I hate to burst your bubble, but our Father always seems to pick the least valuable; the least respectable; the least esteemed individuals, yet, He is also able to turn them into great treasures.
Think about Jesus. According to Isaiah, He had “no appearance that we should desire him, ” and He was “despised and rejected” by people, “like one from whom people turn their faces, and didn’t consider him to be worth anything.” Yet, people are still drawn to Him and love Him with all their hearts. For us, He is amazing!
“He took upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we believed that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him.”
But no! It was our rebellious behavior and attitudes that cause His wounds. It was our sins that caused Him to be crushed. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we were healed from his wounds. No, I don’t know why. I know me (and, not to be too blunt, I know some of you) and there is nothing attractive and loving about us. Sometimes we can be rude, impatient, unthinking, and ungrateful. Yet, despite all of our weaknesses and failings, He saw something worth saving.
We have been like sheep who wandered off and got lost. We did our own thing, gone our own way. Yet, Yahweh has piled all of our sins, everything we have done wrong, on Jesus.
He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.
Still, it is what Yahweh had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he would give Himself as an offering for our sin so that he would see life come from it. And Yahweh’s plan will prosper through his sacrifice. (see Isaiah 53:1-10)
Think of David, he was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, and David was well aware of his standing the eyes of his family. There was a time when the prophet of God came to visit and David wasn’t even invited to come. Not only that, his father never referred to him by name, but simply as “the youngest.” When Saul offered his oldest daughter to him, David was embarassed and said,“Do you really mean that? I’m from a family of nobodies! I can’t be son-in-law to the king.”
Then, we have Leah. She was the woman Leban tricked Jacob into marrying. She was unloved, her eyes were weak, in fact, there was nothing in her outer beauty that would draw people to her. In fact, She was so worthless; her dad had to trick someone into marrying her! How do you think that made her feel?
After Jacob laid with Leah for one week, he took her younger sister as his wife. Oh, dear God. How uncaring and thoughtless Jacob was. Imagine how Leah must have felt to have her husband for one week and then have him snatched away by her younger sister!
Then, we read a very important dynamic in this marriage: “He (Jacob) loved Rachel more than Leah.” See that? Leah knew that she was the unloved wife. Yet, despite all that, she is a perfect representation of our Messiah. We aren’t drawn to Him because He is so strong and virile. Despite the movies showing us Diogo Morgado and Jeffery Hunter, Jesus wasn’t a foxy six-foot hunk. No, as Eugene Peterson wrote, “There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.”
But Leah’s story is a perfect illustration that it is not our external beauty but rather God’s internal blessing that brings true and lasting fulfillment in our lives! Jesus said in His hillside sermon, “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them” (Matthew 5:3). The Lord’s love is for the unloved, and His grace is for the rejected. Those in this position truly understand that apart from Him, they can do nothing (John 15:5).
When we stop and seriously think about ourselves, we have to acknowledge that we are poor in spirit. We don’t have anything worthwhile to anyone. Not on our own. If you do, then I apologize and tip my hat to you. But, to be honest, most of have, nothing worthwhile to offer.
Jesus goes against the grain of all human judgment. As Paul pointed out to the Christians in Corinth, “God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish” It is the poor, not the rich who receive His kingdom; the feeble, not the mighty; the unloved, not those who are in “high society.”
Yes, His strength is made perfect in weakness. But this is so we can prove that His Grace is sufficient. When we recognize our unloved weaknesses and choose to depend on His grace, our Father will use us to be the witness of His everlasting love.
Many believers can feel unqualified to witness effectively. For instance, Paul was quite proficient in Torah, in the Hebrew language and in the theology of the rabbis. But, even with all those credentials, he was spiritually blind. It was only after he was thrown from his “high horse” and physically blinded that he could gain spiritual sight. He could see that the crucified one, was the victor. He was the one who overcame death, and one day will redeem us.
This is why Paul was unashamed to preach the Good News! He knew our Salvation and our Redemption will never be found in all the qualifications or education that this world can offer, but only in the Good News of our Messiah.
Like Paul, our main ability to effectively witness to the Jewish people is not in our strength, or in our prosperity or our status in the world. It is only through the grace that Yahweh provides.
Paul had to become like Leah if he was to be used by God. And, sometimes He has to make the high places low, for He still chooses the weak and unloved as witnesses of His love and power to all with ears to hear.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.