Monday, January 18, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - January 18 - "Behold, It Was Leah!"

It is hard to suppress a grin at the exclamation in Genesis 29:25, "Behold, it was Leah!" The conniving Jacob met his match in his shady uncle Laban, who perpetrated the classic "bait and switch." At the end of the marriage feast for Jacob and Rachel, Laban gave an apparently inebriated Jacob his older daughter Leah rather than Rachel (who was "beautiful in form and appearance," verse 17). We can probably infer that Leah was not as attractive as her younger sister, and Jacob was upset that such a deception was the way he was repaid for seven years of hard work. He went to bed expecting to be with Rachel, but soon realized his new wife wasn't what he was expecting.

The NT portion of today's reading is Mark 11, the "Triumphal Entry." In some ways, the people's reaction to Jesus that final week mirrored Jacob's experience in Genesis 29. They saw Jesus come into the city, they believed that He represented "the coming kingdom of our father David" (11:9), and they shouted "Hosannas" to welcome Him into the city.

But just a few days later, popular sentiment shifted wildly. It is almost as if one night the people went to bed thinking they had their Messiah, only to awaken to discover they had been misled. Their trusted leaders, the chief priests and scribes, insisted that this man was a phony, a pretender, a false prophet who threatened to destroy the temple. So the people reacted as any good Jew should. Instead of shouting Hosannas, they cried out, "Crucify him!"

Both accounts involve deception (Laban's lie and the false witnesses of the chief priests and scribes). Both involve an innocent victim (Leah, who surely becomes a victim in this sad love triangle, and Jesus). Both involve mistaken identity. And both stories describe the vindication of the innocent, as the Lord opens Leah's womb and Jesus' tomb.

It is hard to be sympathetic to Jacob, who reaped what he sowed in his own disingenuous dealings with his father. It is much easier to sympathize with the Jewish people who were manipulated by the leaders (although they were still accountable). But most of all it is crucial for us to make sure we see Jesus for who He truly is, not for who we think He ought to be. To fail to know the true Christ is to face a truly rude awakening.

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