Read Genesis 31
Laban's jealousy; Jacob flees; Jacob wrestles with the Angel of God; his name changed to Israel; peace between Jacob and Esau.
God blessed Jacob. But the greed and jealousy of Laban and his sons resulted in a hostile attitude toward Jacob, the servant of God. The LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers . . . and I will be with thee. . . . I am the God of Bethel, where thou . . . vowedst a vow (made a pledge) unto Me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred (Gen. 31:3,13).
After 20 years, Jacob was returning home with his 2 wives, 2 concubines, 11 sons and 1 daughter, and many servants and flocks. Esau, who had maliciously threatened to kill Jacob (27:41-45), was approaching with 400 men and Jacob was greatly afraid (32:3,6-7). He hastily divided his wives, children, servants, and flocks into two groups, reasoning that if Esau should come upon one camp and destroy it, the remaining camp could escape in the opposite direction.
Then, in the dark of night, Jacob was left alone. He earnestly prayed and reminded the Lord that He had said: Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee (32:9). There is a lesson to be learned from Jacob. We need to know what God has said, and then we too need to rely on His promises. Most important, Jacob was praying for the fulfillment of the Covenant promise concerning the Messiah that God had made to His grandfather Abraham (22:18; 26:4; comp. Acts 3:25).
This godly and humble servant of the Lord spent the night alone with God, prevailing in prayer. Following this, he was conferred with the highest honor given by God to any man in Old Testament history: Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed (overcome) (Gen. 32:28). Through the centuries, the people of God would be called by his name — Israelites. Through his son Judah, Jesus the Messiah was promised (49:10).
We too are in a Covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior and our Mediator, who declared that the Christian life also requires struggle: Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24; Matt. 7:13-14).
Even though we are faced with many difficulties, like Jacob we can, through prevailing prayer, be overcomers because Jesus promised: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Thought for Today:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (I Cor. 10:13).
As the Angel (Messenger) of God who guides (Gen. 31:11-13). The Angel speaks not merely in the Name of God but as God, leaving no doubt that He is the Lord Jesus in His preincarnate state. I and My Father are One (John 10:30).
31:1 glory, wealth; 31:19 images, family idols; 31:30 sore longedst after, greatly longed to return home; 31:36 chode, argued; 32:2 host, army encampment; 32:16 drove, herd; 32:25 hollow, hip socket; 32:28 hast prevailed, have overcame; 32:31 halted, limped; 33:2 hindermost, last; 33:14 softly, slowly; 33:17 booths, temporary shelters (tabernacles) (Lev. 23:42-43).
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Carl Miller • Bible Pathway Media Director: Rick Hash • Government Official: Rep. Michael R. Turner (OH) • Country: Monaco (32,000) in southeastern France • Major languages: French and English • No open evangelism permitted • 90% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in faith and the Lord will answer (Mark 11:24).
Optional Reading: Matthew 11
Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:15