Monday, July 18, 2011

Genesis 32:22-32 PART 2

I want to start today with a verse that Beth Moore refers to as it pertains to this last scene in Genesis 32:

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. (Psalm 3:3 KJV)

I LOVE this verse! I need a shield around me - Someone protecting me not only from my enemies, but from myself and my foolish, disobedient heart. When I’ve fallen, when I’ve blown it in a relationship or completely damaged my witness because of something I’ve said or done, I feel so horrible - and Satan begins the condemnation. That’s when I cling to this verse! I love that He lifts my head! When I am bowed in shame before Him, He lifts my chin that I might look full into His face. What a tender and gracious Father we have! And this is the situation with Jacob here:

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. (Gen 32:26-31)

As Jacob is preparing to meet Esau, he has to be reliving his deception and the consequences that followed. And also anticipating the consequences that may be ahead of him in this reunion. Surely he must have felt guilt and shame. God knows this. Note that God asks Jacob what his name is. This is not because God is looking for the answer - He KNOWS with whom He is wrestling! He asks Jacob the question because He wants Jacob to think about the answer. Jesus used this technique of questioning all the time to bring people to a realization about their beliefs. [I do this as a teacher often when I’m trying to make a point with a student]. So when Jacob has to say his own name, what he is basically saying is, “I am Jacob - a liar, a conniving deceiver!”

And our gracious Father responds with a name change! He has already touched Jacob’s hip so that his walk will never be the same again, but now God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, which means struggles with God, so that Jacob, himself, will never be the same. God now sees Him through eyes of grace as one who works through all things with His God in a new, intimate relationship.

Note that Jacob wants to know God’s name, but God doesn’t respond. Jacob will learn all of the names of God throughout the rest of his lifetime. He’ll learn about Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides, Jehovah-Shammah, the God who is present, El-Roi, the strong God who sees, and El-Elyon, the Most High God who is all-powerful and holy. He’ll experience moments of great peace with Jehovah-Rohi, His great Shepherd, and Jacob will know the protection that comes from Jehovah-Sabbaoth, the Lord of Hosts.

And some of that will come through the struggles that Jacob will continue to have. But after this one encounter, Jacob is forever changed! And He has learned that even when it seems that God is against us, as in this wrestling match, He is really always FOR us! He WANTS us to become overcomers - which means we will be given plenty of opportunities in our lives which will require struggle and perseverance.
God wants to give us a new name. In fact we are told in Revelation 2:17 that one day each of us will be given a new name that will be known only to God and us. It will be a name that reflects our walk with God. It will be a name that does not condemn but one that lifts our head! I can’t wait to find out what mine will be!!!


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