Friday, October 10, 2014

See God {Day 10: The God of Jacob}

The God of Jacob is my God.  I don't know whether to be embarrassed or totally relieved over this fact.  I am leaning towards relief, but I am telling you, the Jacob I see on the pages of Genesis is not really someone I want in my spiritual genealogical line.

Or is he?

I see a man who from the womb was itching to pick a fight and have his own way.  He conspired with his mother in order to manipulate his father into giving him the family blessing.  He tricked his father in law, Laban.  Time and time again, I see a man who is a cheat.  A liar.  An arrogant manipulator.

And, then, I realize why it is called grace.

God had chosen Jacob to be a Patriarch of this great nation, Israel.  God had declared that His blessing would indeed flow through Jacob's line.  God's grace allowed this despite Jacob's character.  But, God's grace didn't leave Jacob to that ugly character.

Yes, that is the God I want to worship and be aligned with.  A God of infinite care and grace.  I want to worship a God who won't leave me in my ugly and vast pit of striving and selfishness.

So, in Genesis 32, we start to see God call Jacob out of this ugly self-preservation and pride.  He has allowed Jacob to leave his deceitful father in law.  He has prospered him with children and flocks.  He has called him back to Bethel, the House of God, the place where Jacob saw the ladder and the angels ascending and descending.  He is reminding Jacob of who he is.

But, first, he must deal with his double heart.
Jacob leaves one enemy but is faced with another. He is camped between two people that he has deceived in the past.  The first thing he sees is a host of angels.

What?  That is not what I was about you?  Once again, we see God's grace.

God takes the veil off of his eyes for a temporary moment and Jacob beholds not one army of angels, but two.  Jacob names the place "Mahanaim" which in Hebrew means "double camp." 

My heart beats faster and I wonder why it is a double camp he is allowed to see...why not just one single camp of angels?  Isn't one camp enough when God's mighty warriors are involved?

I can't get three ideas out of my head.

1.  Jacob had two adversaries:  Laban and Esau.  He was sandwiched right between them.  Perhaps God wanted him to know He was sufficient for all his troubles.

2.  Jacob had two wives and therefore, two camps of families.  Maybe God wanted Jacob to know that He would be providing double assistance for his double portion of responsibility.

3.  Jacob still had a divided heart.  Maybe God wanted to show him that he had two camps in his inner that acknowledged God and the other that looked to self for provision. 

Mahanaim...double camp

Call me a tad shocked after Jacob is allowed to see the heavenly hosts in all their glory...all two camps of them and resorts back to his old ways.

Or am I shocked?  Am I not the same?

Right after the heavenly vision, Jacob resorts immediately back to fear and taking matters into his own hands.  Instead of resting in God's protection and plan, Jacob frets, divides his people into two camps, and schemes his own plan.

Do you see a theme here?  God shows us a double portion of His glory and instead of walking in faith, we cower in fear and divide.  Anytime we choose unbelief, we will take matters into our own hands which leads to division with God, stripping ourselves from intimacy with Him.
But, God doesn't leave Jacob in that place.  Once again, we are reminded that our God wants to change our character.  He wants to offer us life and change our very names.

Mahanaim...double camp

God wants to show Jacob what is in his heart, so He enters into a wrestling match with him.  If Jacob is to return to Bethel, the House of God, the place of intimacy and communication with God, then He is going to have to have his old character stripped away.

Currently, Jacob claims to know God, but He has some major trust issues.  His heart is in a double camp.  He is walking in the flesh and claiming to serve Jehovah.  He is battling the supernatural vs. the natural.  Faith vs. flesh.  A life walked in the Spirit vs. a life walked in Striving.

I am glad the God of Jacob is my God.

God wants Jacob in His camp.  Solely.  Not God's camp and Jacob's camp, but God's camp.  Period.

There are a million trillion things that can be said about this wrestling match.  I want to mention just two.  First, God forces Jacob to say his own name.  The last time Jacob was asked his name was probably when he deceived his father and told him it was Esau, not Jacob.  In saying his name, Jacob comes face to face with his ugly character.

After God shows Jacob who he is, he doesn't leave him there.  He shows Jacob who He is.  A God willing to bless.  A God willing to rename.  A God willing to show off his gracious character...his very face.  "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (face of God): for I have seen God face to face (paneh:  the face, as the part that turns) and my life is preserved." Gen. 32:30

Jacob saw the Face that turned Jacob into Israel.  He saw the Gracious God who not just spared his life, but turned him from a supplanter and who manipulates and schemes...into a man who will rule as a prince of God...for the glory of God.

What is your Mahanaim?  What is your double camp?  Do you have two adversaries?  Two huge responsibilities?  Two portions of your heart that should beat together as one?

The God of Jacob has a double camp of warriors ready to assist.  He is the God I want to worship.

The God of Jacob is my God.

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