Jacob Wrestles with an Angel
Tony R. Nester
Jacob was an unlikely candidate to become the namesake of the Jewish people. Jacob was a man with multiple character defects that would have led me to take him off my list of potential spiritual leaders.
First of all he was a cheater and a liar. He cheated his brother out of his birthright and he lied to his father while his father who was failing in eyesight and health.
Secondly, Jacob was never good at sustaining family relationships. He and his brother were always at odds with each other. He disrespected his father, Isaac, and played his mother against his father for his own selfish purposes. When he married Leah and Rebekah he soon turned against his father-in-law, Laban. When it came to family relationships Jacob was a disaster.
And thirdly, Jacob deserted the Promised Land. After lying to his father and stealing the blessing of the first born son from Esau he ran away to avoid his brother's wrath. He ran from the Land of Promise -- Canaan.
This was more than merely moving from one location to another. This was leaving the place where God has placed him and where God wanted him to remain. When he ran from the Promised Land he was running from God.
But God wasn't willing to let Jacob go. God had plans for Jacob and God waited for an opportune time to ambush him.
Sometimes God handles us in the way He handled Jacob. He lets us go for a while and we think we've left God behind. But God is patient. God can allow circumstances to unfold. God can watch and wait. And then, when God is ready, God can turn us around.
That's what happened to Saul on the Damascus Road -- God turned him into Paul the Apostle.
That's what happened to Augustine in a garden where he heard a young child singing "Pick it up, pick it up". He opened and read the Scriptures and became St. Augustine.
That's what happened to Nicky Gumbel who was studying law at Oxford and starte ...
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