When Jacob was young, he was not of the highest moral character. He was a schemer, and wanted what he felt he deserved. He wanted it bad enough to defraud his brother, Esau, of his birthright. Jacob took advantage of Esau's weakness. And in a time of hunger, Esau agreed to trade his birthright for a bowl of stew.
We might think, how dumb of Esau! What was he thinking? But, we are not always unlike him. Do we make mistakes when we are weak and weary? Or do we always make wise choices? There is a deceiver who patiently waits in the wings to take advantage of our weakness.
Was Jacob satisfied with manipulating his brother? Or did he want more? The bible says he went on to trick his father when he was dying by disguising himself as Esau, so he would receive his father's blessing. He not only frauded his father and his brother, he also did the same to God.
Are we satisfied when we are filled with what the world has to offer us? Or do we always want more? I know my answer to that.
Jacob's unwise decisions led him to be conflicted with his family. He ran from them, but soon discovered he could not run from God. He also discovered that a fool can be fooled. For seven years he worked for Laban to earn the marriage of his daughter, Rachel. Was Laban honest with Jacob? No, he tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead. Jacob then worked seven more years to be with his beloved Rachel.
Jacob did come to realize he could not do without the Lord's guidance in his life. He had not chosen to listen to the Lord, he wanted to do things his own way. But God had other plans for Jacob's life. He had a purpose for him, just as He has a purpose for us. Will we listen and follow willingly? Or struggle with the Lord as Jacob did? The Lord loved Jacob enough to be firm with him, to make him uncomfortable so he would turn and surrender. He loves us just as much.
Often times I am overwhelmed by the greatness of God, He is more than I can wrap my head around. I don't understand why He does things, (however I don't believe that I always need to understand them). So when things get too confusing for me to understand, I think of Him as my Father. What does a father want for his children?
When I think of how I try to teach and train my children, I begin to understand. Sometimes, as parents we have to do things that are not pleasant. We don't always get to make the fun choices, we are not going to be popular with our children. Often time we have to make them uncomfortable to learn the lesson of right and wrong. We do this because we love them, we want what is best for them. The Lord loves us. He wants what is best for us. He want us to do His will in our lives. And He's not afraid to "dislocate a hip" to get His point across.
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."
But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he answered.
28 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."
29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name."
But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."