Thursday, August 03, 2017

Acknowledge the past before transformation

Jacob Wrestles - Matthaeus Merian I (1593-1650)
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 32:6-32

“So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’
He said, ‘Jacob’
(supplanter, deceiver).
And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel (Prince with God)…’” - Genesis 32:27,28

We left Jacob yesterday alone and determined to deal with his past. For not only had he broken with Laban, but he sent servants to tell Esau, his estranged twin brother, that he was passing through (Genesis 32:1-5).

The servants returned with the news that Esau was on his way to meet Jacob, accompanied by 400 men.

That put the scare into Jacob!

He did all he could to prepare for this meeting that he feared would end badly.
- He prayed - reminding God of His promise to him - Genesis 32:9-12.
- He prepared and sent on ahead herds of animals as gifts for Esau - Genesis 32:13-15.
- He separated his most precious possessions, his wives and children, from the main company and sent them to the other side of the Jabbok River.

In the fear-filled and sleepless night before the meeting, Jacob experienced perhaps the greatest preparation for the day ahead (and the rest of his life). He met a mysterious stranger who wrestled with him. This man (a theophany? an angel?) made Jacob say his name (acknowledge his identity, Jacob—deceiver, supplanter) before He would pronounce the blessing for which Jacob begged.

Then God blessed him with a new name (identity): Israel—Prince with God, a reminder of the encounter (a lifelong limp), and a formal blessing (Genesis 32:26-29)

Perhaps what happened to Jacob may also be applicable to us. Before we get God’s blessing of transformation, we may also need to admit what we were, to acknowledge the human means we’ve used to this point to make our way in life. This so we can forsake them and in their stead lean on God and trust His ways of working.

Dear Father, thank You for faithfully bringing me face to face with my human coping mechanisms in order to transform me into a person who relies on You.

MORE: The rest of the story…

To read how Jacob and Esau’s meeting went, read Genesis 33:1-16.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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