I thought this day's study was apropos for this post.
Week 8 Day 1
Wrestling with God
Day ___________________________ Date ___________________________
Read: Malachi 1:2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, "In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved; 3 But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness."
“Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” This scripture always gave me a little trouble. It seemed to me that poor Esau was an innocent victim of his scheming brother. In the end, he even forgave his brother for the times he had swindled him. It seemed to me that God just randomly chose favorites, and it didn’t matter what kind of person there were, then I took a closer look at Jacob and Esau.
The name Jacob, means supplanter. He wrestled with his twin brother in his mother’s womb. When his mother Rebekah said, “something must be wrong here”, in Genesis 5:22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?|” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
In those days the first born inherited the blessing that God promised to Abraham and all the family wealth. But when Rebekah asked God “why are my children struggling in my womb”, He told her
Genesis 25:23 23 And the LORD said to her:” Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”
So Jacob was born a wrestler. He manipulated his brother to get the blessing of God, by waiting until Esau was really hungry, then he made a delicious tasting stew, and said, “You can’t have it unless you give me your birthright”.
Genesis 25:29-34 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom.
31 But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day."
32 And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?"
33 Then Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day."
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Joseph did not learn to be a manipulator on his own, he was in good company. God told his mother, Rebekah, and father, Isaac, that Jacob would inherit the birthright, but Esau was Isaac’s favorite, he wanted to give the blessing and wealth to Esau. Furthermore, instead of trusting God, Rebekah tried to help God out by deceiving her husband. She knew her husband was planning to give Esau the birthright, so she and Jacob devised a plan to trick Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing by dressing him up as Esau.
Jacob wrestled with his Uncle Laban, for his wife Rachel, and found an even bigger con artist than himself in his uncle. Jacob was deeply in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel, and asked for her hand, but his uncle made Jacob work for him for seven years before he would consent to their marriage. He tricked Jacob by sending him his oldest daughter Leah, on his wedding night, instead of Rachel. When Jacob confronted him, he said, look, I did that, because we honor the rights of the first born here, (I think he got in a little dig in there) Laban said to Jacob, you can have Rachel in a week but you will have to work another seven years for her, so Jacob worked another seven years.
Jacob continued to struggle with his father-in-law for years, and finally decided it was time to go home. However, he wasn’t through manipulating yet. He was still determined to help God out. God blessed him, by giving him the majority of his father-in-law’s wealth, but Jacob placed rods of green poplar, almond and chestnut trees, in the water of the spotted sheep, as his Uncle Laban had agreed to give Jacob the spotted, and brown, sheep for wages. He thought it would make them more prolific breeders, just in case God needed his help (Genesis 30:35-43)
On the way home Jacob heard that his brother Esau, whom he had swindled out of his birthright all those years ago. The big burly he-man brother, was coming to meet him, and he was scared, scared enough to finally get alone with God.
Genesis 32:22-32 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had.
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” but he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
It has been said, God appears to a person in a way the person understands. To Abraham He appeared as a traveler, to Joshua, He appeared as a warrior, and to Jacob, because he was such a wrestler, he appeared as a wrestler. I think that is so cool!
The “Man” Jacob wrestled with was Christ. This instance was one of the times Jesus showed up in the Old Testament.
Jacob wasn’t beating Jesus up, Jesus was humoring him, like you would a child, you would wrestle with them, make them think they are winning. Jesus was waiting for Jacob to run out of strength.
Jacob started out wrestling- or resisting Jesus, and in the end he was just clinging on to him, even to the point of pain. He would not let go until God blessed him. He wanted the blessings of God so much he was willing to leave his home, family and suffer pain to keep it. When Jesus asked Jacob what his name was, it wasn’t because Jesus didn’t know his name, Jacob didn’t want to admit who he was, and Jesus needed this admission. Jesus will never do anything against our will, so Jesus wanted him to admit who he was, the supplanter, the swindler, so He could change him.
Are you going to give your weight up to God, No matter the end result? Or are you still wrestling about trying other methods of losing weight?
When I decided to make the title of this day’s study, “Wrestling with God” I thought it would be about staying up all night and day wrestling with God in prayer. I thought if I could just do that, pray until I am healed, then I will be skinny. I would plan it, but for some reason it never got off the ground. But while I was doing research for this study, I realized God had another plan, it wasn’t going to be about staying up wrestling in prayer. I dawned on me, I have been wrestling with God for the nine years I have been writing this study. I would get it, and start to lose weight, then I would lose it, and gain weight again. It has taken me this long of wrestling with God, to understand this one important fact, He will accomplish His perfect will, in His perfect time.
Through the years, I have tried manipulating Him, begging Him, holding my breath and stamping my feet… And thorough all that wrestling I have finally come to the point where I know I can’t do one thing to make it faster, and I can’t do one thing to make it slower. God’s will for my life will be done, and all I can do is cling to Him. And do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is the real meat of the word, and I know you don’t want to hear this, it is so hard to wait on God. This life isn’t about whether or not you are skinny for the next Christmas party, it is about your relationship with the almighty God. I know God does not want you to stay overweight, it’s not healthy for you, but He may make you wait for a time so He can develop your character. I doubt He will make you wait for the nine years it has taken me to write this Bible study, this is my life’s work, and it is so worth it, but He might.
The everlasting covenant with God meant nothing to Esau, Genesis 12:1-3 Esau no interest in the things of God and he didn’t have faith or vision of Gods promise and sold this blessed birthright for al bowl of stew!
READ: Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Paraphrase the above scripture and put it in your own words __________________________
How do you “renew your mind” ________________________________________________
You renew your mind by hearing, reading, seeing, digging into the word of God. You hunt for the treasure, and wrestle with God. Through this Bible study I have learned who I am in Christ. We are His children, but if we continue being children, by being fed only what tickles our ears and makes us feel good, we will never be prepared to teach the word of God. We are all called to teach the Word, be it to edify the body or to lead people to the Lord, and whatever that takes, God will fulfill that in you.
READ: Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Philippians 2:12-17 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
We learned in an earlier study that the sentence “work out your own salvation” is not saying you need to work for salvation. It implies he is talking to the church. Or those who are already saved. In the Bible the word “salvation” has three tenses, (1) your are saved,(2) is being saved from a habit or dominion of sin, and (3) will be saved at the Lords return. This verse is talking about being saved from your habits, and being saved from them, this process takes time. This tense of salvation is a active state of being right now. Although we can’t see God, and are sometimes confused about what He wants us to do, we still need commit to trust him. That is working out your own salvation.
What do you think verse thirteen from Philippians 2, means “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. ______________________________________
Verse, thirteen sums it up It is God who works in you. In His timing. The word “work out” is translated, “as silver being dug out and processed from silver mines”. So “Being saved” can be compared to a huge gift that needs to be opened to enjoy. Can you trust God and rejoice in the process. Paul wrote this while he was in jail waiting to be executed, and he writes in verses seventeen and eighteen, Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
It is a process we are saved but we are also being saved from our habits and evil desires.
Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
I Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
II Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
There are four guidelines for freedom from our sins in these verses,
• Denial of self: is turning your wants and desires and needs over to Christ to do as He sees fit, understanding that He knows best.
• Pick up your cross: count the cost see that it’s worth it, and do what God wants you to do at all cost.
• Follow Christ: He may ask you to follow into places you don’t want to go, He may ask you to wait.
• Die to Self: Present your body as a living sacrifice, forget your own interests, die to self.
What does it mean to lay your sins down at the foot of the cross? I have heard several pastors say that, and it bothered me for years. Okay I have this addiction, and the preacher would say leave it at the cross and you will be healed, but they never said how to leave it at the cross.
Let’s read how Jesus left it at the cross when He prayed for God to deliver Him, Mark 14: 35, 36 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
When Jesus prayed the night before His death, he prayed to be delivered from the agony of the cross, “ Did God answer Jesus’ prayer the way Jesus asked Him to? ________________
How do you feel about your answer? ____________________________________________
The last nine words of His prayer tell us exactly how to leave it at the foot of the cross, nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Hebrews 5:7-9 (speaking of Jesus) who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
Even Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered, these verses said God heard Him and answered His prayer, but not in the way Jesus asked, but in the way that was best for Jesus. It’s not fun while we are going through it, but it won’t last forever, It will only last as long as is needed.
II Corinthians 4:-16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We need to get rid of our own vain ambition, and let God accomplish His will in our lives. When Satan tempted Jesus, each of the temptations were offers to fulfill vain ambition. Any time Satan tempts us, it is with offers to give us what we want, our dreams, and desires, and we ALWAYS find out, what we thought we wanted, isn’t what we want at all.
Oswald Chambers the writer of “My utmost for His Highest”, said it so well when he wrote: “The will of God is the gladdest, brightest, most bountiful thing possible to conceive, and yet some of us talk of the will of God with a terrific sigh—‘Oh well, I suppose it is the will of God,’ as if His will were the most calamitous thing that could befall us. . . . We become spiritual whiners and talk pathetically about ‘suffering the will of the Lord.’ Where is the majestic vitality and might of the Son of God about that!”
Hopefully, in this study we have answered the question of “Why won’t Jesus to take it away now!” A question I have asked many times.
READ: Luke 22
In light of today’s study, what was the scripture or statement in today’s lesson that most spoke to your heart? __________________________________________________ ________
What steps of faith does God want you to take towards Him today? ____________________
Rephrase the scripture or statement into an expression of faith_________________________
Proverbs 16:9 A Man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.