From Jacob The Deceiver To Israel The Prince Of God
“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, you shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take you a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. And God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a multitude of people” (Genesis 28:1-3).
Jacob obeyed his father and went to Padan-aram to the home of Laban his mother’s brother. He served Laban, who became his father-in-law, for many years. Initially serving him for his two wives Rachel and Leah. When the agreed-upon 14 years of service for his two wives were up; Jacob asked Laban to release him, his wives, and children. Laban encouraged him to stay believing the Lord had blessed him because of Jacob. Jacob and Laban made an agreement for Jacob to stay on and the Lord blessed Jacob greatly with much cattle, servants, camels, and asses. And Laban became jealous of all the Jacob had acquired.
The Lord then instructed Jacob to leave Laban and return to “the land of your fathers.” Acknowledging the Lord’s blessing he had received; Jacob gathered his wives and family and all the cattle and goods he had accumulated under Laban and left. He did not tell Laban he was leaving but left while Laban was busy shearing his sheep.
Laban pursued Jacob and on his way was warned by God in a dream not to harm Jacob which was undoubtedly his intent. There was a confrontation between the two with Laban relating all God had told him regarding Jacob. He was not happy with Jacob leaving with his daughters and their children along with all that Jacob had acquired that Laban felt were his. There was also an issue with a stolen god of Laban’s. However, in the end, Jacob and Laban made a covenant. Laban agreed to the covenant because he was afraid of what the Lord had told him in the dream. We can see the Lord’s hand in this protecting Jacob. And Jacob, ever thankful to the Lord, offered a sacrifice on the mount to the Lord.
Jacob continued on his way heading toward where he had originally come from – the land of his fathers. And the Angels of God met him on his way. In his obedience, he was assured of the protection of God through the angels.
Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau with the messengers telling Esau of Jacob’s time with Laban and all he had accumulated in livestock and servants. The messengers returned to Jacob with news that Esau was on his way to meet Jacob with four hundred men. It seemed that Esau was not looking for a friendly meeting. Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed, “even knowing that he had a band of angels around him. Fear can cause us to not seek the Lord in our times of trouble as we should.
Jacob made a plan and divided his band into two groups figuring that if the first group was attacked the other would escape. He then prayed to the Lord for protection. Jacob should have sought the Lord before making plans in preparation for his encounter with Esau. He knew Esau might harbor anger against him because of his deceitfulness towards his brother years ago and he is filled with fear. There’s a lesson here for us; we should seek the Lord for his will in any situation. But like Jacob, when faced with dire circumstances, we can forget to seek the Lord first.
After praying for the Lord’s help Jacob makes a plan to send ahead a present of goats, cattle, ewes, rams, colts for His brother Esau. So, Jacob prayed but then made a plan, Fear can certainly get us off track. We can pray or we can plan. If we pray we are leaning on the Lord, if we plan we are trusting in ourselves. Jacob’s faith was not yet what it should be.
That night Jacob sent his wives, his two womenservants, and his eleven sons over the ford Jabbok for protection. And the Word says of Jacob:
“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of day” (Genesis 32:34).
It was God with whom Jacob wrestled. Up to his point, Jacob had prayed but planned his way. The Lord would contend with him this night. The Lord will never give a victory to the flesh. We, like Jacob, must learn to both bring our problems to the Lord, and trust in his divine power. It is always the Lord that contends with us to bring us to the end of self, and reliance on Him. Jacob was brought to a place of brokenness before the Lord in this situation.
When the Lord saw that He prevailed not against Jacob: “He touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, and he wrestled with Him.” Jacob had trusted in his ways his whole life. He now was left weak and helpless before the Lord. The dislocating of his hip left Jacob with no strength. This was to show Jacob that total dependence on the Lord was the proper way and that the flesh needed to be dealt with. It is the same with us. The Lord will contend with us to show us our weakness and our need for dependence on Him. As morning approached the Lord said:
And He (the Lord) said, let Me go, for the day breaks. And he (Jacob) said, I will not let You go, except You bless me” (Genesis 32:26).
Broken under the mighty hand of the Lord, Jacob ceased to wrestle and clung to the Lord. The Lord had wounded Him and He now will not let Him go until He blesses him. With tears and pleading for a blessing, Jacob realizes his strength is in the Lord and the Lord alone. He had tried to gain the blessing in all the wrong ways dating back to his youth with Esau, but now he understands that the blessing only comes through faith in the Lord and the sacrifice. All this points ahead to what Jesus would accomplish at the Cross. All our blessings come through the cross.
The Lord asked Jacob his name which was meant to have Jacob admit who and what he was. The name Jacob means deceiver and schemer and that is what he was. This may be the hardest place the Lord must bring us in our lives. We think pretty highly of ourselves. But like Jacob when we admit who we are before the Lord, the Lord will bless us. The Lord changed Jacobs name in the following verse:
“And he said, your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
From “Jacob the deceiver”, to “Israel the prince of God.” The Lord blesses us as we come to the understanding that it is all by grace. The flesh counts for nothing. Jesus paid the price at Calvary for all we receive from the Lord and He will bless us as we realize that in ourselves we can do nothing. The Apostle Paul said It well:
“…For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
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Here I Am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – tqministries.com 2021