Friday, January 10, 2014

Genesis 32-36

In Genesis 32-36, Jacob is following God’s instructions to return home with his wife, children, and possessions, and his drama continues.  No sooner had Jacob recovered from a big run-in with his father-in-law, he has to start thinking about facing his brother for the first time in a long time.  Remember Esau, who wanted to kill Jacob for tricking their father and stealing his blessing?  The two weren’t exactly on good terms.  You and I know God is with Jacob, but that doesn’ t stop him from being overcome with fear.  In the end, all is well, and the two brothers work it out.  It’s a good thing because a short time later, Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped.  Jacob’s sons are angry and take matters into their own hands to get revenge on the local people who wronged their sister.  Like I said, drama, drama, drama.  And from it all, God establishes the 12 tribes of Israel, His chosen people.  Interesting isn’t it? 

Like his grandfather, Abraham, Jacob has many encounters with God in his lifetime, and those experiences help him grow in his faith.  As he faces the drama in his life, Jacob learns to rely on God more and more, and God changes him for the better, even his name changes to Israel.   

Don’t we all have drama to face at times in our life?  I know we have in my family.  We can really be one big, hot mess of a crew.  The thing is, God can really use drama to be a reflection of his perfect love for us.  

I love how Jacob handles the situation with his brother, who happens to have an entourage of hundreds of men.  He’s scared to death and filled with dread, but he doesn’t run.  He spends time with God.  He makes a plan, and he prays.

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 faithfulnessyou 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.’”

Jacob’s conversation with God is crucial.  Jacob reminds God (and himself) of His promises.  He humbles himself, and gives God all the credit.  He shares his problems and his fears about them.  Then, Jacob is very direct in asking God for what he needs.  To close, he, again, reminds God (and himself) of His promises.

Then Jacob sleeps on it.  He makes plans for approaching the encounter with gifts as a respectful loving servant (that’s the really hard part).  Jacob wrestles with God some more, and then he comes face to face with his brother.  He follows through with his plan. 

What do you know?  The past wrongs are forgiven.  They are never even mentioned.  The reunion is an emotional, beautiful hug, overflowing with love.

So the next time I am in the middle of a “situation” or a potentially disastrous mess, I am going to think about Jacob.  Walk with God.  Spend lots of time with Him.  Plan.  Sleep on it.  Pray my heart out.  Wrestle with it some more.  Give and serve with all my pinned up energy instead of talking about the conflict.  Love.

God's love heals.   

Good advice.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for using all of my circumstances to draw me closer to You.  Thank You for hearing my prayers, guiding my steps, and working out the details for Your glory.  Forgive my hot-headedness and my selfish reactions in the midst of life’s drama.  Help me to be a peacemaker.  Fill me with grace and forgiveness.  Guide me in giving to and serving others, even in the middle of conflict.  Be with me especially as I deal with _____________(talk to God about any current conflicts).  I want to be a reflection of Your healing love.  

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Peace of Christ,

    *This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.


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