Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, January 18, 2016
Limp for Your Life
Jacob was a twin, born second to his brother Esau who emerged first from the womb. Jacob’s birth was so close in time to his brother’s that Jacob was born holding on to Esau’s heel. Jacob was given his name because it meant “heel catcher”, which is a Hebrew synonym for “deceiver, manipulator, or schemer”. The image of the name means “to seize someone by the heel, to trip someone up by gripping the heel”. It describes a sneak attack where one lies in ambush for the enemy.
Jacob soon lived up to his name by making enemies in his family. His first recorded act of deceit was to maneuver Esau out of his birthright privilege. Jacob persuaded Esau to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew. Later, Jacob tricked his blind father Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing. Esau was devastated and vowed to kill Jacob someday. Jacob ran for his life to Padam Aram where he settled with Laban, his mother’s relative.
While in Padam Aram, Jacob fell victim to some of his own tricks and was deceived by Laban. After twenty years, Jacob rebelled and tricked Laban. Fearing Laban’s wrath, Jacob once again ran for his life and decided to go home. Jacob soon realized, however, what a bad spot he was in. He couldn’t go back to his father-in-law’s place, even after making an uneasy truce with him (Genesis 31:52). His only other choice was to go home, where Esau waited to kill him.
Only the Jabbok River stood between Jacob and Esau. Jacob had nowhere to run – he couldn’t go forward and he couldn’t go back. Having sent his family ahead, Jacob settled down for the night, waiting, wondering, and worrying how his brother Esau would react to his bribes – would he accept them or kill him? Suddenly, without warning, a man leaped out of the darkness and wrestled Jacob to the ground – was it Esau, a hired assassin, or a thief?
Whomever Jacob thought it was, Jacob did not welcome the intruder. Instinctively, Jacob resisted and wrestled with his adversary. The contest lastedall night. The intruder was actually God, who found Jacob so resistant that He touched Jacob’s hip socket and performed radical surgery, wrenching the tendon. Jacob was now a broken man, and would limp for the rest of his life. He would no longer run anywhere.
Spiritually, our toughest battles are often with God, not with Satan. It can often be easier to say “No” to the devil than it is to say “Yes” to God. How often have you wrestled in the night against what you thought was the enemy, only to discover in the dawn that the One you fought as an enemy was really God coming to bless you? We often misinterpret God’s blessings as burdens. Think of salvation itself. For those who are lost, salvation and the things of God often seem burdensome. Even Paul fought and prayed against “the messenger from Satan, the thorn in his flesh”, until he discovered God had sent that thorn to bless him.
Jacob limped across the Jabbok a broken man, but found God had softened the heart of his brother. Esau’s 400 men were no longer the enemy. God used impossible circumstances to break Jacob – he couldn’t run forward and he couldn’t run back. So God broke him and made him limp that day and for the rest of his days.
It is normal for God to break us with impossible circumstances. Without them, we try to be self-reliant, self-sufficient, and self-confident. Sometimes we even deceive others to achieve our goals. But God’s greatest blessings cannot be received until we have been broken. Since we resist God and His blessings, God often has to break us before He can bless us.
Jacob said to God, “O God, I cannot let you go until you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26). Are you ready to let God break you and to tell Him you are ready to be what He wants you to be, do what He wants you to do, go where He wants you to go, say what He wants you to say, change what He wants you to change, and receive what He wants you to receive? Nothing else but a literal, physical handicap and breaking would work for Jacob. What will it take for God to break you?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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