So…my pastor is on vacation for the next two weeks, and I am grateful to be able to do the Sunday messages. After last week, I know have a greater appreciation of what a pastor does week in and week out. It certainly is no easy task, especially when God waits until the last-minute to give you your message.
Anyway, during the course of preparing for last Sunday’s message I came upon a sermon on Netflix. It is part of a week study on the life of Jacob, titled Death to Selfie. I encourage you all to watch it as it really opened my eyes to the truth of Jacob’s story.
Jacob. I’ve never quite understood Jacob. In all actuality, I never had much love for Jacob and could never see what God saw in him. For me, Jacob was the epitome of selfishness; yet, God allowed his selfishness and deceit to get him everything he had ever wanted. To tell you the truth, I felt very sorry for Esau. [ Please notice the past tense used here.]
Yes, God uses flawed people all the time, but in most of those cases in the Bible, they all had a redemption moment. I never saw where Jacob did.
It is there; I just missed it.
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ 10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 11 O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. 12 But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”
Now, as Jacob is praying to God because he is on his way home after being on the run from his brother Esau because Esau wants to kill him (for tricking him out of his inheritance and stealing his blessing), I chalked this up to a Hail Mary/foxhole type of prayer. I never thought Jacob was too sincere. However, I now believe he was as this prayer was the preface of what came next.
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.”
I will not let go.
I will not let go.
I will not let you go until you bless me.
Here it is my friend…Jacob has finally come to the end of himself. He finally realizes that all he has done to try to earn blessings does not work.
How is that?
Notice, he actually says I will not let YOU go.
I’ve been holding on to heels all my life, trying to make my own blessings, and I finally realized I’m holding on to the only one who can truly bless me.
Oh, take a look at what comes next…it keeps getting better…
Genesis 32:27: 27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
21 years ago when asked, Jacob answered Isaac, I’m Esau…..Now…Jacob. Heel grabber, deceiver….Jacob. Jacob is no longer pretending. He has finally taken off Esau’s clothes. And when he finally admits who he really is…this happens:
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel,[c] because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
When Jacob can finally admit who he is, his real name, God gives him a new one and a new identity..and his blessing….his real, Godly blessing. When Jacob truly repents and comes to the end of himself, he can finally walk into his true calling and all the promises God made will be given to him.
New identity…Jacob-heal grabber…Israel-triumphet with God.
Please watch the video on Netflix…Death to Selfie…Just Call Me Jacob. You can also find it on You Tube, but I was not sure it is legal or ethical to share here.