Athlete, Step Out in Faith

* This devotional series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virgina

Read Genesis 32

Jacob was stuck between a rock and hard place. Stay with Laban, where he would continue to deal with Laban's antics and the influence of Laban's gods, or confront Esau, which could put his own life and everything he had been given in jeopardy.  One was the way of safety and comfort, the other was the way of calling and faith in God.

Jacob is ready to choose the way of faith.  Jacob's appeasement tactics before Esau are surely understandable, but it's hard to know whether these tactics display a lack of faith, wisdom, or an appropriate recompense for stolen blessing. One thing we do know:  there is a stark contrast in Jacob's posture before God between the beginning of his 20-year journey and the present (32:10). God has clearly been warming Jacob's heart, preparing his heart for a full on invasion ... the greatest wrestling match the world will ever know.

God visited Abraham in the form of a man and now He visits Jacob in the form of a man. Just as Jesus came in human weakness, so does this man. Yet with one divine touch of Jacob's hip socket, the battle is effectively over (32:25). Jacob's human strength  and devices are rendered useless before the strength of God.

 In a very real sense, Jacob had been wrestling God his entire life, but preseason was over. He had seen his need for God prior to this contest, but now he is desperate for God, clinging to him for blessing (31:26).  Invasion completed, restoration may commence. He walks away with a new name -- Israel, or "struggles with God" -- fitting his own experience and that of his progeny; a profound humility before the glory and mercy of God (32:30); and a limp -- a painful but gracious reminder, for generations to come (32:32), of Who has the power to give life.

Questions for Reflection & Prayer

1. How is God calling you to step out in faith?  Are you taking the way of safety and comfort, or the way of calling and faith?

2. Has God ever touched your hip socket, so to speak, to show you that you are not able to run your life?  Are you remembering your limp, or trying to act like you don't have one?

3. Do you need a little help from God, or are you desperate for God, clinging to Him for mercy, joy, peace, wisdom, power to change, power to touch others' lives with your words and actions, etc.?

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