Until this point, Jacob has come across as a guy who grew up in church who did things that worked out in God’s sovereignty without going to God for help or guidance.
Think about it, he first deceived his father for his brother’s birthright and inheritance in Genesis 27. Next he is the one deceived in to marrying an older sister of the woman he actually wanted to marry and although he later marries the woman he originally pursued, the 1st wife feels hated and unloved, in which God chooses to love her and bless her with many children (including the kingly line to Jesus because of Jacob’s neglect toward her (Genesis 29). He then was accused of theft and trickery from his father-in-law that led to lies from his wife and making a peaceful pact with his father-in-law despite his families overall shadiness (Genesis 31). And now his brother is coming after him with full-force revenge for his original deceit, and although we’ve seen many interactions between God and Jacob we finally see a side of humility and fear for God in his actions.
We first see Jacob telling God he’s unworthy of his love and faithfulness in verse 10 of chapter 32. Before, Jacob got his way by tricking others and putting matters into his own hands but now he’s recognizing his need for God’s help and intercession. He prays for deliverance and thinks about the women and children he wants to protect. We’re starting to see a life change in Jacob and that is confirmed as he wrestles with God (talk about God interceding) and Jacob’s name being changed to “Israel” to signify how he strives with God. This important event shows how he struggled with obeying God but in the end saw his need to fear Him, walk with Him and be grateful for God’s blessing upon his life and children’s future.
Many times we try to take our life and future in our own hands just like Jacob. Sometimes that’s through manipulating the situation or not asking for God’s help in our decisions & action steps. Like Jacob, God is sovereign over these times but it doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer consequences for not going to Him in all areas of our life. As Francis Chan once said in his book Forgotten God:
“I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power.”
Questions to wrestle with:
- Are you doing anything in your life without seeking God and the Holy Spirit inside of you?
- Is there anything in your life, that on the outside appears to be working, but internally you know your motives aren’t pure?
By: Erik Koliser