Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.
God, giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.
Battle of the Flesh
Jacob wrestled with God. Striving in intercession is often misunderstood as striving against God. Struggling in prayer is often seen as forcing God to act or move on our behalf, but battling with an angry God, to extract a blessing is not a scriptural concept. This is the world’s concept of a pagan deity not the truth about the God of the Bible. Our striving is indeed a struggle, but it is not a fight against God. Our struggling is rather a battle against self – it is a battle against the flesh.
God had determined to bless Jacob from before birth, but Jacob wrestled and strove. God had chosen Jacob to be His son of promise, but Jacob used deception and deceit. God had appointed Jacob to be the father of His chosen people, but self fought on. All through his life, Jacob was identified by God as His chosen son.. but for much of his life Jacob determined to do things his own way and not God’s way. And so the blessings Jacob so desired and sought, were withheld by a gracious God. And God waited and He waited and He waited for Jacob. God just waited. He waited for fleshly, cunning, ungovernable Jacob.
Our battles and strivings are not against an angry God Who hides His face from us. Never.. never, for God giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. God’s eternal character would be compromised should this be interpreted thus. God’s Word would be discredited, should intercessory prayer be thus regarded, but God will not reward the old man, the old sinful nature. God will not reward self. Self must be slain – and God waits until we are ready.
Our strivings in prayer are not against God but against our own sinful flesh. Self and the flesh must be put off and nailed to the cross. Christ and the new you must be resurrected – and the new man in Christ put on. And this was what Jacob eventually learned in his wrestling with God. This is what we too must learn in our daily strivings with the Lord.
Jacob know the promises of God. Jacob know that through him, all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Jacob knew that God had chosen and appointed Him above His worldly brethren. Jacob knew that His was the birthright – His the promise – and His the blessing.. just as you know the promises of God – just as you – know that you have been chosen: chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Yet Jacob shrewdly schemed and cleverly planned his way through life. Jacob had a rebellious heart, a stained heart, a lonely heart. Jacob had a heart of rage – bloodied and unbroken and overwhelmed with doubt.. but as it is written: God loved Jacob.. with His everlasting love.
Jacob was successful in a worldly sense and yet his heart was hardened towards his Lord. And his birthright and the promise and the blessing were his, but the birthright and the promise and the blessing were held, in abeyance – and as it is written: God loved Jacob.. with His everlasting love. ‘I can do all things through me,’ Jacob schemed and God waited for Jacob.. and God waited and waited and waited and waited.
Jacob’s ego was inflated and his pride glistened like a necklace, and still: God loved Jacob.. with an everlasting love. Jacob had fought his way though his life with his father and mother. Jacob had fought his way though his life with his brother Esau. Jacob had fought his way though his life with his uncle, Laban. Jacob battled with his wives – and he had strove with his children and Jacob accumulated what he desired – and Jacob went where he chose. And Jacob had what he wanted – but Jacob was dissatisfied.
And through his life God blessed Jacob in many ways and Jacob prospered. God blessed this man – this: Jacob whom I love, but God left Jacob needing more and wanting more – and God just waited. Jacob knew Who his God was, but he did not permit God to know him until Jacob wrestled with God all night – and God broke Jacob. Jacob sought God for a blessing – a paltry, little, insignificant, pathetic, blessing. ‘Save me and my family.. ‘Save me from the wrath of my worldly brother, who seeks my life‘ he whimpered, “I will not let You go unless you bless me,” was his cry as he feared his brother’s rage. All Jacob was concerned about that night was a safe passage through the world of Esau.
All Jacob sought that dark night was a mess of pottage in his journey across the earth. But God had so much more that He desired to do through Jacob. God had chosen this man for heights he could scarce begin to comprehend. God had great plans for this man – but God first had to deal with Jacob’s self. His ego had to be crushed. His pride had to be humbled. Self had to be placed on the Cross. God had to be given His rightful position in Jacob’s life. It was only when Jacob was broken and bowed in submission before his God that God met with Jacob in a way that he never forgot – as it is written: God Loved Jacob… with His everlasting love.
That night, Jacob limped from his encounter a broken man. That night Jacob was humbled under the might hand of an almighty God. That night, Jacob became insignificant in his own eyes for the rest of his life. That night, for the first time, Jacob became totally and utterly dependent upon God. That night the scheming, self-sufficient, supplanter.. Jacob, became prince with God: for God loved Jacob… with His everlasting love.
All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for reproof and correction. All scripture serves as an example and shadow of heavenly things. So humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time
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