A Temple I Called Hope by Jamie Iain Genovese
I’ve been studying Jacob….and my Western mentality keeps getting in the way. Why choose him God? We “Good Girls”, we struggle to understand. He wasn’t a nice man.
And I follow him on his journey, hoping for an epiphany.
He begins in a place I am familiar with. He begins by running from his past. He tries to outrun consequences, but only prolongs them for another time. And I can understand this, because even “Good Girls” do that.
But even in his running, God meets him on his way. He shows him a glimpse of His glory, and what he’s missing by avoiding Him. And grace is hard to understand, as is favor and righteous judgement. All I can do is shake my head and wonder at mercy given.
JACOB’S LADDER by Michael Goyberg
For Jacob makes some rather proud promises to God. “If you take care of me, then I’ll make you my God.” As if he’s doing God a favor. Have I acted like that? Like my service to God is a favor to Him? And Jacob calls this place the House of God. So he travels on, away from God’s house, but not away from his challenge to God, because, you see, God did take care of Jacob. abundantly. At this point, grace is even harder to understand, because good people struggle sometimes, they struggle just to make it. The “Good Girl” in me asks again: Why him, God? Why Jacob?
After years of prosperity the Lord reminds Jacob of his deal with God. Jacob is tired. He is tired of being deceived and deceiving. He and Laban have spent years trying to outsmart the other. God has called him to return to Caanan. Do you know what Canaan means, dear one? It means “humbled”. Though Jacob has become what those around him would consider great, he has some unfinished business with God, and the road to this end requires humility, something Jacob has not displayed.
Now that Jacob returns to face his past, his present comes chasing after him. The deceit and bickering continues, for unbeknownst to Jacob, Rachel has stolen from her father. The two men, make a covenant and a monument to remember it by, but to Laban it is only a “heap of rocks.” To Jacob? “A heap of witness.” Now I see a glimmer of integrity in Jacob, a man who understands commitment and covenant. For where one man sees some rocks another sees covenant witnessed by God. Each man promises not to cross over that place. Jacob chooses to change camps, to reassociate himself with his own family, with the house of God, renaming the place Mahanaim “the place of two camps.”
How many do we know who refuse to leave behind the old camp? The people who encourage a dependance on anyone but God? I begin to understand; these whys of Jacob. Why he is chosen. Why he is venerated.
But he still has that old fear to face. His brother. The man whom he hurt most. Last time he heard from Esau, he pledged to kill Jacob. Still he presses on; on through his fear. In his distress, he sends men before him to plead his case. But this isn’t enough. He can not send another man to see the face of his brother, to look in his eye; to face his greatest fear; the fear of asking for forgiveness.
Fear by marlow starr
He sends a present, a generous gift, and separates that which is precious from that which is commonplace, keeping those precious ones close to him and sending the commonplace before him. He prays once more, no longer an arrogant young man hoping to outrun his consequences, but a humble, mature man building his courage to face what has long terrified him. No longer a man attempting to cheat God out of a blessing, feeling that God’s blessing, like the birthright and blessing of his father was owed to him, something he deserved. Instead, he pleads, “I am not worthy of the least of of all the mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shown thy servant.”
And he was left alone. There is a part of the journey which we must travel alone. We can not send someone to do our dirty work; what we fear most doing. We can not buy our way out of it, though a gift may be a wise predecessor to our words. We must wrestle, struggle with the will of God. all. by. ourselves. We must not let go until we have the grace to continue on. For the journey is never something we can do on our own. In our own wisdom, or talent or skills. It always requires a wrestling. A wrestling with our own desires, fears and lack of confidence.
I wonder if Jacob knew that he was wrestling with God while he was wrestling with God? At first it only states that he wrestled with a man, until he asked his name. Who is it that you contend with, believing them to be your battle in life, your struggle? Do you truly wrestle with them, or with the will of God in your life? “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…”
And he calls this place “the face of God”. And having seen His face, Jacob returns, broken and soft. When he sees his brother, he says that he sees the face of God. Did Esau look like God? He did in the fact that in order to be entirely right with God, Jacob had to search the eyes of his brother for forgiveness. And now God’s forgiveness was complete in Him.
Brothers by Frédéric Mars
What fears do you face? Pray with me for grace, dear one? “Lord, give me the strength to wrestle with you long enough to receive grace to face my fears.”