Saturday, 10 October 2009


Jacob’s story is the story of a struggle. He came out of the womb that way. His twin brother was named Esau (means hairy) and the Bible tells us that these two brothers began their struggle in the womb. Jacob (means he supplants) a twin brother of Esau was born in answer to his father’s prayer, but he became the favourite son of his mother. He was named Jacob because he was holding onto his elder brother’s (Esau) heel. (Genesis 25: 24-26)
According to the book of Genesis, Jacob continued to take hold of the possessions of his brother’s birthright, his father’s blessing and his father-in-law’s flocks and herds.
Jacob's role as a heel-grabber is seen in his dealings with his older brother. The first such indication is when Esau, the outdoorsman to Jacob’s stay-at-home approach to life, came in from the fields to find Jacob with a tasty pot of stew. We are not told whether or not Jacob had cunningly planned the incident or whether he happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right temptation. The result was the same in any case -- Esau was persuaded to sell his birthright for a pot of stew.
Would you sell your right for something that is worthless? What is value to you is value to God. It can be your family or your possessions. Those are his blessings to you; this includes your wife or your husband. He or she may not be the perfect person right now but one does not know tomorrow. The very person you despise may be somebody some day. Jacob’s relatives never thought he would be a millionaire.

The heel-grabbing came to full fruition when their father, Isaac, determined to give to Esau the family blessing. While Esau was away, Jacob was persuaded by his mother to put on a disguise that would fool his aged and blind father into thinking he was Esau. By means of this deception, he was able to steal the family blessing.
For Esau, this was the last straw. As far as he was concerned, Jacob had swindled him for the last time. He swore revenge and Jacob was forced to leave his home, fleeing from the wrath of Esau, never to see his beloved mother again.
It was while he was on the run, that Jacob had his first significant encounter with God. Jacob is in the midst of a journey. He has set out from Beersheba and he is headed for Haran. He is alone upon the road and the reason that he is alone and the reason he is upon the road is because he is an escapee from his own family. He comes to a place near the city of Luz. We do not know what the name means and it doesn't appear to have meant much to Jacob, either. There is nothing compelling about this place. It is just a place to stop for the evening. (Genesis 28:12-14) While sleeping in this place that he had a dream of a ladder that reached the heavens and the angels were using it to go up and down. He then saw the Lord spoke and was afraid. He was blessed by the words of the Lord, promising him of his inheritance of the land, descendents and God’s divine presence. When this night was over, Jacob gave this place a new name, Bethel - the House of God - the Gate of Heaven.
This is important as many people are running away because of the mess they are in but God has other plans in his heart for you. Many people feel they are not worth it, or have done the worst crime and so God will not look at them. That is not true. Look at Jacob, a liar, thief, and yet God was willing to bless him abundantly and above. Remember, FAILURE is the womb for success. When one fails they never want to repeat that mistake again. For those who carry on the same pattern of behaviour is due to guilt.
The experience at the ford of the River Jabbok (means "to wrestle) occurred as Jacob returned from his long stay at Haran. While preparing a union with his brother, Esau, of whom he was still afraid, he had a profound experience that left him changed in both body and spirit. At the ford of the Jabbok, Jacob was left alone. It was night, and he found himself suddenly engaged in a wrestling match in the darkness with an unknown figure. The match lasted until the break of dawn. The socket of Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he struggled with this mysterious stranger but he refused to release his grip until he was given a blessing. When asked to identify himself in the darkness, he confessed he was Jacob – the heel grabber.
Every individual is living out their destiny but it is affected by the decisions we make in life. If you are a journalist, preacher, teacher, cleaner then it is the beginning of your journey towards your purpose. Who said that, that is where you should be all your life? Life always brings challenges but it is how we deal with the situation that brings us to the next level of our purpose. Rebecca, Jacob’s mum knew that he (Jacob) would be a heel grabber because she has heard of the Lord. When she enquired during her pregnancy, the Lord said this to her, “Two nations are in your womb, two people shall be separated from your body, one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25: 23) The troubles that Jacob encounter were, I believe related to what God said about him when he was in his mother’s womb. His parents named him Jacob but God had other plans. Many at times we may feel alone but when we are lonely it is not the absence of people but it is the absence of direction in our life.
What began as a physical struggle seemed to take on epic proportions as it continued throughout the entire night? It must have seemed endless to Jacob, but he would not quit. This was the story of his life. He had come into this world as the heel-grabber, grasping for what he could get. It had cost him everything. But he had not given up. As a foreigner in a faraway land, he had persisted until today he was a rich man. He had not given up then and he does not give up now. So as you, you cannot give up now, you have come a long way, stand and keep moving, it may be slow but it surely will come to pass.
All his life had been a struggle and a striving and a wrestling. But the real struggle had always been with this one with whom he now grappled -- this unknown adversary in the night. Wrestling with God deepens our relationship with Him and brings revelation knowledge.
Jacob had been worried about his encounter with Esau. Now he has an encounter in the middle of the night with one that is much greater than Esau. Jacob had been wrestling all his life. But now he comes to understand that his real struggle has been a spiritual one.
Jacob’s victory is not one of strength, but of desperation. It is a struggle of faith. He holds on to the angel and refuses to let go. The One to whom he holds is not bound by Jacob’s strength, but by Jacob’s faith. Jacob wants what he has always wanted -- the blessing of God. He holds to the One who can give the blessing. He holds to the One who is the blessing.
Jacob’s struggling earned him a new name. For his struggle “with God and with men” had prevailed, his name was changed to Israel (prince with God). When we have favour with God nothing can stop us. He is the only one who holds the key to our success in life.

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