Text: Genesis 31-33
What does it say?
Jacob no longer had favor with laban; therefore, he took all that he acquired while working for Laban and departed for the land of Canaan. Rachel, his wife, stole idols from Laban and hid them. Laban chased after Jacob but did not attack because he was warned by God in a dream; therefore, he made a covenant with Jacob. He made Jacob swear before God but did not do so from his own fear of the Lord but Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. Jacob feared Esau, so he sent before him a gift of livestock and divided his positons and persons, so that all could not be attacked at once. Jacob wrestled with God all that night and God changed his name to Israel, for he wrestled with God and with men and prevailed; however, Jacob was injured and limped thereafter. Esau received Jacob and received Jacobs gift; therefore, Jacob entered the land and settled near the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan.
What does it mean?
Life is a struggle and it is impossible to live in this world without some contention. If you work hard and prosper, someone will be jealous. If you live obedient to the word of the Lord, someone will call you pious or self-righteous. If you proclaim the word of God, you may be called judgmental. It is impossible to live in this world without contention. The best that we can do is live according to the Word of the Lord, observing all that Jesus commanded. Christian children are taught to observe the Word of the Lord and they may do so, from our fear of the Lord and not their own. Every believer must meet the Lord. Jacob saw the Lord as the God of his fathers. He first meet the Lord at Bethel and saw that the Lord caused him to prevail while working for Laban. Jacob still struggled with unbelief. He wrestled with the Lord and came face to face with God. A child may observe the Word of the Lord because of his/her parents fear but at some point they will need to wrestle with the Lord face to face.
What shall I do?
There are two things that the early church did: They told people about a man and a gift. The man is Jesus and the gift is eternal life in the kingdom of God. I shall not worry about the struggles in this life and all who might contend with me. I shall tell people about the free gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I cannot make anyone believe. Everyone must come face to face with God. Everyone struggles with God and with man. Belief in Jesus Christ means piece with God but it will cause difficulties with the flesh. The flesh and the spirit never get along. However, I shall wrestle with the flesh but only in Jesus Christ shall I prevail.