Genesis – First, God.
As humans we talk big line about what we believe and how we will do this or that for the Lord, until we come face to face with realty of following through where God is truly leading. We plan the details of accomplishing what God is asking us to be and do. We work hard to prepare for and implement the plan so we can accomplish all the details leading up to the plan. In the middle of it all, we begin to rely too much on our own skills (given to us by God) and lose realty for a while.
The Reality is this: God is God. He existed before there was anything created by Him and He will forever exist when the earth fades away. Time has no meaning in God’s mind. He was, is and forever will be…God. So when God leads. We follow. In obedience we learn and grow intimately closer to Him. So, when we stop and truly look at God, it immediately makes us stop thinking about what we want and reassess what He desires for us. It’s all about God.
When we come face to face with God, we know it. He still reveals Himself to us on those beautiful, unexpected moments of intimacy we God when we need Him most, when perplexed and at the end of ourselves. He comes when we cry out for wisdom and clarity and as we seek HIS will above all else. He comes to us while we are on our knees in desperate praying. He lifts our eyes and thoughts up to where He is. I’m trying to describe an experience with God that is, well, hard to describe for it is so personal.
A friend of mine shared her personal experience in her “facetime” with God as she sought His will in changing jobs. After Bible study on this very topic, her job situation heavy on her mind, she went to sleep with a prayer for help. In her dream, she heard the answer which gave her peace as only God can do. Face to face. Indescribable.
So, you cannot tell me our God, our Father in Heaven, has no time for us. He LOVES time with us. He created us to want time with Him. He has and creates intimate time for us. He is God who is not bound by time. He is driven by his everlasting love and forever faithfulness for each one of us. Let’s wrap our heads around this as we meditate on the reality of Who God is.
Do we really believe that what we believe is really real?
This will determine the amount of “facetime” with God.
Jacob came face to face with God and lived to tell about it, too! Let’s dive in and read about his experience with God.
Genesis 31, The Message
1-2 And Jacob went his way. Angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them he said, “Oh! God’s Camp!” And he named the place Mahanaim (Campground).
3-5 Then Jacob sent messengers on ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir in Edom. He instructed them: “Tell my master Esau this, ‘A message from your servant Jacob: I’ve been staying with Laban and couldn’t get away until now. I’ve acquired cattle and donkeys and sheep; also men and women servants. I’m telling you all this, my master, hoping for your approval.’”
6 The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We talked to your brother Esau and he’s on his way to meet you. But he has four hundred men with him.”
7-8 Jacob was scared. Very scared. Panicked, he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two camps. He thought, “If Esau comes on the first camp and attacks it, the other camp has a chance to get away.”
9-12 And then Jacob prayed, “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, ‘Go back to your parents’ homeland and I’ll treat you well.’ I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me—two camps! Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.’”
13-16 He slept the night there. Then he prepared a present for his brother Esau from his possessions: two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty camels with their nursing young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He put a servant in charge of each herd and said, “Go ahead of me and keep a healthy space between each herd.”
17-18 Then he instructed the first one out: “When my brother Esau comes close and asks, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these?’—answer him like this, ‘Your servant Jacob. They are a gift to my master Esau. He’s on his way.’”
19-20 He gave the same instructions to the second servant and to the third—to each in turn as they set out with their herds: “Say ‘Your servant Jacob is on his way behind us.’” He thought, “I will soften him up with the succession of gifts. Then when he sees me face-to-face, maybe he’ll be glad to welcome me.”
21 So his gifts went before him while he settled down for the night in the camp.
22-23 But during the night he got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He got them safely across the brook along with all his possessions.
24-25 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.
26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.”
Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”
27 The man said, “What’s your name?”
He answered, “Jacob.”
28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”
29 Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?”
The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”
31-32 The sun came up as he left Peniel, limping because of his hip. (This is why Israelites to this day don’t eat the hip muscle; because Jacob’s hip was thrown out of joint.)
WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW
As you study Jacob’s actions during this crisis time in his life, you see illustrated the conflicts all of us occasionally experience between faith and fear, trusting God and scheming, asking God for help and then acting as though we don’t even know God. A crisis doesn’t make a man; it shows what a man is made of.
Jacob’s prayer is one of the great prayers recorded in Scripture, and yet it was prayed by a man whose faith was very weak. He was like the father of the demonized child who cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 nkjv). Every statement in this prayer indicates that Jacob had a profound knowledge of God’s ways and God’s character, and yet he was praying in desperation and not in confidence. Note the arguments he presented to God as to why the Lord should deliver him from Esau.
While we don’t want to imitate Jacob’s fear, unbelief, scheming, and his proneness to jump to conclusions, we would do well to pray the way he prayed. He claimed God’s promises, remembered God’s goodness, and rested completely on God’s character and covenant. No matter what circumstances we may face or what fears may grip our hearts, we can trust God to be faithful to His character and His Word. “I will trust and not be afraid.”
Jacob was left alone, and when we’re alone and at the end of our resources, then God can come to us and do something in us and for us.
Once again Jacob gave a special name to a significant place, this time Peniel, which means “the face of God.” He thought that seeing God’s face would bring death, but it actually brought him new life. It was the dawning of a new day for Israel/Jacob:
He had a new name; he had a new walk (he was limping); and he had a new relationship with God that would help him face and solve any problem, if only he would exercise faith. The great test was about to come, for Esau had arrived on the scene.
When we wrestle with God, He will give us a new name in glory that represents the attributes of Himself He puts within us. When we know Him, we begin to know ourselves. We have a greater understanding of our intimate growing relationship with Him.
What are you wrestling with God about today? Tell Him. Go the mat. Be victorious with God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We learn that we must take captive every thought and focus on You. We must learn to think like you think, not like what the deceiving world thinks about you and our relationship with you. We wrestle with this from time to time and it is painful. But you come and bring Light to dark circumstances of life here. Thank you for facetime with you God that brings clarity of the reality of You. Thank you for loving us so much you laid down your life to save us. Thank you for opening our blinded eyes to see you clearly. Continue to transform me to be all that pleases you.
In Jesus Name, Amen