Here’s something you should know about God: He likes upside-down things.
Sometimes He does what doesn’t make sense to us or it’s the exact opposite of what we expect or want. This was the case with two sisters, Leah and Rachel, who were both married to Jacob. Now, Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. God had picked Jacob to continue the family that would lead to His promised One, but Jacob had two wives, so which one of them would God use to continue His chosen family?
Leah was not a pretty girl. Jacob didn’t even want her for a wife. He was tricked into marrying her. Rachel, on the other hand, was so beautiful, like a princess, and Jacob loved her with all his heart. If you and I were to guess which one God would choose to continue the family of His Rescuer, wouldn’t we pick Rachel? Wouldn’t we look at the two sisters and decide with our eyes that she was the best?
Ah, but like we said earlier, God sometimes does upside-down things. God didn’t make His decision based on shiny hair, fashionable clothes, and long, lovely eyelashes. God chose Leah, the girl who looked ugly and lonely and unloved to everyone else. God was showing us through Leah a little what our Rescuer was going to be like.
The people of God had been on the lookout for their Rescuer for a really long time, but they had always expected someone like Rachel. They thought the Rescuer would be the best and look the best. Maybe He would be born in a giant stone palace with lots of servants, fancy robes, and sparkling jeweled crowns. Maybe He would have a strong, tall body and a handsome face. Surely His enemies would take one look at him and scream like little girls and hide in the haystacks. The people of God thought they would be able to look with their eyes and know, This must be Him! He is the One who will save us!
But God’s Rescuer wasn’t like Rachel. He was like Leah. Jesus was a son in a poor carpenter’s family. He was born in a stable, surrounded by stinky animals. His clothes were stained with dirt and filled with little holes. Outsiders would kick dust at His town as they passed by it. Nothing about how He looked or where He came from was important in any way, but God likes upside-down things. And His Son, Jesus, though not special to human eyes, was perfect in God’s eyes. Jesus would come in a way that no one expected, in a way that no one would have planned so that He could flip the world upside down.
Moses killed a man, lived out in the desert, and was not a great speaker. God chose him to rise up against Pharaoh and then lead the Israelites for 40 years. David, the youngest of eight sons, was a shepherd boy. God chose him to defeat Goliath and be king of Israel. Peter was a simple fisherman. God chose him to be an apostle, share the gospel, and write several letters that became part of our Bible. Paul killed people before Jesus saved Him. God chose him to be the main person to take the gospel out beyond the nation of Israel.
When people who seem unimportant in the eyes of the world do mighty things, God is seen as strong. When David, a young shepherd, defeated the giant Goliath, the people didn’t look at David and think, Wow. He was so strong! Instead they looked at God and thought, Wow! You are so strong! You used this little guy to defeat a great enemy! You must be powerful!
* Corresponding Jesus Storybook Bible story: "The Girl No One Wanted"