Text: Genesis 32:22-31
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Romans 7:24-25 NKJV
It is often said that “The evil that men do lives after them” but most often, it lives with them and not only after them. After about twenty years, Jacob is confronted with the fear of facing his brother, Esau, whom he had deceived. Thus, frozen with fear, Jacob prayed, “Oh, God, deliver me from Esau!” (Gen 32:11).
Did God answer Jacob’s prayer? Yes, but not in the way he expected. God answered by engaging him in wrestling until he was wounded, so he limbed as he approached his brother. Though, he had earlier perfected his plan to escape in case Esau attacked, but now He was left to rely completely on God. God answers us by breaking us from our inherent, self-dependent nature and teaching us to submit so that we can receive His blessings.
You see, it wasn’t Jacob who initiated the wrestling; God was the aggressor! Jacob, already being nervous of Esau’s approach, only instinctively wrestled with this ‘mysterious assailant’ that night, struggling for his life. So, it was God who was laying hold of Jacob to gain something from him, to rid him of self-dependence and not vice versa.
Have you ever wondered why God allowed the wrestling match to go on all night long? Was Jacob too powerful for God to handle? No, God would have crippled him in the first seconds of the contest, but He wanted to show him the power of his self-will. Can you imagine grabbing someone tightly for over six hours? God waited for this long to see if Jacob would surrender, but he kept fighting. At last, just a touch wrenched his hip with excruciating pain. Crippled, he then yielded and realized that the ‘mysterious assailant’ was God. Thereafter, Jacob prayed, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” but God responded with a seemingly irrelevant question, “What is your name?” He wanted him to learn the lesson and to confess not just his name but his character. So, he confessed, “My name is Jacob‑‑the supplanter, the conniver, the schemer.” Only after Jacob acknowledged this could the Lord bless him” (Rom 7:18-20).
Friends, the flesh dies hard! Only God can tame it. God’s breaking process helps you to know the power of your flesh and your self-will and to shift you from self-dependence to total dependence on God as you cling to Him in your brokenness. Only at this stage can you be truly blessed of Him.
1. Father, please, break me of any inherent self-dependence and help me to always submit to You in Jesus’ name.
2. Father, please reveal and rid me of the character problems that have hitherto hindered my true blessings in Jesus’ name.
1. I daily search myself to see if I am slipping into self-dependency, lest I miss God’s true blessings.
2. I am conscious of man’s strong will and die hard sinful nature, so I daily cling to Christ in brokenness.