Tuesday, July 13, 2010

He who Struggles with God

For the past three weeks I have been teaching my kiddos about Jacob. We have mostly stuck to the story about him and his brother Esau. I have read and studied this story many times throughout my life and I love that the Word is so alive. It doesn't matter how many times you read a story in the Bible, God can always teach you something new, or remind you of a lesson you may have forgotten about.

As I taught through these stories I noticed a few things about Jacob. One is that the Lord informed Issac and Rebekah that Jacob would be the stronger son. This was not decided by Rebekah, who favored Jacob, or by Jacob himself. The Lord declared that Esau would serve Jacob.

The problem was that Jacob was impatient.

Instead of allowing God to fulfill His own promise Jacob, and his mother, took it upon themselves to fulfill God's promise. Maybe Jacob thought that God had forgotten, or that He didn't really mean what He had said in the beginning....

Or maybe Jacob had forgotten God's promise and the deed was done out of pure selfishness.

Whatever the reason Jacob failed to rely on God to direct his path. He tricked his brother into giving up his birthright and then tricked his own father into giving him his father's blessing.

I wish that I could say that Jacob learned his lesson after this mess that he caused but he didn't. The story continues and we see that Jacob still struggles to trust God to direct his path. In fact Jacob actually wrestles with God on the matter. He fought so hard that God ended up touching his hip just so Jacob would give up. He lived with a limp for the rest of his life because of his stubbornness. God also changed his name to Israel which means, he who struggles with God. How would you like to be named that? Talk about a constant reminder.

As I studied the life of this Old Testament man I see myself. I often struggle with waiting on God. I know with out a shadow of a doubt that God has promised me great and mighty things, but because His timing is different then mine I often grow impatient. Sometimes I, like Jacob, decide to take matters into my own hands.

All this year I have taught about the Israelites and now on Jacob. One thing I see is a pattern of distrust. When something goes wrong, or if something just isn't happening the way they think it ought to go, they grow impatient. They usually don't even ask God. Instead of taking their questions, their wants, their needs to the feet of God they completely throw Him out of the picture.

I wonder what would of happened if Jacob, if the Israelites would of just waited. Or if they had just taken a few minutes to lift up a prayer.

I am pretty sure that if Jacob would have waited he still would have received the greater blessing, and without destroying his family in the process. The Israelites paid a heavy price for their impatience, the first generation all died without entering the promise land. God still remained faithful and fulfilled His promise. Jacob received his blessing but suffered many consequences because of his lack of faith. The Israelites still went to the promise land but think of how many people missed out on the great reward because of their lack of faith.  

It's easy to get frustrated while reading the story of the Israelites, sometimes I forget just how much like them I am. It's much easier to spot someones failing then your own. I don't want to be an Israel. I also don't want to have to make God touch my hip. I would much rather learn my lesson the first time and then enjoy the blessings that follow.


Amber Dawn said...

Amen...that is so true...I actually wrote a song about that a while ago. "Call me Jacob cause I could wrestle you til dawn..." But like you said it is so awesome how you can read the same story so many times but God will reveal different things each time you read it.

Amber Dawn said...

*So I had to add a comment after I read what you wrote today. I'm so glad you knew what Breyer horses were..I thought I was the only one!! And, if my husband wouldn't mind, I would probably still have mine setting out too! :)