Genesis 35:7 NIV 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
“Jacob/Israel is a changed person. When he enters the Promised Land, for the first time in his life he builds an altar to God…The God of his fathers is now also Jacob’s God. Jacob then returns to Bethel, and there builds an altar to God (Gen 35:7), just as Abraham had done before him (Gen 12:8), claiming the land for the worship of the Lord. Because God intercepted him at Peniel, Jacob is a changed person.… Whereas before Peniel, ‘his entire life had been characterized by his determination to seize the promise and the blessing for himself,’ now he sees that ‘the fulfillment of the promise must be the work of God rather than the work of Jacob…God struggles with Jacob, and in the process Jacob prevails—not in the sense that he overcomes God but rather in the sense that by recognizing his dependence on God he is now able to receive the promise and the blessing of God to Abraham.’” (Greidanus, Sydney. Preaching Christ from Genesis. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Kindle.)
Prayer: Lord, because of your great love, we are changed people. May we live in the blessing you’ve called us to. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship by singing, “Yesterday, Today, And Forever” by Passion (click here).
Genesis 32:29-31 NIV 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
“He does not wish to bring you to some extremity in which you have no choice but to cast yourself on his mercy. Yet he will if he has to. Already he may have done so… there is no limit to what he will do, no desperation he will withhold to teach you this basic lesson in prayer: You are helpless and you have no hope except in him. The ‘man’ had disappeared, and Jacob stood uncertainly, panting, gently testing his painful leg to see if he could walk. ‘I have seen God face to face.’ The words repeated themselves wonderingly through his brain, infusing new life in his exhausted body…After that things would never again be quite the same.” (White, John. Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer. InterVarsity Press. Kindle location 309, 314.)
Prayer: Lord, instead of hiding or neglecting areas in our lives, may we know your loving care touching us as lightly or severely as needed. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Genesis 32:26-28 NIV 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
“They are words God has waited over forty years to hear. He would have preferred that Jacob recognize his helplessness and cast himself on the mercy of his God long before. He did not wish to reduce him to such an extremity, but Jacob left him little choice. And God’s response is swift in coming. Jacob had conquered by his helpless dependency. Is God wrestling with you? If so, what makes you resist? Greed? (He wants to give you of his bounty) Fear? (He alone can free you of it.) You must play it your way just this once? (You are a fool.)” (White, John. Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer. InterVarsity Press. Kindle location 309.)
The conquering victory that occurs in Jacob’s life was no longer to dominate by deceitfulness. Instead, the victory of God’s people comes when we are conquered by our helpless dependency on God.
Prayer: God, we confess our helplessness and cast ourselves on your mercy. We surrender and utterly depend on you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing, “Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham (click here).
Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV) 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…
Manila Manifesto – “Good News for Today”
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our lostness and despair. In his love he came after us in Jesus Christ to rescue and remake us. So the good news focuses on the historic person of Jesus, who came proclaiming the kingdom of God and living a life of humble service, who died for us, becoming sin and a curse in our place, and whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead. To those who repent and believe in Christ, God grants a share in the new creation. He gives us new life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and the indwelling, transforming power of his Spirit.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for not abandoning us to our lostness and despair. But in your great love, you came to rescue and remake us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance as we sing, “I Have A Savior” by CeCe Winans (click here).
Genesis 32:24-26 NIV 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“And through the fog of pain and terror the words begin to penetrate Jacob’s brain, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ Let him go? How can he? He isn’t even sure whether he can walk…And for once, since he has no choice, no other hope, Jacob’s tenacity is turned in the right direction. ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’” (White, John. Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer. InterVarsity Press. Kindle location 300, 307.)
There was no more family to look to, nor possessions to hold on to. Instead, Jacob was alone—alone facing the reality of his deceitfulness, and emptiness. The Lord leads Jacob at the precipice of the chasm (deep void) of his life, and it is in that moment that the encounter with God occurs. (P. Gus)
Prayer: Lord, may we hold onto no one, no thing but you. We depend on you for every breath, every step in life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship the Lord together by singing, “Mention of Your Name” by Jenn Johnson (click here).