October 4, 2020
Genesis Part 7 (Genesis 32-33)
Genesis 32:22-31 “During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. 24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” 29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.”
Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
We don’t like struggles. We like the easy life…the blessed life. When things are going our way, we say, “Wow, God is blessing me!” But when things are falling apart, we say, “Where’s God when I need Him? Maybe there isn’t even a God!”
Jacob’s Life Struggles after his encounter with the LORD…
- The defilement/rape of his teen-age daughter
- The death of his beloved wife, Rachel
- The disgrace of his son, Reuben
- The degradation of his son, Judah – the Seed Project
- The disappearance of his beloved son Joseph – he thought his son was dead
- The imprisonment of his son, Simeon
The Christian life is a journey…a process. It is not simply about a moment when you ask Jesus into your life. It is a journey as you ALLOW Jesus into all of your life.
Nicky Gumbel says, “Jesus set me free. But there is still a process, and there are still things I struggle with. To use two theological terms, Justification happens instantly. You are put right with God instantly through the cross. But sanctification, becoming like Jesus, is a much longer process.”
As you read through the book of Genesis, you will see that, with time, Jacob became a different man.
- He ended up living his life in complete victory – Blessing of Pharaoh – In this moment, Jacob became a greater man than even Abraham – who stood before a Pharaoh in shame.
- He lived with a clear vision for life – even on the eve of his death, he stood and began to bless his sons and grandsons – and others who would follow in the Seed Project…that’s us.
What does this have to do with us today?
Genesis 35:1 “God said to Jacob, “Move back to Bethel. (the place where we first met).” It’s as if God was saying, “I want you to know that I have kept my promises, and I want you to keep yours…to follow me.”
I challenge you to go back to that place where you met God…where He promised to be with you, and where you gave your life to Him.
- Have you lost your passion for God?
- Has your relationship with Jesus waned?
- Have you drifted?
- Are you a spectator of Christianity vs. a participant in His Kingdom?
If so, go back to Bethel and allow God to show you what He wants from you…and what He wants for you.