In her classic rendition of the Biblical narrative, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd Jones informs us that Leah was “the girl no one wanted.” Of course she was…after all, she was (sort of) the mother of the God no one wanted! We can trace the bloodline from Eve to the promised head-crushing Seed through Leah, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Solomon…until we arrive at King Jesus (see Matt 1).

In 1 Samuel, a time when the nation of Israel resided only under priestly and prophetic authority, the people demanded of God, “Give us a king!” To which Samuel replied, “But you have God…you don’t need a king.” And of course, the people weren’t satisfied: “He’s not enough!…We want a king like everyone else!”

This is the same heart-cry that would years later demand, “We have no King but Caesar…give us Barabbas…You can keep your carpenter for all we care!” And ultimately, this goes all the way back to the garden when we reasoned, “God? In all his resplendent, radiant glory? No work? No curse? No burden? No self-preservation? Nah….I’ll take an apple instead….”
Bottom line….we would rather have a Law to keep than all-sufficient grace to receive… Jacob would rather work 14 years than be given ‘the ugly chick’ (Genesis 29).

And we’re apt to say something like this: “Genesis 29 says it didn’t seem like work to Jacob because he loved Rachel…therefore, when we love God, obedience is not drudgery, but a joy.” Is that good news? It may be true sometimes… If we consider 1 John 5:3-5, we could say, “God gives us the power to love Him and therefore it’s not burdensome…”

But I think there’s a better word: God gives us the record of the One for whom obedience was pure delight even when it was painful…we’ve been credited with the righteousness of the One for whom obedience was so much a joy that he would gladly choose even the death of the cross in pursuit of God as his highest joy. That’s your identity when you’re stuck in the snare of your most commonly “besetting” sin.

But doesn’t Scripture say, “God will not tempt you beyond what you can bear…and will, with the temptation, make a way for you to escape”? If we consider the context though, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is saying that the temptation will overtake you (cf. 2 Cor 1:8), so that after you ‘die’ under the law’s impossibly weighty demand, God will give you the grace of the One who faced every temptation you face ‘yet without sin’. What this passage is saying is that temptation can never end in condemnation… The ‘way of escape’ is Jesus…and you have fled to find refuge in Him!