The title just made me giggle. I thought of that quartered TV screen on “Sesame Street” and the song says, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things…” Dana, Moses, and Jacob. Roffle. (That is the phonetic way of enunciating R.O.F.L. in Dana and Toby speak.)
I have been thinking about Moses. How he was chosen to lead the people of Israel. He got to have that special relationship with God that nobody else got. Teacher’s pet. Definitely mom’s favorite child. I’m not sure if my thoughts are correct as I type, and though I am aching to grab my Bible or biblegateway.com it, I’m going to wing it. (Mostly to show the holes in my Biblical knowledge. GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL!) So… Moses was the baby who was put in the basket and saved by the Egyptian princess, right? My brain cannot connect how he got from adopted Egyptian baby to leader of God’s people. Killed a dude, hid for awhile… oh, Dana. “Let my people go!” Plague, plague, plague… Yeah, I dunno.
My curiosity about Moses doesn’t even begin to ascend to the heights of my interest and wonder of Jacob. As a new Christian, this character totally rocked my world when I learned about him a few years ago. Jacob’s name in Hebrew meant “the heel” or “deceiver.” He literally came out of his mother’s womb holding onto the heel of his twin brother, Esau. Jacob was a crafty sibling. His older brother fell for everything. Jacob used it to his advantage. Deceiver or strategist???
This is so interesting to me because the Lord wants us to stand up to people who lie and who are false. Yet, the very essence of who Jacob was, was a deceiver. I’m not sure what this tells me about God’s character. The only thing I do know for sure out of this, is that God can and will use anyone.
At one point in Jacob’s story, he and his family are travelling. They probably went to Disneyland or something. He sends his multiple wives and junior wives ahead of him with all of his other people. That night, the Bible says that a man wrestled with Jacob. A man. All night long they wrestle and this mystery man finally realizes at daybreak, that Jacob was not going to give in. Jacob is demanding to be blessed. Spiritually blessed. That’s why he hasn’t stopped wrestling all night. He knows that this man can bless him, yet listen to what happens.
The man wrestling Jacob, realizing that he cannot win, plays cutthroat and severely hurts Jacob’s hip. That’s the only way the man could slow Jacob down – they continued to wrestle. The man says, “Dude! It’s daybreak. Let me go.” Jacob would not. He very clearly tells the man, he will not let go until he is blessed. WTHeck? The man’s response is to ask Jacob his name.
Then, the man says, your name is no longer Jacob. From now on, we’re gonna call you, “Israel” because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. I’ve heard that name changes in the Bible are big deals and to pay attention. Here’s what happens next: The man tells Jacob he’s got this great new name and you know what Jake says? He’s like, “Yo… so, uh, what’s your name?”
The man is like, “Why are you asking my name?” Then it says he blesses Jacob. Jacob then named the place “Peniel.” Peniel means the face of God. Jacob saw God face to face and he was not only spared, he was blessed.
I think that Jacob knew the man was of God and that’s why he chose to fight him all night. Otherwise, why fight? Unless he just liked to wrestle, I guess. But, seriously, he knows that he can get a spiritual blessing out of this man and he uses all of his might to get it. And, then, even knowing that this man was of God, he still asked him his name. His response to name the place Peniel, demonstrates that he knew the man he saw was God. But, he still had to ask. This is super profound to me, but I don’t know why. I also think it is pretty crazy that God, as man, realized he could not overcome Jacob wrestling. What?
The story of Jacob, as much as it perplexes me, completely relieves me that I might be good enough for God to use, too. Maybe it’s not that Jacob was a liar, but that he had the ability to honor what was truly important and knew that manipulation would get him a valuable spiritual blessing. Maybe God had to wait for Jacob because he was the only one with the fighting spirit God needed to father all nations.
Jacob walked away from the wrestling meet with a limp. It says that some people wouldn’t eat meaty parts of the hip joint after that because that’s where Jacob was injured. I’ve often thought about his limp and the exchange of the physical for the spiritual. I have tried to view my tremor in that way. Using it to physically remind me and everyone around me, that we have to rely on God.
I’ve made a little video demonstrating my tremor in my right hand and arm. It’s not as bad as some that I have seen, especially on youtube.com, but it’s significant enough for me at age 34. One could say that it’s like Jacob’s limp. And my response? If this is the tradeoff, Lord, fill me to overflowing with your spiritual blessings all the days of my life. I’ll have whatever Jacob got topped off with God’s glory Moses style. Amen.