1/25/15: Hold On

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#HeartForTheWord

Genesis 32:22-32 tells the story of Jacob wrestling with God.

  • “And he [Jacob] arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He [the Man] saw that He did not prevail against him [Jacob], He [the Man] touched the socket of his [Jacob’s] hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He [the Man] said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
  • But he [Jacob] said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
  • So He [the Man] said to him [Jacob], “What is your name?”
  • He said, “Jacob.”
  • 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.”
  • Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
  • And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He [the Man] blessed him [Jacob] there.
  • So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel[d] the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank. (NKJ)

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Before this passage, Jacob finds himself at a time in his life in which he is facing his biggest fear. He is about to meet up with his brother Esau. The last time he saw Esau was 20 years earlier right after he and their mother Rebecca had conspired together to steal Esau’s blessing from their father. At the time, Esau had vowed to kill Jacob, so Rebecca sent Jacob away. Jacob ended up bumping into his cousin Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban (his mother’s brother), and falling in love with her. The story of his life and developing family gets quite convoluted from there and you can read that on another occasion. Suffice it to say that here is Jacob now, 20 years later, and his sordid past has caught up with him. All his tricks have played out. Jacob has no other option but to hold on to God for dear life and insist upon a blessing. What should we do when we reach places like this?

The first thing to do is grab hold of God and refuse to let go; latch on. Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” Struggle with God in prayer, in waiting, in praise, in continuing to believe God’s word despite what culture or current reality looks like, and in witnessing to who you know God to be regardless of the fact that His silence may seem like He doesn’t care.

            Second, listen for your new name. The Man asked Jacob his name and then changed it from Jacob to Israel. The struggle had changed Jacob’s name from “Supplanter” to “Prince with God.” Pay attention to what your life experiences with God have taught you, and listen to those experiences to see how God has changed your name.

Third, start walking with your limp. Verses 25 and 31 speak of the fact that the Man “touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint.” Something Jacob had always depended upon before—his hip—was now “out of joint.” He could no longer depend upon it to walk straight. Jacob’s contact with the Man at this juncture of his life caused him to walk differently—more carefully and with more sensitivity.

Others will see your limp; they will see how your contact with God has affected you and they will be effected by that. In verse 32, we read that the children of Israel did not eat meat from that area of an animal’s body as remembrance of what God taught Jacob. Your issues are not for you. Others will learn to meet with God in the areas where you’ve struggled with God.

Finally, know that you will last. The Man told Jacob, “You have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” The Hebrew word for prevail, ya-chol, means to be able, have power. Also, verse 30 says, “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” The Hebrew word for persevere, vattinnatzel, means delivered, snatched away from the brink. Your struggle with God will result in ability, power, and deliverance.

Latch on, listen, limp, and last. From time to time, expect to come to issues in your life with which you will have to struggle. There is nothing wrong with struggling with God. Know that in the end, you will last. Even though you will come out walking with a limp, take inventory and listen for your new name as you insist upon latching on until God blesses you. No matter what, hold on.

____________________________

©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on January 25, 2015.

One Response to “1/25/15: Hold On”

  1. Live Significantly! Sent from my iPad

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