Monday, August 16, 2010

A LONG NIGHT

What do you do when you can't sleep? Count sheep? Drink warm milk or a glass of wine? I take an Ambien, and I'm out in thirty minutes. But my husband lays awake and thinks – and he's had some of his greatest revelations during those long nights. When we were looking for a house in Washington, we'd decided to offer on a certain place because we thought its driveway was large enough to park my father-in-law's RV. The night before submitting our offer, Roy couldn't sleep. He rehearsed the fifty houses we had visited during the week, and something about this house didn't feel right. He got up while it was still dark, took his tape-measurer, drove to the location and re-measured the driveway. Sure enough, we'd forgotten to include a crucial part of the measurement. We offered on our current home instead and have been thrilled with the decision. It would require more than my fingers and toes to count the times my husband has wrestled with a difficult issue during the night and arrived at a brilliant solution! Perhaps it's his competitive nature that compels him to fight through the exhaustion and find resolution. I simply get frustrated and reach for the sleeping aid! Not so with the determined man in my life. Not so with Jacob…

Gen. 32:22-24 – “That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (emphasis added)
  • “…Jacob got up…” would seem to imply that Jacob rousted his family out of bed to send them across the river. Why? Knowing his brother Esau was already on his way to meet him with 400 men, Jacob placed his wife, kids and possessions as a buffer between them. I think there is a line between fear and cowardice…and Jacob crossed it. Fear often reveals the deeper character, hidden by a master of deception.
Gen. 32:25-26 – “When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.‟ But he said, „I will not let you go unless you bless me.'”
  • Many of us are quite capable of making good decisions and conceiving viable life plans. We are strong mentally, physically and/or emotionally and feel as though we handle life extremely well without a Savior. God must occasionally cripple our strong area in order to reveal His power in our weakness. Because our Heavenly Father knows each one of His children intimately well, He knows where, when and to what degree to “touch” each one in order to test and refine us. Our job is to keep wrestling until the blessing comes - not begrudging God the methods of blessing.
Gen. 32:27-29 – “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.” (emphasis added)
  • I love God's questions in Scripture! He never asks because He needs information. He asks because He wants the person being questioned to THINK! In the ancient Middle East, a person's name embodied that individual's character. So, when God asked Jacob his name and Jacob said – “Yaakov” (deceiver, one who “grasps the heel”) – Jacob confessed a lifetime of deception. But here's the precious part. God renamed him “struggles with God” – not just because Jacob and his descendants would forever struggle with Him – but because Jacob had struggled and OVERCOME God. One commentator observed, “When you battle with God, you only win by losing and by not giving up until you know you have lost. This is how Jacob prevailed.”
Gen. 32:30-32 – “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. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.” (emphasis added)
  • We can learn two very important lessons from Jacob's wrestling match.
  1. Wrestling with God can be a very LONG process – they began wrestling at night, but “the sun rose above him” by the time the match was over.
  2. Both God's “touch” and His blessings can cause permanent change – Jewish tradition tells us that Jacob limped for the rest of his life.
Lord, fear drove Jacob to this wrestling match, but I wrestle with You for infinite reasons. Fear, control, doubt – or simply, ugly rebellion. Perhaps the secret to less wrestling and enduring blessing is to prevail over You by submitting to You sooner! Let it be so, Lord. Let it be so.

2 comments:

Katie M said...
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Katie M said...

Mesu, I was trying to find your email to get in touch with you concerning your upcoming book release, but couldn't. Could you please email me at: agirlslegacy(at)yahoo(dot)com? I hope it was okay to contact you through this post! I hope to hear from you soon!

Katie McCurdy