Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help (Heb 4:14)
So We find Jacob fleeing Padan-aram at breakneck speed, after having strived with his Uncle Laban for 20 years.
Why was he in such a hurry??
Well the the truth is…Uncle Laban was a con-man!!
And…Jacob, the Supplanter, was a con-man also!!
20 years prior, Jacob was running to Padan-aram to his Uncle’s house as a place of refuge, trying to escape his own wicked past.
He was afraid of his twin brother, Esau’s wrath, because he had cheated Esau out of both his birthright and the blessing that was due Esau, as the first born son.
Although their mother, Rebecca partnered with Jacob to steal Esau’s blessing, she grew afraid for Jacob’s life and sent him away, to her brother, Laban’s house, in Padan-aram to hide out, for a timespan of what should have been a few days.
How can a few days = 20 years??
Answer: When two con-men meet!!
So, after fleeing from Esau, Jacob finally made it to Padan-aram. He immediately fell in love with Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel. So Laban cunningly, convinced Jacob to stay on at his house for 7 years to work for Rachel’s hand. However, after the wedding feast, Laban took Leah, the older and less attractive sister, to Jacob, by dark of night.
It was a Sister Swap!!
So Jacob realized, the next morning that he had married and slept with Leah and confronted Laban about the matter. Laban once again, tricks Jacob into staying on and working for him an additional 7 years for Rachel’s hand.
Wow!! Laban was Conniving..
So as the story goes on…There is strife amongst the two sisters. Leah was quite fertile, but Rachel was barren, so Rachel gave Jacob her handmaid Bilhah, to wife…then Leah, in the spirit of competition, gave Jacob her handmaid, Zilpah to wife, also.
Of Course….There was Jacob…caught in the middle of all of the
Thanks Uncle Laban…
So when the whole wife fiasco is over and done, Jacob had acquired 11 sons and 1 daughter. (Benjamin was not yet born)
However…there is still…continued strife between Jacob and Laban over the cattle. So Jacob spends another 6 years working for Laban, as he continues to cheat Jacob, changing the wages he promised to pay Jacob ten times.
So finally, Jacob longing for his home, steals away with his wives and children and the abundance of his own cattle (he received as wages) leaving Padan-aram, and returning to face his shameful past in Canaan.
Now, Laban is in hot pursuit of him, accusing him of stealing his daughters and grandchildren and all of his wealth, because The Lord was with Jacob those 20 years and God continued to bless him while he was in Laban’s House.
So the two separate and agree not to harm one another…but for Jacob, there still remains the matter with Esau!!
So as he approaches Canaan, we find Jacob terribly afraid about meeting up with Esau.
Remember that Jacob departed from his father’s house with only his staff in hand, because he had lied to and deceived his father, Isaac and had stolen both Esau’s birthright and his blessing.
…But after living with Laban, “The Ultimate Cheat” and loosing 20 years of his life in strife, he no longer wanted to cheat others out of their blessings.
Jacob was no longer a boy, but a man who had been awed by God’s unmerited favor; His grace and His mercy.
He was now ready to live for God!!
So there he was, all alone in his tent, fervently praying to God for more mercy, that he knew he was not worthy of…when suddenly, a stranger appears in the dark.
Can you imagine??
He had already been very worried about seeing Esau, fearing that in his wrath he would vengefully, kill him and his family. He had probably laid there upon his bed, with tears streaking across his face, as he prayed, until he finally fell asleep.
Then he was suddenly awakened by a man, who Jacob wrestled with in the dark of night – All NIGHT!!
Job had no idea who the stranger was….and although they wrestled face to face, he could not make out his image, in the dark.
So as Jacob is battling for his life, yet getting the best of the stranger till just before daybreak, the stranger demands for Jacob to release him and let him go!
Then, this ‘Man’ just barely touches the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, and puts it out of joint!!
That’s when Jacob realized, this was no ordinary man. So he says to the Angel of The Lord,
“I won’t let you go, unless you bless me!!”
So the Angel of The Lord asks of Jacob’s name, telling him that he will no longer be called Supplanter, but ‘Israel’ – A Prince with God.
He blessed Jacob with a New Name and a New Life and departed.
Jacob worshipped there and called the name of that place, Peniel -the face of God- saying,
“I have seen God, face-to-face, and my life has been preserved.”
So Jacob departed that morning with the peace of God upon him, limping,
(because of his thigh) yet ready to walk into his new life.
No longer would he resort to lies, deception, and theft to acquire the lifestyle and the things he wanted, but now he understood that he could go to God, wrestling in prayer; and make his requests known unto The Lord!
Have You Ever Lied??
Have You Ever Stolen??
We All have!!
But Praise God We can Go boldly to the Throne of Grace, to Our High Priest, Jesus and repent!!
He will let his cleansing blood flow over Us, cleansing away all of Our sins and the guilt of Our past.
He will give Us a new life, in Him. And He will give Us His Holy Spirit, as a Life Guide through this sometimes, frightening world.
When We’ve taken the wrong path, like Jacob, and have lost so many years of Our lives in shame and strife…We, too, can turn around and limp toward Jesus.
He is waiting and is Ready to receive Us as His ‘Israel’ – His Beloved Prince/Princess.
God Loves You Today, and So Do I!!
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