When life get’s difficult or for that matter when life seems to be going perfectly, it can be so easy to leave God on the sidelines of our life. However it’s not that easy, because God is with us even when we are oblivious to his presence. As I have been reading about the life of Jacob in Genesis, God has taught me a few home truths about the importance of spiritual persistence.
Now Jacob was not the most trustworthy character in the Old Testament. He was a liar and manipulator as he stole his brother Esau’s birthright (Genesis 25:33) and his blessings from his father Isaac (Genesis 27:27-40).
We may give up on God, but God does not give up on us
We read in Genesis 28:10-19 that Jacob dreams of a ladder climbing all the way to heaven and the Lord is standing at the top declaring that he will give Jacob and his descendants the land he promised. When Jacob woke up he said in Genesis 28:16 “Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.” Like Jacob we too can be totally unaware of God’s presence. However God is desperate to touch us, like he touched Jacob, in that quite moment when we allow God to have room to enter our hearts. This spiritual experience changed Jacob for life. He acted immediately and in Genesis 28:18 it reads, Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.”
When God enters our hearts he deserves our thanksgiving and a changed life
From that moment Jacob realised he needed God.
Do we realise and live in a way that shows we need God?
Do we make room for God to allow him to truly touch our hearts?
Do we live a life of thanksgiving to God?
This dependence on God must show up in all aspects of our life. We can be encouraged by Jacob again. In Genesis 32 we read that he has to meet his brother Esau for the first time in 20 years. The last time they met Esau promised revenge and wanted to kill Jacob after he stole his birthright and blessing. However we read in Genesis 32:9 “Then Jacob prayed.” Three simple words with powerful consequences.
The simple act of prayer brings about powerful and Godly consequences
In difficult circumstances we too can be frantic with fear. However like Jacob we can change the situation and our character by pausing, collecting our thoughts, know that God is by our sides and simply pray to our Saviour and Maker.
When we understand that God will never leave us or forsake us and we are touched by his love, there is something in us that will never let go of God. In Genesis 32:22-32 we read that Jacob wrestles with God. Jacob does not want to let go of God and Genesis 32:26 we read, “Then the man said, let go for it’s daybreak.” Jacob becomes persistent with his relationship with God. He never wants to let go from the God that is guiding him, loving him and blessing him.
God encourages us to be persistent in all areas of our life
Strong character develops when you depend on God through tough conditions
Then in Genesis 32:28 God says, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
God often gave many characters of the bible new names, such as Abraham, Sarah and Peter. New names were symbols of how God changed their lives.
The beautiful truth is that you too have a new identity in Christ. A new creation that is loved by a God who wants you to know that he is with you every step of the way .
What name has God given to you?