Jan 19: Gen 32, 33 | Psa 36 | Matt 21
Reading 1 - Gen 32:30,31
"So Jacob called the place Peniel [face of God] saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared' " (Gen 32:30).
Brethren, do we wrestle with God? How do we confront our "enemies"? Do we go through life dividing our time between praying and plotting? Do we ask for help and then scheme in unworthy ways to obtain our goals, giving the lie to all our worthier thoughts? Do we twist and turn and worry under every constraint to our own wills, never pausing to remind ourselves that God is in control of everything, and that what we "suffer" as well as what we "enjoy" contribute alike to His purpose?
It is so easy to forget the lesson of Shimei's cursing of David, that God had sent the "enemy" -- so who are we to ask "why"? (2Sa 16:10). Likewise, the reply of Jesus to Pilate: "Thou shouldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11). For us the problem is the same as Jacob's: how to remember in our troubled hours what we take for granted in our quieter moments; that "All things work together for good to them that love God" and, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Assuredly we shall all come to times when our theoretical belief in such an idea will be put to the test of reality.
We should see ourselves in Jacob, and Jacob in ourselves. The experiences of this flesh-and-blood man have direct relevance to us. Do we fear and doubt? Do we vacillate between faith in God and scheming on our own account? So did he! But in his weakness he was drawn finally and completely to God. Let us have the humility and grace, and wisdom, to follow his path.
There is comfort in this thought, that Jacob never became perfect -- that he never could bring himself to trust God absolutely, and yet God loved him. And so it may be with us. God has condescended to be known as the "God of Jacob" (the one who "wrestled"), not just the "God of Israel" (the "Prince with God")!!