Monday, April 10, 2017

Bible babes...and the rest of us

"The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel,"  William Dyce
The Word for today:
Genesis 29.31-30.43
mark this: Genesis 29:31When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless.
I have a feeling that if the Bible were first written today, it would be published with maps and photos and charts--all kinds of illustrations. And (I've got to be careful here) I have a feeling that a certain percentage of the sales would be to men who bought it for the pictures and not for its textual content. (They tell me that the same phenomenon occurs with a certain annual issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.)
That's because, frankly, the Bible is filled with absolutely beautiful women! Let's start with Eve. My Bible-teaching hero, the late great J. Vernon McGee, logically surmised that, since all subsequent female beauty found its genesis in Eve, she must have been an utter doll, a knockout, the quintessential beauty. I know many men who would buy a Bible for a gander at that.
Sarah was so gorgeous that Abraham had to lie about his relationship to her, not once but twice:When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful. (1)
And Isaac was forced to do the same because Rebekah was such a looker:He was afraid that the men there would kill him to get Rebekah, who was very beautiful. (2)
And then we come to Rachel. Of all the women in scripture, only Rachel is described as beautiful of form and face:
Rachel was beautiful in every way, with a lovely face and shapely figure. (3)
But not all biblical women were turning heads wherever they went. There were some who were just average looking, like the rest of us. Think of poor Leah. She was probably reasonably attractive, but nobody noticed when she stood side-by-side with younger sister Rachel.
Jacob, like most males, went googly-eyed over Rachel. He had worked seven years to earn the right to marry Rachel, but on the wedding night, Leah's father substituted Leah for Rachel.
Imagine how Leah must have felt upon seeing the disappointment and anger in Jacob's face the next morning when he discovered the deception. She'd been the other sister all her life, and now she was the less-loved second wife.
But not everyone saw her as second fiddle. When God saw that Leah was not loved, he chose to bless her:When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. (Genesis 29:31)
"When he saw that Leah was not loved and that no one wanted her, God chose her--to love her specially, to give her a very important job. One day, God was going to rescue the whole world--through Leah's family.

Now when Leah knew that God loved her, in her heart, suddenly it didn't matter anymore whether her husband loved her best, or if she was the prettiest, because someone had chosen her, someone loved her with an always and forever love.
So when Leah had a baby boy she called him Judah, which means, "This time I will praise the Lord!"
You see, when God looked at Leah, he saw a princess. And sure enough, that's exactly what she became. One of Leah's children's children's children would be a prince--the Prince of Heaven--God's Son.

This Prince would love God's people. They wouldn't need to be beautiful for him to love them. He would love them with all of his heart. And they would be beautiful because he loved them.
Like Leah."  (4)
(1) Genesis 12:14/MSG; cf. Genesis 20:1-18: (2) Genesis 26:7/GNT; (3) Genesis 29:17/NASB and NLT; (4) excerpted from "The Jesus Storybook Bible," Sally Lloyd-Jones, 2007, Zondervan.

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