USED BY GOD (Jacob)
God made a promise to Abraham only two generations ago. A promise that he would make him and his offspring countless and numerous and a blessing to the world. We’re 29 chapters into the bible and we saw that God is a promise keeper. He was able to give a 100-year-old man and his 90-year-old wife a son. As we read about Jacob, we see a number of things happen in this man’s life that are almost funny and crazy. What can we learn from the Life of Jacob, when it comes to our 21 century Walk With God?
We notice first that Jacob is called a deceiver. This guy straight up deceived his own father and took advantage of his father’s eyesight, in order to steal his older brother’s blessing. From the very beginning, we may think that this guy is going to end up living evil and ungodly life. We may even pop the question, “How could God ever use Jacob?” Do you feel like that sometimes? Do you feel like you have screwed up so much in life and made so many bad choices, that God would never use you? I would like to imagine, maybe Jacob might have been thinking the same, maybe that’s a reason why he was willing to take his brother’s birthright and then go after his blessing too. Maybe Jacob lived a deceitful life?
This guy has a history of deceiving people, one of the first things said about him is right in Genesis 27:35-36 – But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.” Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
On top of being known as a deceiver, he is an extremely bad husband. In chapters 29 – 30, we see Jacob get married to two women, who happen to be sisters. The bible says that he didn’t love one of the women he married, because he was forced and he got deceived into getting married to one of the women. The deceiver got deceived. Jacob got a taste of his own medicine. The thing though is that he was married now to this woman and he now has a God-given duty to love, truly love his wife, but the Bible literally says, “The Lord saw Leah was hated” Genesis 29:31. That’s the ESV, the NIV says “not loved” Imagine the extreme heartbreak in this woman’s heart.
This brokenness led two a fight, almost like a war between the two sisters/wives. From verses 29:31-30:24, we see Jacob’s wives competing with each other to see who can give more kids to Jacob and when they aren’t able to give birth to any kids, they give Jacob their servants to sleep with and have kids in place of the wife.
So this is the cool part. All of Jacob’s screw-ups in life bring us to these 4 different women giving Jacob 12 kids. These 12 children become the 12 tribes of Israel. Think about the nationality of each woman. Two of them were Jacob’s own people, but the two servant women most likely were of other nationality. It looks like God took three different races of people and created the 12 tribes of Israel. So from the very beginning of the birth of Israel, we see God including other nations and he does it through two women that are fighting each other.
We see that Jacob had a bad relationship with his brother at the beginning of Jacob’s life. Esau wanted to kill Jacob, so Jacob fled and for a while, he was not around Esau. Sometimes had to pass by, because Jacob has 12 kids by the time Esau goes out to him. Well, Esau decided to make a visit after all these years. He was coming with a 400 man army. So, it looks like Esau might have been in the military or something. He was a commander of an army from how it looks. Jacob believes that Esau is coming to kill him, as he promised about 20 years before. It is a long time to hold anger against someone.
Before Jacob and Esau meet face to face, God himself wanted to pay Jacob a visit. It says that Jacob wrestled God all night and won, then God blessed him. Jacob wanted the blessing from God now and he wouldn’t give up until he got the blessing. This story end’s with Jacob and his brother reconciling with one another.
Two things we can take from this story…
- When we are asking God for something, we need to keep asking and not give up. We need to be persistent in asking God for the thing we are asking for. Jacob wrestled God all night until daybreak. When was the last time you wrestled God?
- If there are people in your life that you haven’t reconciled with, because of hurt, we should pursue them in love and patience.
Jacob was not perfect. He was not a man after God’s own heart until after he had screwed up in all the parts of his life. We can fall into this idea that our parents’ faith in God is the best we need, but God didn’t think so, God came personally to Jacob because I believe God wanted Jacob’s heart towards him to change. God wants our heart, nothing more and nothing less. He got Jacob’s during a wrestling match. Does he have yours?