Tag: Israel

Wrestling with God!

Scripture Reading for January 12:  Genesis 32-36

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”  Genesis 36:11-12 

Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something difficult?  Our first move away from home to pastor our first church in Washington was like that. Our daughter just ready for her senior year in a good Christian high school.  We had always lived close to family and our church family. This new church was in a different culture and was two thousand miles away. We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far!  But we are so thankful for obeying God! Our lives were made rich in His plans!

Jacob faced just such a challenge in Genesis 31:13. God commanded him to go back home after twenty years in exile. Jacob had taken his brother Esau’s birthright and stolen his father’s blessing.  He had just upset his father-in-law by leaving with his family and herds acquired by his shrewdness.  Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River. He heard reports that Esau was coming with 400 men  and he stayed behind to pray.

That night Scripture says “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”.  (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint.  But Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him.  The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat, supplanter).  The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.)  Thus the nation of “Israel” was born out of this amazing wrestling match!   

Have you ‘wrestled with God’? Is there something that God is asking you to do that is troubling or dangerous or causes fear? Confess your old ‘name’. Persistently seek the Lord for His provision and blessing and humbly receive His new name for you!  

“He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  Revelation 2:17

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Wrestling with God’s will?

Scripture Reading for January 13th:  Genesis 32-36

Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something that you knew had the potential for trouble? Our first move away from home to pastor a church in Washington was like that.  We were used to being around family and a loving church.  We were not sure they would like us.  We wrestled about moving our daughter in her senior year of high school.  We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far!

Jacob faced a similar challenge in his move back from Paddan Aram to his homeland.  God commanded him to go back but he was concerned about the brother he had left behind nearly 20 years ago who was plotting to kill him.  (Genesis 31:3, 13) Jacob had taken this brother’s birthright and stolen his father’s blessing.  He had also just left his father-in-law upset by leaving.  Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River.  He stayed behind to pray.

That night “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”.  (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint.  Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him.  The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat, supplanter).  The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.)   The nation of Israel was birthed by a man wrestling with God!

Wrestling with God isn’t a bad thing if we are desperate for His blessing!  God loves it when we lay hold of Him as our only hope!  It’s a sure way to true blessing; but we may walk with a limp!  Thankfully, our old ways of cheating, lying and manipulation are left behind.  We have a “new Name” written down in Glory and are destined to overcome!

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”  Genesis 36:11-12

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The Olive Tree!

Scripture reading for July 28th: Romans 11:13-36

Olive trees were common in Israel.  They were a source of food and of oil for cooking and light.  Olive trees live for hundreds of years and are tough enough to survive in the harsh climate and endure periods of little rainfall.  The olive tree had deep roots that went into the rocky soil to anchor it and nourish the branches.

Paul used an analogy of a tame olive tree representing Israel. (Romans 11:16b-24)   Gentiles were ‘wild olive shoots’ that God grafted into the ‘Israel olive tree”.  Those Jews who hardened themselves from Israel were likened to tame olive branches or shoots that were pruned or broken off  by God because of their lack of faith.  Paul warned the Gentiles who had been grafted in not to become arrogant and think that somehow they had earned their place and the Jews were inferior.  They should live in holy fear of God who could also remove them from this special tree!  (Romans 10:20-21)

Paul also encouraged the Gentiles and Jewish Christians in Rome that God was also able to graft the broken natural branches of the Jews back into this tree.  In fact, this is God’s plan after the full number of Gentiles are saved!  (Romans 11:25-27)  God loves the Jews and they will again have opportunity to be grafted in because of God’s faithful promises to the patriarchs!  (Romans 11:28-29)

God is so amazing!  His ways are above our ways and we our response should be worship!  Paul worshiped God for His amazing plan to save Jew and Gentile through the Gospel!  “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been His counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen!” (Romans 11:33-36)

Have you taken time lately to praise God for His mercy to you?  Have you thanked Him for His mercy to Israel and through Israel by sending Jesus Christ as our Savior?  Today is a great time to write or speak a personal doxology of praise to our amazing Lord and Savior!  There is none like Him!

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Wrestling with God!

Scripture Reading for January 13: Genesis 32-36

Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something that you knew had the potential for trouble?  You know you heard the Lord but needed reassurance that it was going to work out.  Our first move away from home to pastor a church in Washington was like that.  We were used to being around family and familiar surrounding.  We had gone to a church with some strife.  We were not sure they would like us or love us after we got there.  We wrestled concerning our move of 2000 miles with our daughter just ready for her senior year in high school.  We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far!

Jacob faced just such a challenge in his move back from Paddan Aram to his homeland.  God commanded him to go back but he was concerned about the brother he had left behind nearly 20 years ago.  (Genesis 31:3, 13) Jacob had taken this brother’s birthright and stolen his blessing.   Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River.   He stayed behind to pray.

That night he was alone and Scripture says “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”.  (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint.  Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him.  The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat).  The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.)   The man wouldn’t give Israel his name, but did bless him and left.  Israel named the place “Peniel”.  This name states that he believed he had seen God face to face and was spared!  Thus the nation of “Israel” was born out of this amazing wrestling match!

The moral of the story is that God always wins when we wrestle Him!  He works His plans in us and works out His purposes through us.  Jacob was jealous for the blessing of God and ended up with the promise of a nation and a land from God Himself!

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Genesis 36:11-12

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Famous Last Words–the Lion Roars!

Scripture reading for January 17th:  Genesis 48-50

Have you ever been at the bedside of a loved one who was soon to enter eternity?  If they are alert and able to talk, we listen for every word and thought. In this present time,  drugs for pain control limit our contact or the dying person’s ability to communicate.  Joseph or someone in the family took down  Jacob’s  last words to each family member.  He gave a special blessing to Joseph’s two sons, Ephriam and Manasseh.  He then spoke a word, also recorded,  over the other sons.  (Genesis 49:9-20)

The blessing of Joseph’s sons effectively made Joseph the first-born.  Israel blessed Joseph and adopted the boys. In this way, Joseph would get the double portion. ( The first-born was to get a double portion of the inheritance.)  The other brothers had tried to kill Joseph and cut him out, but God re-established his place and doubled the inheritance!  Israel also chose Ephriam over Manasseh.  The younger over the older.  All blessing and God’s reward comes not from birth order but Divine order!  God alone knows the hearts and the end from the beginning!

One other blessing is worth noting.  Judah also received a word in Genesis 49:8-12.  Judah was told that his brothers would praise him. (His name means “praise”.)  His hand would be on the neck of his enemies and his father’s sons would bow down to him.  He was called a “lion’s cub”.  Jesus was the offspring of Judah in the genealogy of Matthew 1:3.  He is known as the “Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5)  He triumphed over all God’s enemies!  (Colossians 3:15) He is King of Kings and rules over nations!   (Revelation 15:3-4) Through some of the “last words” of Israel, written almost 4000 years ago, we have a prophecy of Jesus Christ!

Israel finally made Joseph swear to take his bones back to the promised land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).  He so believed in God returning and that land being his property that he wanted to be buried there.  Israel got his wish and awaits the resurrection in the near future!  What famous last words!  What a way to go! The only thing better  will be the rapture!

What would you say if you just had a very short time left here on earth?  What words would you leave with those closest to you?  Would your faith be evident in you life and statements?

“You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son.  Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?  The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” Genesis 49:9-10.

“When Jacob had finished  giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

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Wrestling with God–God Wins Again!

Scripture Reading for January 13:  Genesis 32-36

Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something that you knew had the potential for trouble?  You know you heard the Lord but needed reassurance that it was going to work out in spite of the very real potential.  Our first move away from home to pastor a church in Washington was like that.  We were used to being around family and familiar surrounding.  The church we took had had some problems too.  We were not sure they would like us or love us when the going got tough.  We wrestled some concerning our move of 2000 miles with our daughter just ready for her senior year in a good Christian high school.  We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far! 

Jacob faced just such a challenge in his move back from Paddan Aram to his homeland.  God commanded him to go back but he was concerned about the brother he had left behind nearly 20 years ago who was plotting to kill him.  (Genesis 31:3, 13) Jacob had taken this brother’s birthright and stolen his father’s blessing.  He had also just left his father-in-law upset by leaving and losing his family and herds to Jacob’s shrewdness.  Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River.  He divided them in groups and sent gifts for Esau but was in great fear and trembling when he heard Esau was coming with 400 men to meet him.  He stayed behind to pray.

That night he was alone and Scripture says “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”.  (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint.  Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him.  The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat, supplanter).  The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.)   The man wouldn’t give Israel his name, but did bless him and left.  Israel named the place “Peniel”.  This name states that he believed he had seen God face to face and was spared!  Thus the nation of “Israel” was born out of this amazing wrestling match!  God wins again! 

Wrestling with God isn’t a bad thing if we are desparate for His blessing!  God loves it when we lay hold of Him as our only hope!  It’s a sure way to true blessing, but we may walk with a limp!  It’s a humbling thing to be touched by the Lord!  We will never walk the same way again!  Thankfully, ways of cheating, lying and manipulating to get our way are left behind.  Our past is gone!  We have a “new Name” written down in Glory! 

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”  Genesis 36:11-12 

“He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  Revelation 2:17

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