Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Genesis 32:26-27 ESV
All Jacob’s life he had struggled for blessings. Jacob had tricked Esau, his older brother into selling him the right of the first born (Quite a significant financial advantage in his day). Later when their father had decided to give Esau the family blessing, Jacob ran in ahead of Esau and fooled his blind father into giving him that blessing instead. When news of Jacob’s deceit got to Esau there was murder in his heart and Jacob fled to his mother’s family. So, instead of getting his father’s blessings he spent 20 years working for his uncle Laban. In today’s verse, Jacob was finally and totally alone in his struggle with God’s angel.
By this time, he was entirely out of strength and yet he hung on to his attacker, refusing to let him go. Jacob had gotten so much along the way. He was rich; he had married the girl of his dreams and had many sons and daughters. Jacob had all these accomplishments, but he feared his brother Esau. He had so much stuff and yet so little of God’s blessing of peace. As Jacob continued to struggle the angel finally agrees to bless him, but not as Jacob had imagined. Instead of giving him more things, the angel changed Jacob’s name.
“Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:28
What a strange victory God had planned for Jacob, and He has that same strange and yet wonderful victory available for you and me. Whenever we truly meet with God, we come away with a new name, a new future and a new hope. When we choose a name, that name can be changed. But when God chooses our name, it sticks forever. The name God offers to give us is our greatest blessing, because it is written down in Heaven. It is the name that Jesus calls us when we find him by faith and refuse to let go! What is your name?
Her post this morning brought back memories of my childhood, days, while watching the rain on the windowpanes of our tiny apartment. Whenever I read the verse that,” Now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face (1 Corinthians 13) I recall those raindrops streaming over the glass as I peered our wondering about the world. I hope this little poem and then the Joni Eareckson Tada and Laura Story video will bless you today with that longing to fully behold the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I looked out from the upstairs window
Of my little childhood home
Watching rain stream down the pane
And wishing I was grown
And striding through the great big world
Free to walk about and splash
With important things to do and say
Outside my window sash
Now these older nose eyes look out
And wonder at God’s grace
That though now rain clouds windowpanes
I’ll one day see His face!
ThroughWindowpanes by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 ESV
James tells us that we are to count trials as blessings. I am always reminded of the hymn, “Count your blessings, but if James means the trials that I have been through I sometimes wonder if our dear brother knows how to count! Can he really mean that when we meet trials of pain or a broken relationships that we should come away saying, “Yup – now that’s a blessing. I can’t wait for the next one!”?
My own recent testing began after having a wisdom tooth removed. Somehow in the process a nerve in the back of my throat was damaged. So for the last three weeks, singing has become a painful process and even speaking I must carefully shepherd both the quantity and volume used in order to communicate. Needless to say, for a big talker like me (Blame it on the Italian DNA) this has been a traumatic lifestyle change. But since James has commanded that I count trials as joy, here are a few,
A) I am reminded that words have value because it is an effort to say almost every one of them
B) I have had to ask for help while singing at nursing home and been delighted by the response
C) I get to listen while others sing around me in church because I cannot get a note out
D) My wife has taken over the bulk of our joint prayers and it is wonderful hearing her bring our family friends and church before the Lord.
Truthfully, I earnestly am hoping this will be temporary (My doctors think so) but in the meantime I know that this is one part of God’s work in my life to build up patience into my treasury of faith. Now that is something only God knows how to do!
Here are a few photos of my friends and helpers from Saturday’s meeting at Sunshine Christian Village. The weaker I have been, the more precious God’s help has become to me!
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