firmly placed upon them, yet they have looked away from their Lord and feel as though the one who brings forgiveness and healing has gone.

Finally some believe and look continually upon the face of their Lord and come to him for their nourishment, for their healing and for their forgiveness.  Yet they recognize that not a day goes by that they don’t need God’s forgiveness and healing.  For as John says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)

Regardless of who you are and where you come from you have the very same need, you need the one who has placed his name upon you.  For the one who chose you before the foundation of the earth has placed his seal upon you.  His hand may rest heavily upon you in judgement, or it may not, but still you need his forgiveness and healing.

We have a great need, but we have a greater God, who has made available everything so that our needs may be met.  For he has said that “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  So the question for us then is, where must we go? And how must we go?

Where must we go to get this great need met?  God promised Solomon that if the people would turn to him humbly in prayer, seeking and repentance that he would forgive them and heal their land.  How did the Israelites go to God?  The Israelites had to go to the temple, it was the place where God said he would dwell and in verse 15 he tells us that he would open his ears and eyes to the prayers made in that place.  The Israelites must come to the place where God would dwell, the place where the representatives of God would mediate on his behalf, the place where sacrifices for atonement would be made.  And where are the people of God to turn now, the very same place!  But not the temple made with hands, for we

Have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:20–22, ESV)

We do not come to the physical temple any longer. We come to Christ, the ever lasting temple, for what did the temple and all its sacrifices do, but point to Christ?  The sacrificial system had no power in itself,  as Hebrews 10 tells us, “every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins”.  So where do we go for our needs to be met?  We go to the same temple that ultimately the Israelites went to, Christ, the Great High Priest who would offer the one atoning sacrifice for the sins of all God’s people and bring healing from all the punishments of God.

Since we know where we must go, the question remaining is how must we go?  The text tells us that we must go to him in humility by prayer, seeking and repentance.  When God says to Solomon, “those who humble themselves”, he is not saying a separate command from those of prayer, seeking and repentance.  But rather this is the overarching attitude that his people must have when they come to him.  No one can come to God in pride and expect a hearing, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).  Hear that?  He gives grace to the humble!  Is that not what we started out by saying was our greatest need?  Forgiveness and healing?  It is through grace!  An attitude of humility is essential and it completely embraces all three ways that we must go to him, like the shell of a clam encloses the pearl, so must humility enclose all our actions as we go to Christ to get our needs met, we must go in humility by prayer, seeking and repentance.

We must humbly pray.  This humble crying out to God in prayer is seen in 2 Chronicles 13, Abijah and the people of Judah were surrounded by Jeroboam and it says, they cried to the LORD, and the priests blew the trumpets.  Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.  The people in need cried out to God, he heard them and defeated Jeroboam.  Judah didn’t defeat Jeroboam GOD did!  God intervened for his people and saved them from the enemy when they cried out to him.  Does he not do the same for us?  When we come to him in need of forgiveness and healing from punishment, when the enemy cries out against us SINNER, UNWORTHY, does Christ not answer?  He surely does!  If we cry out to him for deliverance in humility by prayer he will answer our prayer and give us the forgiveness and healing we so desperately need.  And shut the mouth of the enemy for good!

We must humbly seek his face.  God will give us what we need. However, we must seek him, for what does Christ say, seek and you shall find!  Listen to what God declared to King Asa, Judah and Benjamin,  “If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” And see the outcome, “For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.” (2 Chronicles 15:2–4)  They sought, and he made himself known to them, he met them in their need and brought them what they sought, a covenantal relationship with the one true God.  You see, those who are not God’s people do not seek him.  Paul tells us in Romans 3:11 that no one understands and no one seeks God.  It is only those whom God places his name upon that seek him.  If you are in need of forgiveness and healing – and who can say that they are not – then seek God for he will be found!

We must humbly repent, or in the words of our text, turn from our wicked ways.  When you think of repentance what comes to mind?  Saying sorry?  Stopping doing what your doing?  Literally the word in Hebrew means to turn from one thing to another.  It doesn’t mean to sin and then feel bad about it, while sinning again.  It is not like the dog who returns to its vomit.  But rather it is the concept of a person who does an about face, turns 180 degrees and walks in a different direction.  In Paul’s language it is taking off the old self and putting on the new self.  It is so important to God that it must accompany praying and seeking.  God’s people do not ask for forgiveness and then just keep living in sin.  God seeks people who come for forgiveness and turn from their wicked ways.  It is so important that Christ says, “Unless you repent , you will perish.” (Luke 13:3, my own emphasis)  It is for this reason that God sent his prophets to call back his people to repentance (2 Chronicles 24:29).  You see, ultimately the sign of forgiveness and healing is that our life will be changed; that we will be different then the world because repentance has come. Remember that in Revelation 16 the people who were being punished for their sin were those who did not repent and give God glory.

Now that we know where must go and how we must go, allow the Apostle Paul to ask you a question.  If all of God’s people need forgiveness and healing, and if all of them must go to Christ, and if all of them must come to him in humility by praying, seeking and repenting.  “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14–15)  People of God, we do not know who God has called from before the foundations of the earth, we do not know who there is in our town, workplace, family, sports club and life that is waiting for their need to be met.  God has given you life, he has met your need, now go forth and bring that amazing promise to all men, women and children.  Share the gospel with all you meet, because God may use you this very day to meet someone’s need.  Go out and declare to all people that there is a God who has sent his Son so that all his people may have forgiveness and healing, all they must do is come.