From the moment God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, the name Abram was never used again. Yet, after God changed Jacob’s name, his old name was employed twice as much as his new name in the remaining chapters of Genesis. Jacob became a changed man as the result of wrestling with God at Peniel. Yet, he also remained unchanged. Apparently, there remained a lot of the old man in the new patriarch, just as there often remains a lot of the old man or woman in us.
It’s stunning that the greedy person is on the same list as the homosexual; that the gossiper is on the same list as the hater of God; that the habitual drunk is on the same list as the murderer. This entire list is like the McDonald’s menu. Mix and match any items you want – and it all ends up costing the same price. So, here’s the question: If everyone is on the list; if everyone can be found somewhere on this list, and the result is the same, then what different does it make – aren’t we all doomed? Find out in part 2 of finding joy in the struggle.
When the chickens come home to roost, being optimistic is almost impossible. How often Jacob had thought of the very moment that now came upon him. Would he survive? Would he have a future? He wanted to be flush with hope, but the regrets had piled so high they seemed to hide even the possibility of hope. Yet, God used this precise event to produce usefulness in Jacob. It is at the Jabbok River that he left behind the immaturity of the past and, at last, took a huge step toward spiritual adulthood. Your Jabbok may be just ahead.
Paul wanted to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Is such an attainment possible in this life? The first answer is: Never! The second answer is: Absolutely! In fact, you just may discover a whole new lease on a life filled with joy. Get moving now.
In the 1991 movie, City Slickers, Curly, played by Jack Palance, said: There is only one thing in life that really matters. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else means nothing. Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, asked: What is that one thing? We waited with bated breath and eager anticipation for the answer. Who doesn’t want to know the one thing in life that really matters? Curly answered: That’s what you’ve got to figure out. Paul figured it out! Paul discovered the one thing in life that really mattered – and you can too!
When we work for God, His purpose is going to be accomplished. This makes it essential to continue following Him in perfect obedience no matter what. God did not spell out every detail to Jacob, nor does He spell out every detail to us. God requires that we, too, walk by faith. That means believing without always knowing.