Today’s Tasting: Genesis 32-34 (MSG): 6 The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We talked to your brother Esau and he’s on his way to meet you. But he has four hundred men with him.”7-8 Jacob was scared. Very scared. Panicked, he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two camps. He thought, “If Esau comes on the first camp and attacks it, the other camp has a chance to get away.” 9-12 And then Jacob prayed … I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. … 22-23 But during the night he got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He got them safely across. 24-25 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” 27 The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” 28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” 29-30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”
Today’s Nourishment: Although our actions bear consequences, God has forgiven us and grace surrounds us. In Today’s Tasting we find Jacob in a place where fear could very well have overtaken him. His terror stems from a time in his past when he deceitfully assumed his brother’s birthright. Now he must face his brother again and be confronted by his past sins.
Often we find ourselves confronted with actions from our past that have surfaced again. However, we no longer have to be ashamed or hide from anyone, if we believe that Jesus accepts us as we are and that if we confess our sins then they are forgiven. When we find ourselves in this position and people in our lives bring up circumstances from our past it becomes important to focus on our relationship with God and hear what He is saying to us in this situation. Jacob’s encounter with the angel proves to us that God listens, hears and acts based on our willingness to hold fast to His Word and our understanding of who He is. He has great things to show us if, like Jacob, we are willing to hold on and stay rooted in His Word and obedient. Jacob found his position changed when God told him his name was no longer Jacob, which meant supplanter and was a reminder of his deceitful past. Instead of being known as a thief and liar, God gave him a new name, Israel, meaning one who strives with God. Like Jacob, we can relinquish our sins and failures to God and move forward because through His blood we are redeemed, covered and loved.
How will you handle the person who reminds you of your past sins? Can you remain faithful to God, accept His forgiveness, and recognize that your past is a testimony?
Tomorrow’s Delight: Genesis 35-37
Sonyita S. Connor-Clemons