Christians, are you ready to meet your Lord now – just as you are?
Study John 7:37-39. Are you a true source of life-blessing to others? Your husband or wife? Parents or children? Here in the Bible we are told that if we come thirsty to Jesus He can so work within us that we become a supply for others. Quite a change!
That is exactly what happened to Jacob back in Genesis. He was called the “Supplanter” (or, Jacob) in Genesis 25:26. And how he lived up to it, grabbing all he could! No one would have guessed that God was about to work in him so that the Supplanter would become the Supplier?
But it wasn’t an easy thing. Jacob had beat his brother Esau out of birth-right and blessing. Rugged Esau was plenty mad, so subtle Jacob ran for his very life.
Now, our text GENESIS 32 pictures him many years later fearfully returning home.
“Esau is coming!” “With 400 men!” gasp his terror-stricken messengers, verse 6. Then Jacob was “in great fear and distress ,” verse 7. Those 1600 pounding hoofs are bringing the old past home to him.
The long overdue crisis is upon him. What follows is one of the sensitive, highly instructive parts of all Scripture.
A careful study of Jacob’s crisis should stir us to seek a deeper spiritual life. If only we all could become what he became! Note carefully the phases through which he passed during this intense night of struggle. Keep ever in mind that we do not necessarily have to go through each of these phases in any set way.
However, if growth and daily fellowship with God in prayer and the W0rd are neglected we force our heavenly Father to put us into the spiritual squeeze.
I. FIGHTING GOD
No, I am not recommending that we try this phase, but Jacob does. (Maybe some of us are in a worse state. See Revelation 3:15,16.) There all alone by the River Jabbok, Jacob battles with God. The struggle in verse 24 is quite different from that of verse 26.
Today many fight God in more subtle ways. For instance, there is the calculated neglect of God. Shutting out His speaking voice by keeping the Bible closed day after day. Refusing to talk with Him in prayer.
Others are kicking against Providential dealings. “Why am I so tried?” “Why!” comes from clenched teeth.
Beware of keeping God at a distance. He wants to touch what YOU really are — at the very heart. See this in what follows.
II. BEING WOUNDED BY GOD
Finally, the Heavenly Wrestler (some unusual manifestation of God or representative of His) gives Jacob’s leg a mighty twist and it is permanently damaged. He is so hurt that he will forever after limp. This is loaded with a searching lesson for us all.
Have you been wounded in some way? Oh , maybe it doesn’t seem to be very dramatic, but look for God in it. There is the very common wounding of advancing age. How this humbles man! There is sickness, personal problems. Spiritual failure is about the only thing that ever rocks the pride of some. So wounded they fall!
With your own particular situation in mind, read Romans 8:28 and Philippians 1:6, and Hebrews 12:5 and following. Woe be to us if we be without chastening!
However, mark this well: a loving Father does not desire that the rod be the main instrument of teaching. That is what the Bible is for. Study John 15:2, 3 where the words of cleansing, pruning or cutting the vine (same original word) shows that Jesus desires to trim off our rough edges morning by morning as we meet God to prepare ourselves for each day of service. Why be forced by the 400 horsemen from our neglected past to fall before our God?
III. CLINGING TO GOD
Wounded Jacob might be hurting and limping but he is determined for the blessing. He cries out to his God, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” verse 26. Right here is where Jacob wins and many of us lose. Jacob now holds on in faith even though he is hurting.
Some of us never count on this crucial period between our first being wounded in life and the at-last coming of the blessing. Wait on the Lord. Keep believing.
IV. BEING BLESSED
“What is your name?” asked the Lord. This searching question must have pierced through to the real Jacob. He had indeed supplanted his brother. That had to be brought out to the light and changed. Listen further. “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” This new name emphasized that he now was interested in things higher. God’s highest blessings for His deepest saints are not material but involve a touching of the sore spot and changing what we ARE. What is your name?
What life-changing surgery is demanded to change Mr. Covetousness and Mrs. Materialism to Spiritualmindedness! Or, Sir Hot-temper to Gentleness. God must work very deep with those who are intemperate in work or habits. Miss vain-glory hides her name.
So Jacob comes limping but blessed of God. His meeting with Esau turns into a blessed time, 33:4. Then see Jacob insisting on GIVING to Esau, verse 11. What a change! The Supplanter now a Supplier! The dried-up, grasping soul is now a fount of blessing.
God simply won’t let our old nature continue to strut its sinful self. If He loves you He will bring the show-down. Why not right now bow in prayer and go over your life with God? Welcome the rebuke of the Scripture. Jesus’ blood was shed for your sins. Ask for forgiveness, I John 1:7-9. Finally, claim the filling of the Spirit from the hand of our Savior, Acts 2:32,33.