Pearls of Great Price?
What is most important to you? Have you ever saved up for something, finally bought it and then when you brought it home discovered it was very different to what you thought was promised. The pearl of great price wasn’t a pearl after all. It was a waste of time and money.
Jacob, Rachel and Leah
That happened to Jacob. He had fallen in love with Rachel and he had agreed with Rachel’s father Laban to work for seven years to have her hand in marriage. But when the seven years were up Laban tricked him and gave him the older sister Leah instead. In Jacob’s mind the pearl he was seeking was Rachel. He hadn’t minded working seven years for her because he loved her so much, but he was angry when he discovered Laban’s deceit. Despite encountering the Living God of his father and Grandfather at Bethel, his sole focus so it seems for the next fourteen years was to win Rachel.
Our attention must now go to Leah. Imagine that day when she wakes up with her new husband, and instead of tenderness she is met with horror as her husband realises he has the wrong woman. For the next few years her desired pearl is trying to earn her husband’s love. She has three sons and when each one is born she thinks that now her husband will love her. But by the fourth one something shifts in Leah. She now says “This time I will praise the Lord” Genesis 29:39. Leah has moved, even partially, from having a desired pearl as her husband’s love, to realising that the only true pearl of great price is the Lord. Despite her husband’s continuing lack of regard even hatred for her, the Lord had cared for her. There was something more important than her husband’s love and that was the love of the Lord. She called her new born son, Judah which means praise. The Lord was faithful to Leah. We know now that one day from her new born son she named Judah would come David, and from David the coming Messiah.
Distracted by lesser Pearls
Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price that a certain person sells everything to gain. We can learn from the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. Each one of them desired something with passion other than the Kingdom of God, other than the Lord. But when we place our complete hope in something or someone else we know that one day the object of our desire will be separated from us. Jacob lost Rachel in childbirth with her second son. The very thing that Rachel was fixated upon in having children in competition to Leah, ending up causing her death. Leah did not gain her husband’s love.
Nothing can separate us from God’s love
However because of all that Christ has done upon the cross our passage from Romans promises something quite incredible. We are promised that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. The love of God in our lives and our communities is the heartbeart of the Kingdom of God. This is the pearl of great price. We cannot earn it. It has already been paid for. Our part is to wake up like Leah woke up, and realise the incredible compassion and never ending love that God has for us.
Though it costs nothing it demands that we surrender all to receive it. Although we may try to find love and purpose in other places they will one day fail. But nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us praise the Lord as Leah praised him.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for the incredible gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank you that on the cross he became nothing that we might be full. Upon that cross he cried out “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me”. As he took sin upon himself he was cut off from you, so that all who believe might have your love poured into their hearts through the Holy Spirit. Thank you that nothing can separate us now from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. By your grace help us lay down everyone and everything that we have placed as pearls and idols in our lives. And may we seek first your Kingdom, pearl of Great Price trusting that everything else will be added unto us.