The following story from Bible inspired me to start a daily conversation with God, our maker. Ask him questions and receive guidance on daily matters. Jesus Christ has already taken over my life and started changing me from within bit by bit. The Bible has become my guiding post so all of my writing is inspired by the Word. The following story is of Jacob (Genesis- 25-37) who in-spite of some severe shortcomings in his character was able to follow the path that God wanted and finally reach his true potential in the eyes of God. Even though historically this happened before the birth of Jesus Christ, but then Christ has been present always. It is worthwhile for you to spend time in reading this story and i am sure you will find some straight similarities with your own life as i did.
Daily communion with God changes us internally. Internal change is required to make permanent external physical changes as our physical life is only a manifestation of our soul within. By praying regularly we become better people and our heart opens to accept further blessings from our Heavenly Father. It is the only way to achieve a truly fulfilling and prosperous life. “Prosperous” being “success in prayer” as this is the only prosperity worth having. By this blog i want to document the changes both internal and external. I also want to develop this into a platform to encourage and inspire others to start communicating with God and share their “Wrestling with God”.
The story is as follows :-
Jacob was sitting by the river stream in deep thought. As the water of Jabbok river moved sluggishly so did his thoughts form an endless enactment of the life that had passed by. He was not young anymore. He was already married and had many children. He had a large family and many servants to support and was moderately wealthy. He was very proud of his lineage and he knew that his forefathers had this really close connection to God which had been passed on to him. His personal life had been a mixed bag of high points and low notes and he was unable to decide if he could claim the closeness to God that his father and his grandfather had experienced. He knew that there was something special happening in the background that he did not see yet but he felt the tremors already. He was anxious and fearful of his own and his family’s future.
He knew that he had survived solely due to the abundant grace that God had bestowed upon him and also that exactly the opposite could have happened long ago. He was now fearful that he may be attacked by his own brother and his men. That he and his family may perish in the desert and he may already be surrounded by his brother and his men. For the first time he was not sure what was God’s will in his life and what was expected of him. He knew that he had made wrong decisions and done erroneous acts earlier, but God had always saved him, however today he was not at peace. Today he had to face the truth of his life and his heart was very unsettled. It was time for him, his heart was ready for God. He was ready to listen and God was ready to deal with him directly.
His thoughts went to the earlier days and his dear father Isaac and mother Rebekah. He was born in a family of shepherds mainly having herds of sheep and goats. They were the wandering families choosing not to spend much time in any one location, primarily living in tents. His father Isaac was a God loving man who looked up to the Great One for guidance in life and lived it accordingly. He believed that his prayers will be answered and thus never quit praying even when he was childless till age forty. The Lord answered and his wife Rebekah was pregnant with twins. Rebekah believed in the Lord and His workings and approached Him for direction and comfort. Lord told her that she had two nations in her womb and that the older will serve the younger. Rebekah understood the importance of this divine direction. Two kids were born, Esau and Jacob.
Esau grew up to be a master hunter and an outdoors man, Jacob developed into a quiet young man. Isaac loved Esau but Rebekah favored Jacob. Jacob was also smarter that Esau in worldly matters and even tricked his older brother out of his birth right in exchange for some bread and lentil stew. Esau only realized later how his little brother had short changed him. He didn’t like it one bit, but what was done was done.
In the mean while the Almighty was happy with his father Isaac’s devotion just like he felt for Abraham, Isaac’s father. The Lord promised Isaac and his offspring vast lands and multiplication to millions if he didn’t go to Egypt and Isaac obeyed the Lord without a question and went where he was directed by God. He survived those difficult years and became very wealthy. God made all roads easy for Isaac and even the worldly mighty ones were careful when dealing with Isaac.
During this time Esau and Jacob were growing up into young men. Jacob took undue advantage of the situation again and ditched his brother Esau for the second time. This time he was helped and supported by his mother Rebekah. Isaac was old and close to his death thus he wanted to give final blessings to his beloved son Esau. He asked Esau to go hunting and prepare for him some delicious meat so that he could give him the blessings. Rebekah informed Jacob and urged him to mislead his father and take the blessings for himself instead. Jacob served the delicious meat prepared by Rebekah. Rebekah even told Jacob to lie to Isaac and mislead him to believe that it was Esau that he was giving the blessings to and not himself. Isaac being favored by God, his blessings had great value and deep future implications which only Rebekah realized and insisted on Jacob to carry out this deception. He lied to, he cheated and he deceived his father and his brother.
Jacob was successful and his father blessed him that he may receive plenty of grain and wine. He also blessed him that other people will serve him and that nations will bow down to him. His brothers will also bow down to him and any one cursing him will be cursed and any one blessing him will be blessed.
Esau returned from the hunt and found that his blessings were stolen and he was shortchanged in his life a second time by his brother. Isaac felt bad but Esau was left much bitter due to the cheating. Even Isaac gave to Esau not a blessing but something close to a curse. Esau was to serve his brother, live off his sword, be restless life long and away from the plentiful earth. Esau’s hate for Jacob was obvious and he resolved to kill Jacob whenever he got a chance.
Rebekah knew the danger to Jacob and asked him to flee to a place called Haran, where her brother Laban lived. Esau made another mistake by marrying women from Hittite community, about which Isaac and Rebekah were not happy. Jacob was smarter and did as directed by Isaac to marry from his own community. Thus Isaac blessed Jacob that he be fruitful and multiply and take possession of the lands promised by God to Abraham. This was also of discomfort to Esau and he realized his mistake. He married again within his community to make right his earlier mistake.
Jacob left for Haran and his life changed. God spoke to him and told him that his offspring will be numerous like the dust of the earth and that his future generations will spread in all directions and be blessed immensely by God. God also assured him that He will never leave Jacob’s side until all that is promised is accomplished. This was only fulfillment of the promise given by God to his grandfather Abraham. Even then Jacob only wanted to return back to his father’s house in peace.
Jacob reached Haran and met Laban, his maternal uncle. He decided to work for Laban in return for marriage to his younger daughter Rachel whom he loved. He took care of Laban’s herds for seven years expecting to get married to Rachel, his sweetheart. At the end of seven years, Laban gave to Jacob the taste of his own medicine. Laban proposed that Jacob marry Leah now and work for another seven years taking care of his herds if he wants to marry Rachel. Jacob had no choice so he went along with this arrangement.
He ended up marrying both the sisters but hated Leah. Lord didn’t like this and gave favor to Leah by opening her womb and closing Rachel’s womb. Leah gave birth to four sons in succession Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Rebekah was unhappy as she wasn’t bearing any children so she gave her servant Bilhah as a surrogate to Jacob. Bilhah bore two son’s Dan and Napthali. Leah gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob who bore them two son’s Gad and Asher. Leah further gave birth to sons Issachar and Zebulun and daughter Dinah. Finally God opened Rachel’s womb and she gave birth to Joseph. Jacob had a large family of two wives, two concubines, eleven sons and one daughter.
This is when he decided that he wanted to return back to his own home and country. He informed Laban of this. Laban played along but was hesitant as he knew that he will have to part with some of the herds in this separation. He very cunningly tried to deceive Jacob by removing the speckled, spotted sheep, black lambs and specked, spotted goats which were to be Jacob’s wages. However this didn’t work because God has promised Jacob that he will be with him always. Jacob used techniques which increased his part of herd many fold and he became very wealthy with large flocks, servants, camels and donkeys.
Jacob understood that Laban was no more an ally and all he wanted to do now was to return to him home and country. He was also tired of being cheated by Laban and his wages being changed every time to suit Laban in spite of working so hard for Laban. But God favored Jacob and made him multiply against all odds. Rachel and Leah were aware of their father’s deceit and agreed with Jacob.
Jacob decided to leave the land of Haran with all his livestock, family and establishment and return back to his country without informing Laban. Laban came to know and was not happy. He chased Jacob and overtook him. If he was not warned by God directly, he would have tried to harm Jacob and his family. However he was more anxious as Rachel had stolen the household idols. Laban searched Jacobs’s tents but didn’t find the idols, this made Jacob very angry and agitated. Laban decided to make peace with Jacob and let go of him, taking an assurance that Jacob will take good care of his daughters and family.
After Laban left, Jacob continued on his way to his country. He felt the presence of God and angels. His only goal was to go back home and he knew that he will have to make peace with Esau if he wanted to live peacefully there. He sent messengers to understand the stance of Esau and was advised that Esau is approaching in his direction with four hundred men. Jacob was very afraid and distressed. He divided his camp into two so that if one is attacked the other will survive. He was almost sure that he would be annihilated by his brother and his men. He was afraid for his family, his next generation and his livestock who depended on him for guidance. It would be a pity if all is destroyed because he duped his brother in the earlier years. It would be a waste to have lived so long in a foreign country, serve selfish masters, and go through all the pain and then come back to your own country and be killed by your own blood!
Is there no way that the wrong can be righted? Is there no way to start with a clean slate once again? Now that Jacob had faced deceit from Laban, he knew how Esau would have felt all his life. A blessing stolen in the earlier days by Jacob had cost Esau a life full of pain of being cheated by one’s own blood. Is there no way to get forgiveness? Is it even possible to appeal?
Jacob sent gifts of livestock with his servants in many groups to appease Esau. He only wanted acceptance and forgiveness from his brother. He was afraid, scared, repentant, tired and low in spirit. It was then that he along with his family crossed Jabbok. He sent his family across the stream and stayed behind alone. He met with the Creator and decided to engage. Engage fully, brazenly, completely,barefacedly, without any inhibitions, shamelessly, without any care with the God of all. The One and Only, the Omnipresent and Omnipotent. Jacob decided to go all out because he felt that forgiveness was possible and that his family could still make it out of the mess created by him. He was repentant and demanded forgiveness and blessing of well-being from the Almighty.
God blessed him even though he gave him a disability. Jacob died that day and Israel was born. The change had happened and life was delivered. Israel was born only because of this wrestling with God.
Jacob had cheated and duped. Jacob was tricked and fooled. Jacob became Israel only because he decided to wrestle that night and not let go till he had his blessing.
I am a servant of Jesus Christ, close to 40 years of age, living in India and having a day job. I came to know and love Jesus Christ some three years back. I was in a crisis. Jesus came and lovingly embraced me before anything really bad could happen. Out of the window went the deceit and cunning and also the hurt of what wrong was happening at that time. Through the haze I could see the light of love of Jesus and the wrestling has begun since then. The wrestling is happening now … every day and every night.
I write here for many reasons. Firstly I would like to document the changes happening in me due to this wrestling. The methodical process where God is dismantling the older me and remaking me as per his own specifications as his personal tool. Secondly I would like to encourage others among my readers to go on with their “wrestling” and not to stop till the blessing is received and thirdly I want to be encouraged myself by listening to your story and never let go of the wrestling with God.
Sincerely waiting to die and be born again.
I encourage you all to please send me any of the stories , articles, letters, messages etc to be published provided they encourage the readers to live a good life and to read and live the word of God.