SUNDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2017
We can say that Jacob was an example of successful father who had a prosperous family with 12 sons, and then they became the 12 tribes of Israel conquering the land of promises! The life of Jacob was loaded with lot of struggle and amazingly it seemed that he could survive with his own strength and strategy until God led him to go back to his own country and it meant that he must meet Esau, his big brother who want to kill him. God brought Jacob in a very difficult situation so he had no choice except than bow down his head and kneeled down in God’s presence.
Jacob’s life transformed totally at Peniel when he met God and seen Him face to face. At that point of time Jacob received the blessing from God and his name was changed from Jacob to Israel (literally “Prince with God”). He was no longer become the prince by his own strength but he submitted his life to God and become a prince only with God!
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:26-28 NKJV
FROM ZERO TO HUNDREDS
3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 And he commanded them, saying, “Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says: I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favour in your sight.’” Genesis 32:3-5 NKJV
Since earliest time of his life, Jacob already learned from his mom how he can deceive another people to gain something. Rebekah encouraged Jacob to steal the blessing which prepared by his father for Esau and later Jacob found that it brought him into big trouble so he need to flee far away from his family. Starting a new life at the land of Aram, Jacob pushed himself to be a hard worker for 20 years Gen.31:38-42 and he built his wealth so he had lot of cattle and also servants. By his own strategy Jacob had succeeded to grow his only walking stick into two camps of wealth Gn.32:10. Even though Jacob mentioned about God in his prayers for several occasions but we can learn that Jacob still put his hope in his own ability and not in God alone!
As believers, we can find that it is difficult to surrender our problem and our future in God’s hands, specially when we have enough power and ability to solve it by our own ways. Our brain always like to think more and more how we can find the best solution and also get prepared for any possibility which may happen in our life. People may find that this method works and good enough to be used time by time. People can try to find the best job they can find and the highest salary they can achieve, people can try to maximize even expand their saving and investment anywhere, and all of this can be done by their own ability without considering God’s power nor asking His permission! And as a result, people may end up just like what Jacob felt in his life. He felt very tired as a single fighter, consumed with the heat and the cold, and lack of good rest. Jacob totally exhausted because he tried to do everything by his own strength!
As a Christian, we need to always aware that our way of life should be distinguished with another people who have no faith in God! We must not adopt the bad customs from this world Ps.106:35 specially because they never acknowledge God. Christian is not only a religion and only take a place in our life once in a week whenever we are approaching the church or having our devotion time. Christian is about identity and way of life! Instead of building our life with our own strength we are supposed to always submit everything in God’s hand so our success will not be added with any sorrow Pr.10:22 but filled with health, joy, peace, and strength!
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. 9 Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:5-10 NKJV
FROM MY STRENGTH TO HIS STRENGTH
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” 31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Genesis 32:30-31 NKJV
Because God loved Jacob so He led him to go back to his own country. Fortunately, Jacob obeyed God’s voice even though he completely understood that he must face his big brother. Jacob tried to find Esau’s favour by sending messenger to let him know how much wealth he had and ready to share with him. Anyhow Jacob became more perplexed in his heart knowing that Esau already get prepared with 400 peoples! As Jacob became greatly afraid and distressed, he tried another strategy to divide his people into 2 companies so whenever Esau attack the first he still had enough time to run away.
Lot of ideas came into his mind but at last Jacob realized the urgency of prayer time. Jacob was left alone after all of his wealth and families crossed over the river of Jabbok. In that time God visited Jacob and wrestled with him until a breaking of day. Actually, it is quite difficult to have a correct understanding with what happened at that night since the original Hebrew word for wrestling is used only once through all Old Testament. The Hebrew word also could be translated as get dusty, covered with dust.
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Genesis 32:24-26 NKJV
However, as Jacob already afraid and distressed, he tried to wrestle and defeat that Man and he would not give up at all until that Man touched Jacob’s hip so he became limped on his hip. Hip represents the source of people’s strength. With his hip get injured, it will be impossible for Jacob to run away from Esau. Hip dislocation will bring disability and painful feeling. Even with proper modern treatment the recovery will takes 2 to 3 months for the hip to heal after dislocation (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00352). But praise God, because during that moment of wrestling, Jacob can see God face by face and get more blessing even the biggest one that he ever received in his life. He had his name changed in divine purposes and he also got the heavenly blessing!
Real men in God’s eyes is the men who love to pray and put their hope in God alone Jer.17:7! Jacob became real man when he decided to be left alone in that night so he could have personal time with God. Jesus teach us to go into our room, have your door closed and then pray to God Mat.6:6. Specially in this last days when our life become more crowded with all of information, we must learn to be serious and watchful in our prayers 1Pet.4:7. We need to prepare a quality time so God can have a respectful response from us and we can completely honour His presence. God hardly need our time because He want to visit us and bless us. How could God bless our work if we never had a personal time with Him. God is able to break the leg of our strength so we can learn how to submit our life to God Eze.34:16.
God really want to draw our life closer to Him and He could use any situation and condition to attract our attention! We need to be always sensitive and attentive so we always walk in His ways and keep receiving His blessing. God want to let us know that it is not good to waste our time and energy to accomplish our own strategy and idea. Rather than keep thinking and finding the best solution in our own ways, why don’t we dedicate some special moments during our days so we can ‘wrestling’ our problem together with God. We are supposed to be Prince with God and never be prince alone. We are supposed to always experience Immanuel which means that God with us Mat.1:23. We are supposed to keep focus in His strength and not in our own strength.
God is able to transform the heart of Esau. God is more than able to change our enemy. God is more than able to overcome our problem. God is more than able to finish our problem rather than everything we can do to our problem. From now on, let’s learn and keep reminding one another so we can be the real men, just like Jacob, who love to pray and willingly acknowledge God in all of our ways. AMEN.