Saturday, June 19, 2010
By Rev. Tom StewartTotal Dependency on God
In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys. -
Jacob left his homeland after suffering a broken relationship with Esau for stealing the family blessing. He went to work for his uncle Laban where he stayed for 20 years. It came time for him to leave, but he had no physical assets to show for those years under Laban. Laban had taken advantage of his nephew in every way. (In some ways, Jacob was reaping the seed he had sown his entire life as a manipulator and controller.) Nevertheless, God's hand
was on Jacob, and He had plans to prosper him. However, Jacob had one problem - he had no resources of his own. For Jacob to launch out on his own, he would need resources. In those days, resources often meant large flocks of animals. God gave Jacob a dream that resulted in a strategy for creating wealth by multiplying his sheep. Even though Laban sought to thwart Jacob's efforts, God overcame the evil in Laban to allow Jacob to prosper.
There are many important lessons for us in this story. First, when God decides it is time to move you into a larger place of His calling, He has the ability to provide the resources you need to support the call. God gave Jacob a dream that resulted in a strategy never used before to build wealth.
It was totally from God's hand. It was creative and new. God called Jacob to
move out after he had demonstrated his faithfulness in 20 years of serving Laban. He learned to live under authority and served Laban faithfully, even though he knew he was being taken advantage of.
God will do the same for you and me. However, a word of caution: Be sure the strategy is born from above, and not from self-effort. The difficulty for most of us workplace believers is to learn the difference between the strategies born of God versus the strategy of self-effort.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. -
All that Jacob had lived for was coming down to one event - his reunion with Esau. More than 20 years had passed since Jacob had manipulated his father's blessing away from his brother Esau. During these years God had been changing Jacob from a controller and manipulator to a man who was learning to trust God. He was now ready to meet Esau. However, he was fearful that Esau might take revenge on him and his family for his past sin, so he sent a gift ahead, while he retreated and sought mercy from God.
As an angel appeared to Jacob, he realized the only hope he had was in God. Only if God blessed him would he survive this ordeal. In the past, Jacob would have sought to solve his problem his way. Now,he wanted only God's way. He wanted Him so badly that he wouldn't let go of the angel. He was striving with God, but it was the right kind of striving. Jacob was striving to have all God's blessing on his life. He was seeking God with all that he had. "When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man" (Gen. 32:25). The only way to overcome the strong will of this man was to physically immobilize him. The angel touched the socket of Jacob's hip. It was painful; it broke him. This was the final stage of removing the old nature from Jacob. It was the place of complete brokenness and surrender. No longer would Jacob walk in his own strength. He would now have to lean on a cane, symbolic of his leaning on God alone.
It was the final act from God in Jacob's life that was celebrated with a new name - Israel. No longer would he strive with God or man. The process was now complete. God could now bless this man abundantly. He gave him favor with Esau and restored their broken relationship.
What does God have to do in our lives to remove the controlling and manipulative nature that so often is part of a our life? Perhaps it will require a time of immobilizing, loss of a job, loss of income, loss of health, loss of a close relationship. These are His methods of preparation. Your new nature will not be complete until you've stopped striving with God through your own self-efforts. If God is taking you through this process, be encouraged; it is because of the inheritance He has prepared for you. However, the inheritance can only be received when God brings us to total dependence on Him.
When we are babies and young children we are dependent on our parents. As teenagers we begin our search and growth for independence. Then hopefully as adults we become independent and stand on our own merits. True, we will always be co dependent with others, however, never totally dependent. This is the way it is in our relationships as human beings, and it is the way it should be, however in our relationships with GOD we were born totally dependent on Him and should remain that way. The human life elements versus our spiritual element are two different realities, however, mankind in its vanity confuses this issue . . . once upon a time so did God's head angel, Lucifer, and we know where it got him. We have been instructed to come before God as a little child . . . dependent on Him for ALL our needs . . . just as little children we were dependent on our parents.
This is one thing in our life where we never should age . . . remaining a child forever in the loving care of our Father.
SGT T.D. "Pappy" Stewart
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