God Strives For Us
Topic: The Patriarchs - God's Persistent Call Passage: Genesis 32:22–32:32
When Jacob experiences that magnificent vision of the link between heaven and earth and God reaffirms his commitment to his promises, Jacob rededicates his life to following God. We might expect that experience and response to mean Jacob's life and faith finally got on track.
Yet, in the twenty years that follow, Jacob carries on with many of the same behaviors that had previously gotten him in trouble. The more he gets what he wants, the bigger the mess seems to become. Some of us can relate. Jacob foolishly thinks winning the wrestling match with God is the path to success!
The Good News is that God does not leave Jacob when Jacob fails to live up to his promises (repeatedly). No matter how much Jacob strives to win at life his own way, God remains close by desiring his return. Finally, when Jacob is once again all alone and desperate, God literally wrestles with him all night long to prove his everlasting love. And, to help Jacob see the need to yield to the grace offered in God's covenant, he puts Jacob's hip out of joint and gives him a lifelong limp.
Jacob's name was changed to Israel ("God strives") because his descendants' future history will be defined by God continuing to strive after them, to win the nation back to a life of grace. Jesus' coming and dying and rising to life establish the lengths God will go to win for himself a people who will simply yield to grace. It is this Jesus who stands at the center of the story--not us--and proves that we can never be so unworthy as to be beyond God's pursuit.
Taking it home: Where do you sense God wrestling with you, desiring that you yield to his grace?
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