“But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
~ Genesis 32:26
This verse is found in that unique passage of Scripture where it is said Jacob wrestles with God (Gen. 32:22-28). In this text we learn Jacob gains an advantage in the struggle and as he holds on tightly, he insists on the “man” giving him a blessing before Jacob will let him go. And we learn towards the end that Jacob does in fact receive his blessing because he has “struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (vs.28). Sometimes it seems God wants us to wrestle Him for His blessing and favor. It is as if we are telling God “Your goodness toward me is worth fighting for”. Therefore, if you aren’t experiencing God’s favor in your life right now, hold Him tight, and don’t let go till you discover His grace.
“I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.”
~ Genesis 32:10
This was the sum of Jacob’s prayer when he considered all that the Lord God had done for him. Jacob had been the recipient of his father’s blessing and all the riches and favor of God fell upon him. His prayerful response to this outpouring of God’s benevolence upon his life left him with a keen sense of his own unworthiness of God’s kindness and faithfulness to him. It is when we comprehend with our whole being the true nature of our own unworthiness before God of His kindness and faithfulness to His servants that we come to really understand and truly experience His grace in our humbled life.
“Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
~ Genesis 31:3
At this point in Jacob’s life he realized he wasn’t where the Lord wanted him to be. He was living with Laban and Laban’s family instead of with his father, Isaac, and other relatives. So, the Lord tells Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers. And then the Lord promises Jacob, “and I will be with you”.
Being in God’s will for our life fosters His presence with us. When we are where God wants us to be, we will find our closest experiences with Him. For Jacob, God wanted him back with his own family. For us, the place God usually wants us to be is spiritually close to Him. James 4:8 tells us, “Draw near to God and He’ll draw near to you”.
May we obey His voice that we too might know His promise, “I will be with you”.
The Bible could be likened to the Believer’s ship:
It’s cover is like the hull which contains the whole.
It’s binder then is like the mast which holds it upright and together.
It’s pages are like the sails which catch the Spirit’s blowing.
It’s words are like our rudder which guide us to peaceful seas.
It’s Author, our Compass who shows us the way.
It’s Christ, our Captain who steers us to glory.
“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
~ Proverbs 10:19
There used to be a popular old adage that said God created us with two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak. In a day and age where through social media and the like everyone feels the need to have a “voice”, let us remember the Scriptural wisdom of guarding our speech and restraining our lips. Because of our sinful hearts, the more the mouth speaks, the more prone it is to speak sinfully. There is godly wisdom in silence. Let us speak only when it will be edifying for others and pleasing to the Lord (Col. 4:6).
“The plain truth is, there are two distinct and separate systems of Christianity in England at the present day. It is useless to deny it. Their existence is a great fact, and one that cannot be too clearly known. According to one system, religion is a mere corporate business. You are to belong to a certain body of people. By virtue of your membership of this body, vast privileges, both for time and eternity, are conferred upon you. It matters little what you are and what you feel. You are not to try yourself by your feelings. You are a member of a great ecclesiastical corporation. Then all its privileges and immunities are your own. Do you belong to the one true visible ecclesiastical corporation? That is the grand question.
According to the other system, religion is eminently a personal business between yourself and Christ. It will not save your soul to be an outward member of any ecclesiastical body whatever, however sound that body may be. Such membership will not wash away one sin, or give you confidence in the day of judgement. There must be personal faith in Christ, personal dealings between yourself and God, personal felt communion between your own heart and the Holy Ghost. Have you this personal faith? Have you this felt work of the Spirit in your soul? This is the grand question. If not you will be lost.
This last system is the system which those who are called evangelical ministers cleave to and teach. They do so, because they are satisfied that it is the system of Holy Scripture. They do so, because they are convinced that any other system is productive of most dangerous consequences, and calculated to delude men fatally as to their actual state. They do so, because they believe it to be the only system of teaching which God will bless, and that no church will flourish so much as that in which repentance, faith, conversion and the work of the Spirit are the grand subjects of the minister’s sermon”.
~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
[Y]ou reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
~ Mark 7:9
Traditions in the life of God’s people can be of benefit unless they conflict with Scripture and the commandments of God. When we take more pride in keeping our traditions rather than in obeying the Lord, we have put ourselves in opposition to Him. In this passage, as elsewhere in Scripture, holding to traditions is not condemned all together. It is when Christ’s Church supplants God’s ways with their own that tradition becomes an idol. Therefore let us continue in those traditions which exalt Christ, enhance God’s glory and strengthen our faith, holding fast to that which is good, and reject anything, any tradition, that places our wants, will, or ways above His own.
With heavenly hosts,
and angelic ranks,
We lift our hearts,
and give Thee thanks.
Until that bright,
and glorious day,
when temporal life,
finds eternal array,
When over we cross,
Jordan’s river banks,
still we praise,
and give Thee thanks.
“It is either all of Christ or none of Christ! I believe we need to preach again a whole Christ to the world – a Christ who does not need our apologies, a Christ who will not be divided, a Christ who will either be Lord of all or will not be Lord at all!”
~ A.W. Tozer
“For I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
~ 1 Corinthians 2:2
Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, help make Your Son, my Savior, my all in all. May nothing hinder my love, gratitude and devotion to Christ! In Jesus. name, amen.