“And he (Jacob) rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:22-28 KJV)
For years he ran from his sins, wrongdoings and past, and after years of running, he was returning home to claim his inheritance.
As he heavy-heartedly moved toward the home he ran from for years, his brother, Esau whom he had wronged years ago, heard of his return.
Still holding the past against his brother, Esau rallied an army and began a journey toward his approaching brother to reclaim revenge.
The true schemer that he was, Jacob sent his cattle, servants and some riches ahead of him to soften his brother’s heart after all those years of estrangement. Jacob, took matters into his own hands and tried to control the situation, but his flesh-inspired attempts to take control of a situation that was strategically orchestrated by God Himself proved futile —– only the hand of God can soften the heart of the individual whom we deeply hurt.
Night fell, and with all his belongings and family ahead of him over ford Jabbok. Jacob faced Jabbok River alone. There Jacob begins the struggle of mind inflicted upon him believing he is wrestling with a human foe who attacks him. He schemes with man’s thoughts in the endeavour to outdo his human opponent. But sooner or later in the struggle he recognised that he was fighting with God. There comes a point in our lives when in the fight to move forward, we realize that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities in high places. Often times, the opponent we think we are fiercely fighting is nothing more than a thought or apparition in reality.
This moment, realizing he was fighting against God, led Jacob to lose confidence in his own ability and strength, and at the Lord’s touch, he became as weak as a little child. He used all his power to cling to the Lord. He was now wrestling with praying, not letting go until God blessed him.
At the touch of Jesus, that which we once so faithfully trusted to win the victory becomes useless, leading us to declare, that God is our only sources of strength.
And so the Lord spoke to Jacob and asked him a remarkable question, “What is your name?” The God of the Universe unaware of the name of his own creature?
God has a way of asking life changing questions.
God KNEW Jacob’s name but Jacob had to confess it and acknowledge what he was.
“My name is Jacob, deceiver, liar, hypocrite, thief. My life has been one long career of crafty cunning and greed and reliance on self.”
Jacob had to face the ugliness of who he was before the beauty of his Creator.
How painful it is to face the ugliness of our characters, the darkness of our deeds, the wickedness of our actions and ways and thoughts. It takes a special kind of boldness to confess who you truly are before God.
Jacob was forced to look within and confess his mistakes in character and choices.
He was forced by God by this simple question to look within, and face the truth before he could receive victory.
One cannot find victory in Christ while he continues to live in sin or in the flesh.
And God said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacobs name was changed.
When Jacob confessed his burden and faced the truth of who he was and had become, God gave him a new identity and changed His character.
There at Jabbok, a place of total surrender, a place where you identity is changed forever, Jacob became Israel, a man with clean hands and a pure heart.
There at Ford Jabbok, Jacob finally found peace.
According to Ellen G White in Patriarchs and Prophets, “doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered his existence, but now all was changed; and sweet was the peace of reconciliation with God.”
Ford Jabbok, a place of deep struggle, and profound emptiness; a place where one must face the truth of their lives before they can win their greatest victory, was worth it.
Jacob left Jabbok a changed man, though hobbling, he was humbled, delivered and made new.
His sins were forgiven.
His idols were crushed.
His faith in God had increased.
Through a lonely place, and a fierce fight for life, God worked the greatest miracle in the life of Jacob.
That was Jacob – what about you?
God wants to give you a new name, identity, purpose and a lasting peace but first you must confess to Him, face the truth of your situation and let Him work a miracle in your life.
Maybe its time to stop running and face your Ford Jabbok with God, prayer and a determined, faithful spirit and receive the healing that you deserve.
Often times the reality we keep running from may be the one God chooses to use to set us free.
(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette