The Woman With Weak Eyes
The Woman With Weak Eyes
A lady was walking down the street on her way to work & saw a parrot in a pet store. She went in to admire the bird, and suddenly the parrot spoke to her, “Hey lady. You’re ugly.” Well, the woman was deeply offended, and she stormed out of the store. But on her way home, she thought she’d been a bit rash, and so she stopped into the store again. But the same parrot saw her and said, “Hey lady, you are REALLY ugly.” She could hardly speak and rushed out of the store to go home.
But the next day she stormed back into the store and the parrot once again said, “Hey lady, you are SO ugly.” She was so furious that she went to the owner and threatened to sue the store. The owner was apologetic… and he promised the bird wouldn’t say it again.
A week later she went to the store again and the parrot spoke again: “Hey, lady!” She paused and glared at the bird: “Yes?” And the bird said… “You know.”
We’ve all heard the saying – “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” AND IT IS! Different cultures have different ways of seeing beauty.
For example: In many western cultures (like the U.S.) TANNED SKIN is seen as a sign of great beauty. To achieve this… women and men will use tanning beds, tanning enhancers, fake tans, and bronzers.
But, in many Asian countries - LIGHTER SKIN is more desirable. Pale skin is seen as a sign of beauty, youth and wealth. To achieve this, many women will apply sunscreen religiously, use skin lightening creams, and wear large sun hats, or special visors
THEN THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO TAKE BEAUTY ONE STEP FURTHER.
In Japan, women will go to orthodontists to have extensive work done on their teeth to make their teeth look more crooked and uneven. This is considered attractive… because it is supposed to make the women appear more approachable.
In South Korea, the current rage is to undergo plastic surgery to make one’s face appear more heart shaped. The procedure involves breaking the jaw bone into 3 parts, removing the middle part, and fusing the other two together to create a pointed chin.
Beauty is literally in the EYE of the beholder. But in the days of Jacob and Rachel and Leah, beauty was quite literally… in the eyes. We’re told in Genesis 29:17 that “Leah’s EYES were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.”
None of the commentaries I read could explain what it meant that Leah’s eyes were “weak” but most agreed it WASN’T considered a trait of beauty by the people of that day. As one person noted, her eyes made Leah unnoticed, unwanted & unloved… and unmarried.
You see, Jacob didn’t want to marry Leah… and apparently no one else did either. One person said that - Leah was one of Laban’s big problems. If she didn’t get married HE would have take care of her forever, and he didn’t want to do that.
It would cost him to keep her… and she was NOT an asset. She remained unwanted and unmarried by everyone. But then Jacob showed up and Laban decided to kill 2 birds with one stone – He could get richer (because of Jacob’s free labor) and, (if he worked it right) he could get rid of Leah in the bargain.
It wasn’t right or fair to Jacob… and it was not right or fair to Leah.
Imagine being unwanted and unloved. Even your father thinks you are a burden. And now Leah’s competing for the love of her husband… with her sister, and she’s NEVER going to win that competition. IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!
But then… then… God steps in. Genesis 29:31 tells us “When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb…” and she had four sons.
REUBEN was her 1st: Reuben means “behold, a son”. And she thinks “Surely my husband will love me now” (Genesis 29:32) But he doesn’t!
Soon after, she has a 2nd son – SIMEON meaning “One who hears” thinking “Because the Lord heard that I was not loved he gave me this one too.” (Genesis 29:33)
As if two sons were not enough, she has 3rd boy–LEVI which means “attached.” And she thinks now at least “my husband will become attached to me, because I have born him three sons.” (Genesis 29:34)
And then she has her 4th son – JUDAH – which means “Praise”… and she simply says “I will praise the Lord.” (Genesis 39:35)
What I find interesting about these 4 boys… is that they represent the conflict inside of Leah. The 1st & 3rd sons (Reuben and Levi) reflected her burning desire for her husband, but the 2nd the 4th sons (Simeon and Judah) she doesn’t mention her husband. These boy’s names talk about her faith in God.
Simeon meant “ONE WHO HEARS” (God HEARD her), and
Judah meant “PRAISE” and she declared “I will praise the Lord. You see… Leah was a woman of faith. Even in her unhappiness and despair she had her EYES on God. AND GOD REWARDED HER. He didn’t just reward her with sons… He rewarded her a heritage. Her boys became pivotal in God’s plan for Israel, especially the 3rd and 4th born of her sons.
Levi became the father of tribe of Levi … that’s where Moses & Aaron came from. And the tribe of Levi became the priests who took care of Tabernacle/Temple. The priests of Levi were pivotal to Israel’s worship of God.
Then there was JUDAH – his tribe gave Israel – men like David, Solomon and Hezekiah, and lots of other great Kings of the nation of Israel. (PAUSE) and of course – JUDAH was the tribe from which Jesus was born.
I remember the 1st time I realized what God did for Leah with those boys, and I thought to myself - God used an unwanted and unlovely girl to give Israel it’s most important sons. Leah was given sons, and the tribes of those sons gave Israel its greatest leaders… and ultimately, OUR greatest SAVIOR… Jesus!
But let’s go back to how ugly Leah was. She was unnoticed, unwanted and unloved, AND UNMARRIED… until Jacob came along. And even HE didn’t really want her. How do you handle that kind of rejection? Well Leah did the right thing.
She turned to God. She looked to God to HEAR her, and she looked to God to GIVE HIM PRAISE. And it was turning to God that changed her life.
ILLUS: A counselor once told a story of being asked for help by a man whose son had just admitted to a mental hospital. Upon visiting the hospital the counselor learned that the boy was expected to be there for several weeks just for observation to discover his problem, and it had cost the family several thousand dollars.
When this counselor spoke with this young man he found that the boy was withdrawn and depressed. In their conversation, the counselor asked the young man a very strange question: “If you had the power to change anything about your appearance, would you do it?” And the boy replied “You bet I would. I’d change my face.”
“Your face,” the counselor asked in surprise, “what’s wrong with your face?” - “It’s ugly.”
“It’s ugly? Who told you were ugly?” The boy replied that earlier that year, when he was at school a couple of younger boys came up to him and told him “you’re ugly.” And the young man believed it!
Once he’d discovered that, the counselor led him through a teaching from Scripture on why he should accept what he couldn’t change about himself, and within a week, the boy was changed… and on his way home.
What did that counselor teach that young man? Well, 1st he taught that there’s A Balance of Truth:
YOU and I are… damaged goods. Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” including you and me. BUT Psalm 139:14 explains that YOU are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In fact, the Bible teaches that YOU are made in the image of God.
2nd - God has FORMED us for His purposes: In Psalm 139:16 the Psalmist says “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were FORMED for me, when as yet there was none of them.” And in Isaiah 45:9 it says: “Does the clay say to him who FORMS it, ‘What are you making?’” Everything about you has been FORMED by God, and it’s been formed to give you a purpose and function. Your looks, your physique, your mannerisms - there’s is not a single thing about you that God cannot know about and use for good.
3rd God’s not finished with you yet. Ephesians 2:10 says “We are His workmanship…" He’s still working on us. In Philippians 1:6 says (God) "who BEGAN A GOOD WORK in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God never quits working on you
4th - God has an inward ideal of who you should be like – and that ideal is Jesus. Thus, God forms you and shapes you until you begin to reflect Jesus in your life. Thus, what you & I are on the outside isn’t nearly as important to God as what we are inside.
5th - If necessary God will sacrifice outward beauty to develop inward character. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul prayed 3 times for God to remove a thorn of the flesh from him. But God replied: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore (Paul said) I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
6th - There are certain things about you … that are unchangeable in your life. Your face, your body, your height, your sex - and He can use them to make you special and valuable.
So then, the counselor then led the young man in a prayer of acceptance that changed his life:
• 1. God I want to thank you for my unchangeable traits;
• 2. I especially want to thank you for ... (the traits I’ve not been thankful for);
• 3. God put me back up on your easel and develop in me the inward qualities you desire.
The point is this – when you give yourself to God - it isn’t your physical shortcomings or your disabilities that determines who you are. It’s how much God is allowed to control your life.
ILLUS: Richard Turner once did “card tricks” in front of the magicians known as Penn and Teller.
Turner would do things like cut and shuffle a deck of cards with one hand; Shuffle the deck 6 or 7 times… and then spread the cards out so that all the Spades/Diamonds/Clubs and Hearts were in order (Ace through King).
He was so quick & clever with the cards that Penn & Teller admitted that they (as professional magicians) were unable to determine how he did what he did.
But what was more amazing about Richard Turner was… he was “weak of eyes”. He’d been blind since the age of 9.
RICHARD TURNER commented: “I don’t call myself blind… because I see things in ways other people can’t see. My thumbs and my fingers can feel things that other hands can’t. I now have 10 eyeballs (his fingers).” And then he said: “We all have obstacles. All of us!
You know what I consider the worst disability of all? Procrastination and laziness. Give me blindness over that any day of the week.”
Oh, and did I mention that Mr. TURNER is also has a blackbelt in Karate? He said hadn’t missed a workout in 45 years. Richard Turner refused to let what he CAN’T do, get in the way of what he CAN.
But has he done this without God? No.
When he was a teenager he got into drugs and other bad decisions, and he says that what turned him around was a magician who became his mentor... and guided him into becoming a Christian.
He was asked: "Richard why do you think you’re here?" He replied: "I don’t think I’m here by accident. I think I’m here by design. I think there’s a creator behind the scenes.
Just like I don’t think the Statue of Liberty created itself, I think there was an engineer behind the creation of that symbol of freedom. And since I’m not here by accident then I’m here by design and it took me a lot of years to get to the point … where my purpose in life is to encourage others and inspire others while in the process blowing their minds."
CLOSE: And that brings us back to Leah. Leah depended upon God to look upon her struggles and help change her life.
She had obstacles no other woman like her could have overcome. But God gave her her children… and it was the children He gave her that brought honor to her name.
God’s grace was sufficient in her life because His power was made perfect in her weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Overall, this verse encourages believers to trust in God's grace and find strength in Him, even in times of weakness or difficulty.
Where and when we meet
Chardon, Ohio 44024