January 10, 2016

Who will win?

Genesis 29-32

When watching a sports event, some Christians will pray for their home team. This doesn’t make sense because the other team likely has supporters that do the same. I’ve decided that if I’m going to pray, it will be for the team whose win will most glorify God. There will be Christians players on both sides, so I also pray that they will play with integrity, asking God to remind them that He is the One they serve and give them the mind to avoid fouls and unnecessary roughness.

Jacob, son of Isaac, was not the godliest man, but he did show integrity in some areas of his life. He left home to escape the wrath of his twin brother Esau, found his relatives and married two sisters. First he worked seven years for Rachel, only to have her father trick him by putting Leah in his tent. After a week, Rachel also became his wife, and he agreed to work seven more years for her.

Their home was filled with jealousy and conflict, yet his flocks increased and he was prosperous. He said to his wives, I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength,  yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me.  If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.” (Genesis 31:5-9)

Such treatment caused Jacob to take his family and herds and flee from his uncle Laban. Laban did go after him, but a peace of sorts was made Jacob headed to this own country. On the way, he prepared to meet Esau. During this critical time, he met and wrestled with God and his name was changed to Israel.

While all of this happened, God kept his eye on Jacob. He prevented Laban from harming him, and He prevented Esau from doing the same. However, in the wrestling match, He also he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint” ensuring that Jacob would never forget that God is God.

God was honored in the end of the competition between Jacob and Laban, the conflict of Rachael and Leah with Jacob sometimes in the middle of their spats, and the rift between Jacob and Esau. Eventually Jacob wrestled with God Himself and realized again that God’s plan for Jacob’s life was going as God wanted, not as Jacob schemed. The Lord made a covenant and He would fulfill it to the letter.

Sometimes I look at my tendency to resist God, to sin for no good reason, and all the ups and downs that go with being a Christian. However, I am kept by the power of God and reassured again and again that I will win this battle, not because I am a good competitor, but because when God wins, I win, and because in that victory, God will be glorified.

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