Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Favored by God

Seeing as God Sees

"Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." Genesis 29:17

When Jacob went to his mother's kin to find a wife, he fell in love with Rachel.  Scripture indicates that this was because Rachel was more beautiful in her appearance than her older sister Leah. 

As it turns out, Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban into marrying both Leah & Rachel.  God then notices that - in Jacob's eyes - Leah was hated and Rachel was loved (Genesis 29:30-31).

Jacob placed more value on that which was outwardly pleasing and attractive.  It soon becomes apparent however, that Rachel's outer beauty only went so deep.
  • Leah desired to have children in order to win the love of her husband; but Rachel was motivated by spite and a desire to prevail over her sister in all things (Genesis 30:8).
  • Rachel was self-centered and lacked compassion; wanting everything for herself - even taking from others who did not have as much (Genesis 30:14-15).
  • Rachel was covetous.  Although she prayed desperately to God about the barrenness of her womb, when He gave her a son, she was not satisfied.  Instead, she immediately focused on her desire for another son (Genesis 30:23-24).  It is this desire which eventually consumed her, as she died giving birth to her second son.
  • Rachel was a thief and an idolator.  Even after having seen what God had done in her husband's life, she still stole her father's graven images when they departed from him (Genesis 31:19).
  • Rachel was a liar.  She lied to her father about the stolen idols in order to hide the fact that she had taken them (Genesis 31:34-35).
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Man often judges by outward appearance, and as a result, misses that which is most precious to God - a humble spirit.  Such was the same for Jacob.

Yet, something strange happens.  When Jacob makes an arrangement with his uncle Laban for his wages, Jacob agrees to take the cattle whose appearance is less desirable/valuable.  He offers that which looks most pleasing to his uncle and consents to take that which is physically marred for himself.

"I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire." Genesis 30:32

In order to trick Jacob once again, Laban gives the visibly marred cattle to his sons and places them 3 days journey ahead of Jacob.  This way, Jacob was only left with cattle which had no visible defects, for Laban assumed this would greatly decrease the odds of Jacob producing marred offspring.

Surprisingly, as they conceived, the unmarred cattle began to bring forth speckled and spotted offspring.  In this way, God overturned the fortune with which He had blessed Laban and gave those riches to Jacob.  When Jacob later reveals to his wives God's providence in this area, he says:

"And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee."  Genesis 31:10-12

In this vision, Jacob was able to see that all of the rams which mated with the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled.  Yet, we know from the previous text that all the marred cattle had been far removed from Jacob and given to Laban's sons.  The only cattle which remained in Jacob's possession were those which were not physically marred.

"...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." I Samuel 16:7b

Although man may judge by outward signs, God sees the heart. While someone may look attractive, righteous, and unblemished on the outside, God sees the spirit of a man.

Just like those cattle - whether we appear visibly marred or not - we all stand before God with blemishes and imperfections.  This may make us undesirable to men, but it is such persons which the Father seeks.  His favor rests upon those who do not try to hide nor justify their shortcomings, but who openly acknowledge their faults and cry out for mercy (Matthew 9:10-13; Luke 18:13-14). 

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." I Corinthians 1:27-29

An inability to see through God's eyes can blind us to the things of God; to His ways and to His people.  Such can lead us to embrace as brothers & sisters those who are not, seek favor from those who are against us, or reject those whom God is calling.

And so we see that it was no strange thing why Jacob - who had proven to judge by appearances - would suddenly choose that which was apparently less beautiful.  God was teaching Jacob to see with spiritual eyes and not to rely on his own understanding.  He was revealing to Jacob that is not by power nor by might, but by God's Spirit that His words come to pass (Deuteronomy 8:17; Zechariah 4:6).

Like Jacob, God also needs to teach us how to "see".  We cannot afford to know any man after the flesh. No matter the connivings and contrivances of man, God always works things out according to His own plan; if only we would trust Him (Genesis 30:33).  He opens and He shuts.  He removes and He restores.  He casts down and lifts up.  If we cannot see His hand at work - in our lives and the lives of others - then how can we ever hope to be vessels fit for His use?

Don't settle for a carnal view of life, judging situations and people solely by external attributes and outward manifestations.  Rather judge righteous judgment, seeking God for spiritual eyes to see as He does.  This way, you will not honor that which God despises nor shun that which He honors. 


  1. This is so true. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Your last sentence was quite sobering, we have to be careful not to honor what God despises and dishonor that which He loves, this is serious!!This teaches us how much we must trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Thank you for another blessed article. God Bless you and your family.

  2. Hi Rosaline,

    God has actually had me on Genesis Chapter 30 (and there abouts) for the past 4 weeks! LOL There is just so much you can get from God's word; it is really a living word.

    Stay strong in the Lord!


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