And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. – Gen. 32:26 KJV
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Jacob had received the blessing of the Almighty God to receive freedom from the enslavement he had found himself in, in the house of Laban his uncle – Gen. 31:3. He had undergone twenty years of service to him under very terrible conditions and was finally able to free himself – Gen. 31:38. It had not been all completely bad news though as during the same period, he that arrived in Laban’s house as a fugitive with nothing except an introductory letter from his mother to his uncle (Gen. 27:43-45) was now departing with two wives, children and many livestock (Gen. 31:17-18), so he had lots to thank the Almighty God and even his uncle for, but probably out of belief that his uncle will not be willing to release him, he decided to leave without informing him. He was however only three days journey away when his uncle noticed his absence and decided to go after him in fury – Gen. 31:20-23. But for the intervention of the Almighty God, who warned off Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob, it could have been a different story when he finally caught up with him after seven days – Gen. 31:24. After resolving all issues, Laban eventually had to release Jacob and in relief, he decided to face the second part of his fear.
In real terms, he had found himself at some point in the middle of two major fears. Just like the Israelites found themselves between the army of Pharaoh and the Red Sea (Exo. 14:1-31), he also found himself between the fiery Laban chasing him and the fear of Esau his brother whose forgiveness he had to seek, just ahead of him. He with the support of his mother had deceived Isaac, his father into picking the blessing that was meant for Esau and as at the last time he had information on the mood of Esau, he was threatening fire and brimstone – Gen. 27:1-45. So his was probably a bigger challenge to face but both were equally scary.
With the challenge of Laban over, he had to strategise on how to overcome the potential danger that Esau posed. In achieving this objective, he decided to send an advanced party to Esau to communicate his intention to return to his fatherland and the information that his servants came back with that his brother, Esau was planning to meet him in the company of four hundred soldiers got him worried and distressed (Gen. 32:1-7) so he decided to do what was most rational in such circumstances, he watched and prayed. The watch part was the move to split his entourage into two to avoid total loss and arrange for gifts to be given to his brother to sort of placate him whilst the pray part he eventually did that night. In an all night prayer session, he sought spiritual support to overcome his fear knowing fully well that he could not achieve anything without such support – Gen. 32:9-12; 22-26. The scripture for today’s devotion is the summary of that spiritual activity of Jacob as he insisted on having the blessing of the Lord on his plans before proceeding to implement it. According to Jacob in that scripture, he was not going to continue on his journey until he received the blessing of the Lord and this he eventually got when the Almighty God through the angel, and in a move that changed both his physical and spiritual person, presented a new person different from the one that Esau was probably coming to meet – Gen. 32:25-28. He changed his physical personality such that the Jacob that went into prayer battle walking straight came out of the prayer session walking with a gait. He also changed his spiritual personality such that the person called Jacob that went into the prayer session changed and a new person called Israel was the product of the session.
Some facts emerged from these historical events that should be noted by the Christian today.
The first of such will be discussed in today’s devotion and it is that the delegation of angels that showed up after recording the victory in the first battle were no longer available when he had to fight his second battle (Gen. 32:1) and even when one showed up, it was not to support his cause as it took personal determination on the part of Jacob to get the angel to grant the request of Jacob – Gen. 32: 24-25.
This, just as in the case of the angels who came to minister unto Jesus Christ, only after he had successfully overcome the temptations of the Devil (Matt. 4:11), should further inform today’s Christian that victory in life battles is majorly based on the individual’s effort. You will only achieve as much as you put in. Expectation and reliance on men should be limited to basics such as advise or suggestions, just as thoughts of any spiritual being showing up to fight your battles will likely meet with disappointment.
What will guarantee your victory is your preparedness for your battles with the acquisition of the spiritual sword – Eph. 6:10-20. The Bible says that remains the tool to extinguish the flaming arrows of enemies. To be prepared to fight your life battle will be to be sufficiently grounded in the Word of God as failure to do so is an invitation for defeat and becoming a victim in life instead of a victor. The success of all the prayers made during your battles, either by you or all the prayers warriors you have recruited will be dependent on how much of the Word dwells in you. Acquire that tool now before the evil days arrive so you can assure yourself of victory. There may indeed be angels made available to you but they will only provide ministration to you and this surely will not be during the battle but during those intervals between each life battle that you must encounter to succeed in life. Theirs will be to refuel your spiritual tank in preparation for the next battle.
Your life battles remain yours and yours alone. Fight it in a manner that can engender victory. May God grant you the wisdom to acquire the right weapons for your life battles in Jesus name. Amen