Genesis 32:28 is a revealing message of God’s faithfulness to His children .
“He who promised is faithful” – Hebrews 10:23
Jacob’s story was full of lies, cheating and deception. He had blackmailed his brother Esau to sell to him his birthright (see Gen 25:29-34). He had cheated Esau out of blessing (Gen 27:5-13).He had lied to his father- Isaac to bestowed him the birthright blessing by pretending that he was Esau (see Gen 27:1-29). He ran off from his brother’s wrath by moving to Paddan Aram (see Gen 27:41-45). All these had happened because of his obedience to his mother, Rebekah. (hmmn 🤔 looks like Rebekah had a lot of explanation here).
Jacob had left Haran without settlements — as his mother’s advice. But along his journey with his fear of the unknown, he had struggled a lot in his life. First with Laban, his mother’s brother and father-in-law for Leah & Rachel. But despite all these and being cheated by Laban, he had pursued his objective of getting the love of his life – Rachel to be his wife . Behind the scenes, God had saved Him from Laban’s wrath and God protected him (see Gen 31:24)
Before I continue, let me refresh you with the story of why Rebekah became the mastermind – of them all??? Jacob’s obedience to his mother linked to blessings despite deceitfulness.
Rebekah was the wife of Isaac whom Abraham prayed to God for his son (Gen 24:4 “go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac”). She was chosen by God for Isaac to be his wife- (see Gen 24). Rebekah came from Abraham’s relatives and is the only instruction he had given to his senior supervisor of his household to get a wife from his relatives, and is under oath (see Gen 24:1-4). She was a fine and beautiful lady and is kind–hearted with a “willing” heart. (see Gen 24:5; 8; 55-58)
Rebekah “being an answered prayer” for Isaac, and she became his wife and he loved her. She is even a comfort to Isaac after Sarah’s death (see Gen 24:67). She is a barren woman. So, Isaac helped her to pray to God to conceive and God did answer his prayer. Rebekah conceived with sons in her womb. Two sons in her womb jostled (struggled). She inquire to God why it had happened to her in her pregnancy. And this is God’s revealing answer:
And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” – Genesis 25:23 NLT
Notice that Esau and Jacob, before they were born, a divine plan had been shared to Rebekah by God. (This is without Issac in the picture). Since from the beginning, Rebekah knows what is the divine plan to the two sons. And she “hold of it”- God’s word. She knows that God is faithful and committed to His promises. However, Rebekah being “still” in human flesh, her manly instinct prevailed to materialize God spoken words to her and God allows it to happen, because God causes all things works for Good of “those” who love Him according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
We could see from the story that Rebekah, did not make it possible because she favored Jacob so much, but Rebekah being divine accomplice for God’s plan to mapped it out and materialized God’s plan for His purpose . — (more of Rebekah’s story in my blog entitled- Rebekah: The masterMind©
Let’s go back to Jacob’s story. 🙊
27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:27-28, ESV)
Jacob grew up as a “homeboy”. He loves to cook or could possibly he loves household chores while Esau became a hunter (hunk😉). Jacob as homeboy he is not as fierce as Esau. We know that being hunter and always in the field will make us more sturdy. While being a “homeboy” or quiet man, will tend to make us soft, fearful, doubtful, insecure – (see. Gen 25:31 – Jacob ask Esau to sell him the birthright in replacement of red stew to fill Esau’s hunger. ) and will just follow in any instructions our parents could instruct us. Jacob’s nature of being “insecure” made him moved “wisely” (see Gen 25:33 “ But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob”) — His insecurity, made him pursue God’s blessings.
From the story in the Bible – Genesis chapters 24-28, if we will read carefully and with Holy Spirit leading, notice that Jacob did not establish his relationship with God yet, thus far. No scenes from the three chapters that Jacob had prayed to God. He only Listens and obey his mother’s instructions – (see Gen 27: 8; 13). Everything he does is with a wise move. When He had a dream in Bethel (former Luz) — That’s where Jacob start to know that God is real, and He is in that place. That is the beginning of God divine encounter with Jacob.
12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”- Gen 28:12-15
He started to revere with God at this point of time, the “afraid” in verse 17 was the beginning of his reverend to God :
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven. 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.” – Gen 28: 16-18
At this point, Jacob’s relationship with God is only starting and NOT fully established yet. He made a vow to God only “if” God will fulfill his conditions — he “challenged” God, while his conditions covers:
- his Fears
- his Doubt
- his Insecurities
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” Gen 28: 20-22
Notice that “conditional” vow was made by Jacob. All in future tense. That only “if” God “will” fulfill his conditions, He “will be” his GOD. With this, God was challenged. God showed His faithfulness to Jacob through Laban’s deception and maltreatment for 20 years .
3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me. – Gen 31:4-9
During his journey of struggles with Laban. Jacob learned the following:
- God of his fathers was with him – (Gen 31: 4)
- Endurance – ( Gen 31:6 ; Gen 31: 40-41 “This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times”)
- He is protected by God – ( Gen 31:7b; 42 “ If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.” )
- He was blessed and his flocks increases – (Gen 31:9 ; 30:25-43)
- He learned to communicate and get instructions from God to a dream – (Gen 31:10-13)
- An indication with the assurance that he can now return to his homeland.(Gen 27:4; 31:13; 33: 3)
- God’s faithfulness to his covenant. He will not leave Jacob until God is done in His promises to his father Abraham (Genesis 28:15; 31:13; 31:24)
Laban became his training ground (to overcome struggles, obstacles and get endurance of life’s miseries) for him to be fully developed…
- his physique and
- progressively established his relationship to God.
However, Jacob still remain fearful- Gen 31:31 “Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force; especially when he knows that it is the time go back to his homeland and will meet Esau. – Gen 32: 7 “In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well.
God did not stop there from telling Jacob that “I am with you and I will never leave you, until I have done my promise”. He knows that Jacob’s relationship to him was not fully developed yet. He continued reminding him that He is ahead of him always, as He showed up with Jacob before meeting Esau – Gen 32:1-2 ” Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him.2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanain. From here, Jacob knows that God is near him. But his fear prevailed and made him strategized and moved wisely in preparations to meet Esau.
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” – Gen 32:3-6
His fear and great distress made him prayed , sought God and fully submit to Him. He reminded God of His promise to fulfill it.
9 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 faithfulness you 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.’ – Gen 32:9-12
Jacob challenged God by proving to him that He is real with his conditional vow he made -(Gen 28:20-22). God proves him in countless times that He is real to him –(Genesis 29- 31)
When Jacob fully submitted his life to God with all his reliance, “Save me, I pray”- (Gen 32:11a). It’s very short and simple. But God made it with full of impact for Jacob to be meaningfully changed, that he will remember forever.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” Gen 32-24-26
Because of Jacob’s fully developed physique, he wrestled continuously to a man and without letting him go. Until the man had blessed him. Knowing that Jacob will not give up without a replacement. Like what he did with his brother Esau when he sells his birthright over a bowl of stew.
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Gen 32: 26- 28
God blessed Jacob with a new name, ISRAEL. The old has gone, the new has come. Though we know that since in the beginning, God had divine purpose and plan for Jacob. But God’s way is higher than our ways. His thought is higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8)
Jacob to Israel, is a great example of:
- God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises and is new every morning. Great is Thy Faithfulness –(Lamentation 3:23)
- Obedience leads to blessings
- Sufferings, trials, obstacle (Laban) made us sturdy to become an over comer
- God’s protection is upon His children.
- Jacob knows how to pursue and chase God’s blessings. He challenged God (Gen 28:16-18) and God challenged Him (Gen 32:24-28) Both had it overcame because Jacob is an overcomer. Once He knew that God is real, He positioned himself as a child of God. (Gen 32:9-12)
- His obedience leads to blessings and success.
God love us all and, is eternal especially to those who “genuinely believes” (John 3:16)- when Jacob started to believe and fully submitted his life to God ( Gen 32:11 – “Save me,” I pray. ) God made a way to give him a new life, with a new name, ISRAEL.
“Lord, save me.” as we utter these words, God is always ready to give us ISRAEL- a new life, with a new beginning. Let’s learn from Jacob’s story that God wants us to fully depended on Him. Trust Him. Rely on Him. Focus on Him. He wants us to chase and pursue our blessings by positioning ourselves as children of God.
If you want to be like Jacob, though a deceiver, but had given a new name, with a new beginning, God will also made possible for you. Just follow this prayer and believe in your heart that what you have uttered is true to your heart. Please read these verses from Romans 10:9-10 ” If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Please pray this prayer from your heart…
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