Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bethany Bullet - October 19, 2010

Made Right: Through Faith

This is the second of a four-part series. If you missed the first-part see last week’s Bullet.

Genesis 32

Jacob is a dirty, rotten scoundrel! If you are unfamiliar with his story let’s do a quick review of how we got here in the first place. He fooled his father Isaac, by wearing Esau’s (his brother) shirt and disguising his body so that he had the feel and smell of Esau. Jacob presented himself as Esau to their blind, elderly father and thus obtained, by deception, the blessing that rightly belonged to Esau. After fleeing from this situation Jacob finds himself in a similar position. Jacob has slyly amassed a huge fortune for himself at the expense of his brother-in-law’s families. At least in their estimation he was less than honest in the way in which he procured his substantial and strong flocks and herds i.e. at the expense of theirs.

Now, Jacob who fled from his big brother earlier is fleeing from his new brothers, by marriage. As we arrive at our text he is between the two offended parties. Is he caught in his own trap? Before we can even answer the question an adversary comes rushing down the canyon and Jacob is engaged in a confrontation.
  • Is it his big brother, Esau, coming to get his revenge?
  • Or is it his new brothers coming to reclaim what they think are rightly theirs?

NO, his opponent is not the one who is related to him but ONE who has created him. God Himself is wrestling with Jacob.

Before we begin to see what this text means for our lives of faith; let me ask you to ponder this… How can Jacob (a dirty rotten scoundrel) who is afraid of his big brother and new brothers, by marriage, possibly hope to hold down the omnipotent God?

Now it goes without saying that the author of this Bullet is neither divine nor omnipotent. However, he is, at least for a little while still, stronger than his sons. Yet, for years I have found myself on the losing end of wrestling matches: be they thumb wrestling, arm wrestling, Greco-Roman or WWE style affairs. How is it that any dad, let alone this one, can get pinned over and over again by those he outweighs by hundred plus pounds and by those he can out lift by the same?

Jacob couldn’t possibly hope to out wrestle God. The disadvantage between him and his Creator is far more than that between any earthly father and his earthly sons. My doubt in regards to Jacob is not based upon Jacob’s past - being a guy who is a little too slick for his own good. Rather my opinion is based solely upon his competitor - God is God! No one, NO ONE, can hope to out grapple the omnipotent God and hold onto Him unless God is willing and desires to be held.

Yet, there is no denying that our text records Jacob’s refusal to let go of his hold on God. He simply refused to let God go! In the end Jacob is blessed and given a new name, Israel, one who struggles with God. There is simply too much here to go over in a Bethany Bullet. If you want the whole scoop get the full message on this text from our website as a pod cast. For now here are two points for you to hold on to:

  1. Faith doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. In fact, this episode is synonymous with faith. Clinging to God is an image of faith. No matter what anyone else, your own emotions and feelings say, being a person of faith doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. Perhaps it is the loss of a loved one, a relationship or a job? Maybe because of the state of the state or your state of mind you are left wrestling with what else can go wrong? From personal pains to global concerns maybe you are left to grapple with why God hasn’t finally, once and for all, put this or that in a sleeper hold?
  2. Yet, as one of faith, don’t let go. Cling to His certain and sure promises all kept in Jesus Christ - Crucified and Risen. And know that He desires you to cling to Him and that He Himself intends to never let you go!

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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