It's been a while since I engaged with the Scriptures through one of my favorite practices: listening to the audio and painting images that come to mind. And today I decided to that however unorthodox it may be to watercolor in bed.
I was reminded of Leah in today's reading.
"If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.
He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father's strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him."
Leah was the unloved wife of Jacob who birthed him many sons. God blessed her with children, and blessed her also by putting this expectation on Israel. She will not be forgotten, her children will not be forgotten. She matters.
And not only that, I was struck with the thought that though Jacob might have wanted to deny Leah's sons their rights due to his feelings for Leah...it was Leah's son Judah who became the great-great-great-I-don't-know-how-many-greats-great grandfather of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the son of Israel's unloved wife.
Allow that to sink in. It's true on so many levels.
It's true that Jacob (also later named Israel) might have rejected his son Judah, the son of his unloved wife, Leah.
And it's true, we see in Scripture, that Israel (the nation named after their father Jacob) rejects Jesus.
And in both cases, God asks Israel to despite their own heart issues, their own intolerances, their own discomfort...to give His Son what He deserves. In the case of Leah's firstborn, he deserves his birthright. In the case of Jesus, he deserves our lives.
Jesus rocks. He gives us absolutely everything. Absolutely everything.
His very breath.
And I know within my own heart there are so many things that bump up against this...but it is right and good and sensible and desperately needed for me to hand over my absolute everything to Him. I've seen other churches bring flowers from home on Easter Sunday and decorate the cross all colorfully and wildly. I've never done it but I want to do it.
Easter is the day Jesus took the most awful thing and made it the most lovely thing. The idea that a cross could be lovely is outrageous...but it's so, so true.
He sacrificed everything, so that all my everything, my ugliness, pain, sin, filth could all be lovely.
God makes Leah, the unloved wife
Judah, the least favorite son
Israel, the unfaithful people
me, the insecure sinner
Jesus, the killed King
all brimming with hope and breath.
He makes us all lovely.