- The Word of Faith is not “If” but “Since”
- The Cost of the Choice Based on Outward Appearance
- The Giver of Life
- The Giver of Blessings
- What God Sees
- What Do We Long For? Home
- God’s Token
- Doubting God
- Prayer of Faith
- The Value of Being Alone
- The Value of the Limp
- Signs of the Change
- What Makes a Child of God Stink among the World?
Text: Genesis 32:31-32
“And Jacob was left alone…” (Genesis 32:24a)
How many people need a change – not only physically, but spiritually?
Jacob, our example for this devotion, needed a change. The background for this devotion finds Jacob on his way back to the land of his father and his kindred (Genesis 31:3), from his twenty-year stay with his mother’s brother, Laban of Padanaram (Genesis 28:2).
In Genesis 31:3, God had commanded Jacob to return home. But going home meant Jacob would have to face his brother Esau, who had threatened to kill him twenty years prior. Jacob had tricked Esau out of his blessing, having already taken his birthright, which brought Esau’s wrath upon Jacob.
As Jacob neared his homeland on his return home, he sent messengers to Esau. They came back and reported that Esau was coming to meet them with 400 men. Genesis 32:7 states that “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.” Because of his fear, he divided his house into two bands.
Then the Scriptures say, “And Jacob was left alone…” (Genesis 32:24a).
The definition of being “alone” is to be separated from the herd; to be by one’s self. This can be physical, or spiritual, or both. This condition can be self-imposed, or imposed by God upon the individual. When being alone is self-imposed, it is a time to rest and to meditate.
When God brings us to a position, or place, of being “alone” – it is:
1) A time of self-examination;
2) A time to listen to God’s voice speaking to you;
3) A time to be contrite of spirit; a time for confession of sins; a time to change, conforming as you surrender to God as Lord and Master, as you submit to His Word and Will, and finally determine to obey, and to endure in that obedience.
Many church-goers today claim to be “saved” – which normally means a confession that Christ is their Savior. They, like Jacob, have had the “Bethel” experience. See Genesis 28:12-22; where Jacob confessed “this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” He, in type and shadow, was revealed Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
However, many who say they are “saved” are still in a place of fear, doubt, failure, and defeat. They need a Change from flesh-walking to faith-walking. They need Power to be counted an overcomer. They need Power to Perform; they need Peace through the knowledge of the Savior. (See 2 Peter 1:3-4; 3:18.) They need to grow in grace and knowledge, which produces peace, confidence, and the assurance that God will Perform His Promises.
In the example of Jacob being left “alone” for God to speak to him and change him; you who are in a position of “alone” by God’s direction, notice the following:
A. The Condition (which leads to A Contest)
“And Jacob was left alone…” (Genesis 32:24a)
1) This place, “alone,” is appointed by God. God has a Plan and a Purpose for each of His sons and daughters in the “alone” place that God has ordained, or appointed. Their “alone” times are to bring about The Change needed in the life of the believer.
“But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” (Job 23:13)
“For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.” (Job 23:14)
2) The “alone” place is God’s incubator (or school) for His Children who need to be changed. Here in the “alone” place; God gets the full attention of the believer. God uses the personal losses, sickness, loneliness, fear, doubts, sins, faults, and lack of faith of the believer to cause the believer to face himself, and examine himself – to be readied for The Change.
3) The “alone” place is also a place of frustration for the believer; a place of questioning God as to the believer’s situation. In Jacob’s case, desperation out of fear lead to his Contest with God, “…I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26).
There are many examples of God carrying His servants to the “alone” place:
See Moses in the desert for 40 years, as God prepared Moses to meet Him at the Burning Bush, and for Moses to fill God’s Purpose as the Deliverer of the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. (See Exodus 3.)
Note Job’s situation; his loss of health, family, wealth, etc. to come to his Change (in Job 42:1-6).
Saul (later called Paul, the Apostle) was blind for three days in his “alone” place, as God dealt with him (Acts 9:1-17).
Reader, you may be at this very moment in one of God’s ordained “alone” places; which has led to a Contest with God, demanding God to do this or that. Don’t despise the “alone” place where God has brought you; for you are being prepared by God for His Change in you.
The next step, or process, after finding yourself in the “alone” place, where you and God converse – then comes…
B. The Contest (which leads to Contrition and Concession)
“… and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” (Genesis 32:24b)
To have an insight as to all that was going on with Jacob, as he contested with God, is seen in Hosea 12:3b-4:
1) “…he (Israel, Jacob) wept…”
2) “…and made supplication unto him (God)…”
Jacob’s (or Israel’s) weeping reveals Jacob’s contrition and lowliness; it reveals his desperate need of God’s help in delivering him from Esau. It also reveals Jacob was in earnest prayer (supplication) to God. It also reveals the “man” was God Himself (Hosea 12:4). Jacob petitioned God to bless him and deliver him.
This example of Jacob’s prayer to God reveals:
1) First, God uses our struggle with Him to:
a) Produce seeing our need of Him (seeing our insufficiency, and seeing His Sufficiency);
b) Reveal our problem is pride:
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said,” (Job 42:1)
“I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.” (Job 42:2)
“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” (Job 42:3)
“Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.” (Job 42:4)
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5)
“Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)
In these two passages of Scriptures, the doubting, defeated, fearful believer must see his sin of unbelief. The believer must come to the end of himself.
2) Second, God uses His Touch, our limp, or Paul uses the word “thorn” in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. A thorn in our flesh will bring us to God’s Will, when “exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Thorns are individually designed by God for each believer in the alone place. The thorn is personal, with your name on it. It may be sickness, prison, or whatever. But it is a trial of some kind that is bigger than you are.
The steps are Condition, Contest, then Contrition, and then Confession – which leads to Resolve:
“And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)
God had touched Jacob’s thigh (Genesis 32:25); God had placed a “thorn” (one of God’s tools to bring about a change). This thorn only made Jacob more determined to have God bless him. He wept and prayed; he earnestly sought God’s deliverance; and was not going to let go (persistence; Luke 11), until God helped him.
This leads to:
C. The Change (which leads to Conversion;
which is explained in Knowledge and Performance)
“And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.” (Genesis 32:27)
“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)
Jacob received a Name Change from “Jacob” to “Israel” (or a prince of God). God spoke to Jacob (Genesis 32:28b), “for as a prince hast thou…”
1) “…power with God and…”
2) “…(power) with men, and…”
3) “…(thou) hast prevailed.” When one prevails, he is victorious; he is an overcomer (Revelation 21:7; 1:17); he walks in Christ’s Victory (1 John 5:4).
Therefore, God said:
1) I am blessing you with a name change; which means, now you have power to perform and you are victorious.
2) I am giving you the knowledge (the assurance, the confidence) that your life is preserved.
Reader, when God grants to you the knowledge – that you have the Gift of the Spirit – then the Power of God lives, or dwells, in you (Romans 8 14:16) – that His Promises are true and Amen to you in Christ – then you have been blessed by God:
“…And he blessed him there.” (Genesis 32:29d)
“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:30)
Reader, if you have been Regenerated by the Spirit of God, then God lives in your spirit. You have the Power of God in you (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:14-16).
Then, as you partake of the exceeding great and precious promises, you grow in the knowledge of God’s Salvation:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3)
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)
You have been changed; God has done His Perfect work in you. Amen and Amen!
The Change that took place in Jacob is what many church members need today. Many today are void of the Knowledge of the Indwelling Christ and the Power that they possess.
This Change is a Sovereign Act of God. You cannot impart spiritual knowledge to yourself. This is accomplished in the believer solely by God the Spirit.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit Himself – operating fully and freely in the spirit of the believer; revealing Truth to the indwelt believer; giving the believer growth in the knowledge of God our Savior, Jesus Christ. The result is fruit-bearing, and walking in the Power of Christ, in His Victory (1 John 5:4), as an overcomer (power with God, power with men, prevailing).
This understanding brings peace, confidence, and assurance that in Christ all enemies are defeated.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Yes Believer, your Victory is in Christ, the Power of God, the Wisdom of God:
“But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24)
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30)