Daily D – Genesis 32:9-12
Genesis 32:9-12 9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 32:9–12.
In Genesis 28, we see Jacob make a vow in response to God’s message to him in a dream. We read his vow in verses 20-22. Notice Jacob’s “if, then” bargaining. God had told him what he would do (verses 13-15). Jacob indicated if God did what he said he would do, then he would adopt his father’s God and his grandfather’s God as his God. Jacob was not yet all in on Team God.
When the separation from Laban was in the planning stages with Jacob, Leah, and Rachel (31:4-9), Jacob speaks of God as “the God of my father,” (verse 5). During the confrontation with Laban on the journey back to Canaan, again Jacob identifies God as “the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac,” (verse 42).
Keep reading and see the oaths Laban and Jacob make toward one another. Verse 53 includes these words:
“‘May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, just between us.’ So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.”
To this point in Jacob’s life, he had at best a second-hand faith. Then things changed forever. It started with a prayer.
Chapter 32 sets up the anticipated renewal of conflict with Esau. Esau, you may recall, swore to kill Jacob (27:41). For the first time, Jacob initiates a prayer encounter with God. He still leans on the faith relationship of his father and grandfather.
He begins the prayer in verse 9 by saying, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD . . . .” The prayer is earnest and heartfelt. Jacob acknowledges God as the source of all the good things in his life. He asks to be saved from Esau. He reminded God of what he said that night when he was running from Esau right into the manipulative hands of Laban.
When did Jacob stop living off of his father and grandfather’s faith relationship with God? Verses 22-32 tell us a wonderful tale. If you are familiar with the movie, The Princess Bride, you understand what it means when the Dread Pirate Roberts/Wesley says, “I am not left-handed.” When we come to the end of this episode where Jacob has wrestled with God all night long, Jacob discovers God could have dispatched him at any time.
God demonstrated his power and authority by renaming Jacob. He also wrenched his hip. Jacob is now named Israel. The Deceiver became One Who Wrestles with God and Man and Overcomes. Jacob newly named Israel who ran from Esau and who ran from Laban will never run again.
The plan Jacob devised to appease his brother and to save his own skin was turned on its head. Whereas he had planned to stay at the rear of the column of people and possessions meeting Esau’s approach, now we see in 33:3, “He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.” Israel moved more directly into the purpose and plan of God with a limp than Jacob could with all of his strength and speed.
The bottom line of this episode comes in verse 20.
What does this mean? Mighty is the God of Israel. Jacob’s second-hand faith was discarded as he received his new name and new lifestyle. Jacob could manipulate people and situations. Israel deferred to God to lead the way, show the way, and move him along the way in his timing and in his strength.
When did your faith become a firsthand experience?
I will limp along at God’s pace and in his strength.
Our Father you are mighty. You are the Almighty. There is none like you. Thank you for a firsthand faith relationship with you. I want this to be true for my family and my friends. I want this to be true for all people everywhere. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”