March 3, 2009
Jacob becomes Real
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday we looked at the beloved children’s story, the Velveteen Rabbit. Today, let’s look at a man named Jacob. Jacob – now there was a fellow who didn’t know how to be real. He was the son of Isaac and the twin brother of Esau. When he was born, even though he was not the firstborn, God promised that the older (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). Jacob was always his momma’s favorite, and she wanted to make sure he received the blessing of the firstborn. Rather than trust God to do what He said He would do, she decided to help God out a bit. So she dressed Jacob up like his hairy brother and tricked her nearly blind husband into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob. Approaching his deathbed, Isaac asked Jacob, “Are you really my son Esau?”
“I am,” he lied.
So Isaac gave Esau’s blessing to Jacob.
Later, when Jacob became marrying age, His father-in-law-to-be tricked him into marrying the weak-eye Leah, rather than the promised Rachel. Ah, but Jacob wouldn’t be outdone. After all, he had learned from the best – his mom. Jacob in turn tricked his father-in-law and took the best of his livestock for himself. Jacob was a trickster and he continued to be in control of his life…or so he thought.
But there came a time in Jacob’s life when he couldn’t control his circumstances. He was heading back to his homeland to face his brother Esau…the one from whom he had stolen his birthright and inheritance. Would Esau kill him? Would Esau welcome him? Would Esau slay his family? Would Esau forgive him? All these questions and more tumbled around in Jacob’s mind.
The night before he was to come face to face with his brother, Jacob had a close encounter of the heavenly kind. In Genesis chapter 32 we read about his wrestling match with an angel. For years Jacob had been trying to control and manage his life on his own terms. But he knew he had no control over what was going to happen the next day when he faced Esau. All night Jacob wrested with the angel, trying to convince the angel to bless him. But before that could happen, Jacob had to face reality.
When Jacob’s father, Isaac, had asked him, “Who are you?” Jacob had pretended to be someone he was not and answered… “Esau.” During the wrestling match, the angel gave Jacob another chance to right that wrong.
“What is your name?” the angel asked.
This time Jacob didn’t pretend to be someone he was not, but answered truthfully. “Jacob,” he replied.
No pretending, no trying to leave a good impression, no explaining, no justifying. Jacob spoke the absolute truth. Jacob – the schemer, the deceiver, the manipulator, the con artist. That’s who I am.
Once Jacob decided to be real and give up trying to be someone he was not, God empowered him with His strength and gave him a new name. No more was he Jacob the “trickster,” but now he was Israel, “Prince with God.” Oh yes, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Sometimes that’s the result of being real. But that limp was a reminder to Jacob for the rest of his life that God was in control. He didn’t need tricks to succeed. He just needed God.
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be real and transparent today. Thank you for accepting me just the way I am, but loving me enough not to let me stay that way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
The angel could have “taken” Joseph without a struggle at all. Why do you think the angel wrestled with Joseph?
What do you think God was trying to do with this wrestling match?
Is there a limp in your life or a scar on your soul that reminds you of a time that you wrestled with God? Are you wrestling still?
More From The Girlfriends
We can have a great impact on those around us when we live an authentic Christian life. My friend Gwen calls it “organic” living. No fake stuff. No additives. Just the pure real deal. If you would like to learn more about living the authentic Christian life with no “fake stuff added,” see Your Scars are Beautiful to God.
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