Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Jesus Christ Who RestoresGenesis 32:22-32
“The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.” Genesis 32:22
The story of Jacob meeting an angel is quite an interesting story in the Bible. It begins with a man emptying himself of everything he owned and had before he meets his brother. The very word for Jabbok in Hebrew means to be emptied. The place describes what had happened to Jacob. Here was a man calculating from the very beginning of his life, practically grasping the heel of his brother in the womb and stealing birthrights and blessings. The story of Jacob reads from Genesis 25 to Genesis 32 as one who deceives and is then deceived himself. The world would read the story and define it as “Karma”, a sort of cause and effect. But something happens in Genesis 32 that changes Jacob forever.
When he emptied himself or gave up struggling with his planning and scheming and realized he was alone in the wilderness, a divine individual approached him and “wrestled”. The wrestling really means they grappled onto each other and tried to get the other to submit. What a strange encounter with a divine being. Hosea 12:4-5 describes Jacob’s encounter in even greater detail, “He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor; he met him at Bethel and there he spoke with him. The Lord the God of hosts, the Lord is his name!”
Jacob met God face to face when he gave up everything he had. And it was not Jacob who approached first, it was God. The beauty of this passage is that God is the one that entangles with us first, but it can only happen when we truly empty ourselves of all our ability to fight. Give up our schemes, our money, our power relationships that all distract us from relying on God. When we realize we can no longer save ourselves, that is when God shows up, and then we are to hold on to God and struggle with God.
When we struggle with the, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we all have the opportunity to meet God face to face. But there are obstacles that get in the way of us wrestling with God. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians 1:22, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Paul is saying there are two groups of people in the world that will miss God completely. Those that rely on understanding God through their own experiences as signs (unless I am healed, financially blessed, children blessed, etc) and those that only believe in God if it intellectually makes sense. But it’s a third group that empties themselves of all they have and wrestles with the idea of a cross and an empty tomb that truly sees the face of God, and just like Jacob; will be changed forever.
Lord we thank you for this day you have given us. Let this day be no ordinary day. Help me to experience your love in a new way. Forgive me for holding on to things of this world, or being distracted by the things of this world, when the only thing of value has been given to me, freely. Help me to live out a life of grace and love today and give you glory. In Jesus name. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10