Grappling with God (Genesis 32)
In Genesis 32, we find Jacob in a precarious position. His father in law Laban was behind him, while his brother Esau was before him. Years earlier, Jacob deceived Esau out of his birthright (Genesis 25). This incident brought about years of pain and vengeance to the point that Esau threatened to kill Jacob. Jacob still fears Esau’s revenge.
Jacob was met with the possibility that his sin would find him out. What if Esau was set on vengeance? A guilty conscience doesn't need an accuser, nor will it let you blame someone else. Jacob was without excuse and he knew it. After all he had done to Esau, his conscience was pricked with the thought of his sin and deception. Again and again, Jacob was reminded of the fact that he was headed for a confrontation with his past and his sin. What he didn't know was that God was going to confront him before he ever got to Esau.
Jacob was the one who said he wanted to serve God but attempted to do it in his flesh. The one who used carnal methods in hopes of achieving the blessings and promises of God. The one who saw life as one extended negotiation process, constantly looking for loopholes in lordship, obedience and holiness. Jacob's life was in conflict between his flesh and the Spirit. Jacob regarded his life as a wasted life. He had spent a great deal of energy and time running from God, fighting God, resisting the Lord, and deceiving people. We see his depravity against the framework of God's desire to use him.
The good report is that Jacob didn't play the blame game. He didn't criticize how his parents raised him ,or reprimand what Laban did to him earlier. We will never be eager for God if we blame our environment, our education (or lack thereof), our surroundings, our parents, or our circumstances. I've heard people blame the system, their circumstances, or their absentee father. The reality is this: we do make choices. Two people can be in identical situations; one turns to God, while the other shakes his fist at Him. One has a pity party, and the other praises God in spite of it all.
Mankind will never seek the Saviour unless they see themselves as a sinner. Sin deceives us into thinking we can negotiate with God. It deludes us into believing that we can get better in our flesh. It destroys us by telling us we can make it to Heaven, but dodge a direct encounter with the Christ, who demands our whole life surrendered to Him. What Jacob failed to learn early was that anytime someone fights against God, regardless of who they are, they will lose every time. Three choices will get us into God's will and keep us there. Decision, dedication and a daily walk in the power of the Spirit.
Daily submission to the will of God is accomplished in prayerful meditation upon the Word of God. It is only in submission that the light is manifest to us. In that meditation we learn of His strength and wisdom. After his encounter with the Lord, he always walked with a limp. When a man is walking with the Lord, he will always be out of step with the world! People can have the luxury of being raised by the best parents, taught by the best teachers, mentored by the best coaches, and still struggle to respect and regard the valuable lessons in life. Because of this, often the Lord has to give some a Divine encounter. Too often people will remember a good scare rather than remembering good advice.
PRAYER: Lord, as You needed to break Jacob for Your service, I come and present myself before You that You may mold me so that I might forever be altered for Your service and satisfaction as found in Romans 12:1-2. In Jesus name, Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.