We have completed week 2 of our 1 year Bible study. After the death of Abraham, we see God furthering his plan to bring Jesus Christ into the world as he guides the lives of Isaac and Jacob. I can definitely identify with Jacob, though. Jacob was chosen by God to carry the promise He had made to Abraham and to Isaac. But Jacob had some serious character flaws. Even through God had promised Rachel, Jacob’s mother, that Jacob would receive the blessing, Jacob thought he had to win it by deception. In fact, his name means deceiver or supplanter. By deception, Jacob was able to steel the blessing of his father from his brother Esau. Even though Isaac confirms that Jacob will definitely receive the blessing, he fears for his life and flees from his brother.
Jacob then serves many years for his two wives from his uncle Laban. Just as he was a deceiver, Jacob becomes deceived. Jacob wants to marry Laban’s youngest daughter Rachel and works seven years for her hand, only to be tricked in the night and end up consummating the marriage with her older sister Leah. Jacob has to work another seven years for Rachel. Eventually Jacob is blessed by the Lord, at the expense of his uncle Laban and becomes very wealthy in livestock. He is afraid of his uncle and in his nature, flees again.
Perhaps you have a tendency to flee as well. It is almost always our nature to run from things, especially the correction of the Lord. After fleeing the second time, Jacob knows he is going to come in contact with his brother after 20 years. Just before this happens, Jacob has an encounter with the Lord. In the night, the Lord wrestles with Jacob. Jacob knows it is the Lord and wants a blessing so bad that he won’t let go. Now the Lord could easily have made Jacob let go, but He doesn’t. The Lord instead touches Jacob’s hip joint and causes it to come out of the socket.
You see, the Lord is changing Jacob here in two ways. First, by causing his leg to be out of socket, he is preventing Jacob from fleeing again. Jacob must stand in faith and face what he must face. Second, the Lord gives Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Struggle with God”. It is a perfect name. Jacob struggled with God. But, like Jacob, the nation that will carry the name forward has always struggled with God. Israel is struggling with God today. Often we struggle with God. However, in all cases, God will prevail. With us, God will prevail. With His nation, God will prevail.
Life will be so much easier if will just give in and stop struggling. For Israel, that struggling will cease with the return of Jesus. Let us pray for Him to come.
This Week’s Reading Plan:
- Day 1 – Genesis 43-45
- Day 2 – Genesis 46-47
- Day 3 – Genesis 48-50
- Day 4- Exodus 1-3
- Day 5 – Exodus 4-6
- Day 6 – Exodus 7-9
- Day 7 – Exodus 10-12
In His Service, Scott