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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Today’s devotion is a continuation of the first part of the devotion titled, Hold Unto Him Tightly, where the role of proper preparation with the acquisition of the right weapons was emphasised. The need to be properly grounded in the Word of God which the Bible says is the sword of the spirit was clearly stated as that remains the only support that will be available during the actual battle period – Eph. 6:10-20. All the extras like the angels, prayer warriors and others will only show up in between battles, to minister and re-invigorate such individual in preparation for a fresh battle. Victory in all these battles remain a sine qua none for success in life.
The focus today is on the other life lessons that emerged from the events of the movement of Jacob back to his fatherland.
- Jacob waited for release from the Lord before he made the move to free himself. When Jacob’s mother sent him to Laban, it was not for Laban to turn him into a slave which was what he seemed to eventually become. He could have at several stages of the journey left but persevered until the Lord released him – Gen. 31:3. All the while Laban may have thought he was the one holding down Jacob but his folly was revealed to him when he attempted to wield that same power he thought was responsible for the inability of Jacob to declare freedom. The actual power that held Jacob back was the one that stopped Laban and rendered him powerless. As a Christian, no one can hold you back. Even though an individual or an event, may be the physical reason for your being held back, the actual power holding you back is the Almighty and is always going to be for a purpose. Give recognition to that power and stop dignifying all those worldly powers, who are only powerful because the only powerful one has empowered them to do what they are doing, with unmerited recognition.
King David cautioned his servant who wanted to defend him against the insults that Shimei was piling on him adding that, if God had not empowered him to do so, it would have been impossible for him to do what he was doing – 2Sam. 16:5-13. The consolation for the Christian is that all such false powers eventually come to realise that they are no power, but that is if the Christian can learn to focus on the only powerful one in such times.
- The waiting was worth it in the long term as Jacob did not leave empty handed. He acquired so much that by the time he was returning to his fatherland, whatever property the father possessed was no longer of interest to him – Gen. 32:4-5. Definitely operating under the unction of the blessing he had received from his father which in itself is the product of the grace of God, he in that position of enslavement was deeply blessed by the Almighty God. The Lord in a dream had showed him that on every occasion when the requirement for which sheep was going to be his was changed by Laban, God Himself changed the male sheep that was mating the females flock to ensure the product met the requirements of flock that will belong to Jacob – Gen. 31:5-13. He intended for one wife but got two wives and he definitely never thought of such level of wealth when he was serving Laban. The Christian must realise that the location that he/she sees as that of enslavement is God’s preparation ground for success. All that one needs to do is to serve diligently in such locations according to the instructions of the Almighty God and it will always be joy in the end. After sending the Israelites to captivity in Babylon, he instructed them through Jeremiah that they should remain in that enslavement and obey the instructions of their captors as that remains the only way they can receive his favour – Jer. 29:1-23. He did not disappoint them as he blessed them and in due time granted them grace to return to their country, an experience they compared to being in a dream – Psa. 126:1. It is always like that when the Christian has submitted to the Will of the Almighty God in that enslavement situation with patience. All that is lost are returned in multiples and in a miraculous manner. Be still in that enslavement and know that He is God – Psa. 46:10.
- Prayer indeed works but your positive action is required for prayer to be successful. Jacob knew that his behaviour towards brother by picking his blessing with deceit, was not a spiritual action even though there may be some underlying spiritual explanation, so he did not spend time praying to avert the possible anger that could have been waiting for him. He followed the advise of Jesus Christ to his disciples when he told them to watch and pray – 26:41. He not only sent emissaries to him to appease him but also packaged gifts to placate him and even with that, he still made a fall back plan in anticipation of a situation where all his attempts to reach out will be bounced off by Esau – Gen. 32:13-21. Christians must realise that life must follow the simple law of body for body, spirit for spirit – Jn. 3:6. There may be role of a spiritual solution in a physical issue but the resolution must include a physical action. Attempting to put all solutions on the spiritual option will make resolution very difficult if not impossible. Apply appropriate solution to physical issues before seeking spiritual intervention and support. Necessary physical action must always precede spiritual intervention.
- Effective prayer must have both physical and spiritual effect. A prayer that does not change the one praying is an ineffective prayer. Jacob was not only changed physically but was also changed spiritually. The removal of the ligament on one of his legs created the physical change and the changing of his name from Jacob to Israel changed both his physical and spiritual identity. That probably explains why Esau’s reaction to him also changed or how else can one explain the friendly action of someone who was attending a meeting with four hundred soldiers. He could not have brought them along simply to show case his military prowess. He probably saw a different person, physically and spiritually and so had to sheathe his sword – Gen. 33:4. The Christian must realise that the enemy’s action will only change if the offered prayer was able to change anything including the one that is praying. Every situation that must be resolved requires the positive role of all the parties involved and the resolution of the conflict between the Christian and the supposed enemy will not be an exception. The same prayer that is expected to change the mind of the enemy must start with changing the one that is praying. Jacob had insisted that he would not leave the location until his intention received the blessing of the Lord. That did happen but not before he was physically and spiritually transformed. Prepare for change including strategy change if you desire the intervention of the Almighty God, so that the enemy can change too and consequently your situation will change.
The Christian today must learn to hold unto the Almighty God in prayer in all situations. Trusting in the Lord is all that can produce that desired change but such must also be willing to change. It takes two to tango. He that is not willing to change should not necessarily expect the desired positive change in that unfriendly situation. May God grant us all the spiritual ability to hold unto Him in order to effect positive change in our situation in Jesus name. Amen.