Are You A Wrestler?

“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.

~ apl

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I Am Unworthy

“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.

~ apl

I Will Be With You

“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”.

~ apl

For Your Good

“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…”

~ Genesis 50:20

The story of Joseph’s rise to prominence in Egypt is filled with unlikely twists and turns. It begins when Joseph receives the covenant blessing of Jacob indicating his rise as the leader of God’s people, Israel. But because of the jealously and hatred of his brothers again him, Joseph’s life would take an unexpected turn towards violence, suffering, slavery and attempted murder.

Though his brother’s sought Joseph’s demise, he remained faithful to the Lord, and as a result, God favored and blessed him, even in a foreign land. Joseph rose to great power in Egypt. So that after the death of their father, and during a terrible famine, Joseph’s brothers went up to Egypt to plead for Joseph’s help. And oddly enough, Joseph was in the perfect place to assist.

What Joseph’s brother meant for evil against their brother, God meant for good. Their jealousy drove them to want to kill Joseph, to drive him away, and to prevent him from taking his rightful place as their leader. Yet God preserved Joseph and used him mightily despite them. Joseph remained faithful to God through it all and the Lord blessed him for it.

Sometimes everything can seem to be working against you. It can feel like God has let you go and the world is winning. Still remember, even in our darkest hour, God can bring good out of it. He can bring good out of pain, sorrow, and affliction. Maybe today you are in the pit of life, and like Joseph, with little reason to hope. Yet, be faithful; trust in the Lord. For what others mean for evil against you, your good and faithful God can mean ultimately for your good.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, when I feel the evils of this world pressing in on me and I can’t seem to grasp the meaning of it all, help me to know with a blessed assurance I’m still in Your hand and my goodness is You goal. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prevailing in Prayer

“And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” ~ Genesis 32:12

This is the sure way of prevailing with the LORD in prayer. We may humbly remind Him of what He has said. Our faithful God will never run back from His word, nor will He leave it unfulfilled; yet He loves to be inquired of by His people and put in mind of His promise. This is refreshing to their memories, reviving to their faith, and renewing to their hope. God’s Word is given, not for His sake, but for ours. His purposes are settled, and He needs nothing to bind Him to His design of doing His people good; but He gives the promise for our strengthening and comfort. Hence He wishes us to plead it and say to Him, “Thou saidst.”

~ Charles Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook