Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marriage is strengthened by love, not beauty.

A man in the market for a new corvette picked up his paper one Saturday morning and saw an ad he couldn’t believe. A brand new, mint condition Corvette for sale across town for only $100.00. Was it a misprint? He would go have a see anyway. Sure enough, it was a beautiful car in mint condition, hardly been driven. He asked the lady selling if the price was correct. She assured him, “One hundred dollars even, sir.” He hastily wrote his check but as he was about to hand it to her his conscience got the best of him. “You know, you could be selling this car for a lot more than that.” “Oh yes, I know, but my husband recently left me for another woman. The car belongs to him. He asked me to sell it and send him the money.”

When justice is distributed ideally it is often called Poetic Justice.

Jacob was the son of Isaac. He didn’t have a very good relationship with his father. He deceived him, angered his brother Esau and found himself fleeing for his life to an uncle’s house. He approaches a well where several shepherd boys have gathered to water their sheep. He strikes up a conversation with them when a young woman approaches. She is strikingly beautiful and of lovely form. Jacob is stricken. He waters her sheep, kisses her and introduces himself. They are ‘kissin cousins’ because her father, Laban, is Jacob’s uncle.

Laban sees a good, hard worker in Jacob. Jacob sees a prospective wife in Rachael and a rather vague agreement is made in which Jacob will offer seven years of labor for a wife.

Those seven years passed in no time because of Jacob’s great love for Rachael. But, on the much anticipated wedding night, love at first sight turns into shock at morning light! Jacob was likely inebriated with much wine on that celebratory night. The next morning he was shocked to find out that he has consummated with Rachael’s older sister, Leah. The great deceiver was just made victim of a great deception. This is Poetic Justice.

Now Leah was the ‘weak-eyed’ sister. I’m not sure what weak-eyed means but I can just imagine Leah stumbling about the tent with coke bottled glasses on. She may have been very homely, or perhaps it simply means she was one with a gentle spirit. In any case, Jacob was very disappointed and agreed to work another seven years for Rachael, the one he really loved.

Jacob, like so many other men, made a very common mistake when choosing a wife. He allowed his physical appetite to overwhelm his rationality. He prioritized beauty over character. When Rebecca was chosen for Jacob’s father, Isaac, she was chosen because of her character traits. But Jacob was giving character traits no thought.

Leah was the wife unloved. She had four sons to Jacob in hopes that he would finally love her but there is no indication that he ever did. But this we know. Both women grew old. Eventually Rachael’s beauty faded just like every woman’s beauty fades. Age wrinkled her face, the sun leathered her skin and gravity and childbirth took its toll on her physique. The same happened to Leah but Leah had character traits Rachael lacked. Those traits grow more distinct with age. A man who loves a woman for her character will love her more and more as she gets older. A man who loves a woman based on physical traits alone will likely find himself shopping for a new model in his later years.

As I get older I’ve recognized some unpleasant changes when I peer in the mirror. I lost my six-pack long ago. My hair is thinning. My brow is wrinkled. I’ve given up plucking those gray hairs from my eye brows. But true love doesn’t diminish with age, it deepens with age when it’s focus is on the internal character rather than the outward attractiveness.

Jacob may not have loved Leah, but God did. He blessed her. She had twice the number of children Rachel had. Her fourth child she named Judah and it was after his birth she began to look to God to fill the void left in her heart due to a loveless marriage. The Messiah would descend through this child, Judah. Leah, though older, outlived Rachael. Rachael died and was buried on the way to Bethlehem. Leah was buried with her husband, Jacob, in a cave at Machpelah.

Marriages are strengthened by character and love – not beauty. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30

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