Sometimes I find it difficult to look inwards and see the things in me that I need to allow God to work on. God, however is gracious and compassionate. In His infinite patience, he waits until I come to the end of my own schemes and plans to show me a better way. To show me that what he has for me is far better and more fulfilling than anything I could ever come up with. This second part Jacob’s story tells me that perhaps, I am not the first or last to go through this process……
The first part of the story can be found here.
Jacob reminds me of how we often rely on our own plans, separate from God, to get us through life
In the past, Jacob had gotten by through schemes, tricks, and plans from his own heart. Jacob was a man who could craft a plan and make it happen! Two notable examples of how he used his well-laid plans to trick those closest to him are when he tricked his brother out of his birthright (Genesis 25:21-34), and how he tricked his father to bless him instead of this brother with the help of his mother (Genesis 26:34 to Genesis 27:1-29).
Jacob’s trickery caught up with him eventually. After tricking his brother Esau out of his birthright, Esau vowed to kill him (Genesis 27:41). To escape his brother, Jacob fled to Laban, his uncle, who lived in Haran.
Yet despite all this, God never gave up on him. Even as he was fleeing, God appeared and assured him that he was still with him, and God would honor the covenant he had made with his grandfather Abraham through him. Even when we are lost and far away from God, his promises to us still remain. He does not take back anything that he promised us. His promises never go back to him void.
For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it.Isaiah 55:10-11
God’s love for us is so amazing, he never, ever gives up on us.
However, Jacob still had to undergo hardships to change from being a deceiver into what God needed him to be – the father of many nations. In Genesis 29:14-29, we find him working for fourteen years after being tricked into marrying Laban’s first daughter Leah when in actual fact he had wanted to marry Rachel, the second born. And the hardships did not stop there. Laban cheated Jacob multiple times out of his wages (Genesis 31:7). The trickster became the one who was tricked. Yet in all this, God had not left him. Jacob had to endure hard labor and many years of working for his uncle. This was a consequence of his own actions, but God used it for good. Amidst all this, God caused Jacob to grow and increase.
Even when we are in a dark and difficult place, God can still grow and restore us.
Then the time of the great reckoning came. As he prospered, his in-laws became jealous and God told Jacob to go back home. Now remember that back home, Esau had vowed to kill Jacob, yet God is telling Jacob to go back.
By going back, Jacob would face a real threat to his life. His brother could very well kill him. For a time, it looked like his brother was out to kill him, as he came out to meet him with 400 men. Jacob must have been very afraid, and as always, he came up with a plan to appease his brother, by sending him gifts and splitting up his possessions to go before him. His plan was to meet Esau last, by himself after Esau had received all the gifts and hopefully had a change of heart.
As Jacob was busy planning all this, the angel of the Lord came and interrupted his plan. The Bible says that Jacob wrestled the whole night with God. Jacob refused to release Him until he was blessed (Gen 32:24-30). At this point, Jacob has started coming into a realization that only through God would he truly prosper. He needed to lay aside his own plans and start putting God first.
Jacob learned to involve God in his plans on his way back to where God needed him to be. This put him on the path back to restoration.
I learn from this that when I involve God, he will restore me to his original plan for my life. He will direct me on how to live my life, and live it abundantly.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10
My prayer today is that I may learn to ask God to reveal to us his plans for my life and that I may let him restore any areas in me that need restoration.
Involving God in our plans allows him to restore us, and helps us to soar higher and higher!
In the next two parts of the story, I found interesting links between how restoration influences prosperity and ultimately plays a role in the fulfillment of God’s grand plan for mankind.
That’s what’s coming next week! Hope you find some time to read it 😊
May God bless you richly!