It is Thursday, and as I like to say, Bin Day around here.
Some of the Leadership Council met late afternoon yesterday in the church building in a sort of social distance kind of way to sort out some of the stuff that had been unearthed by our deeper cleaning, and to make decisions about what to keep and what to throw out/recycle. Good progress has been made with some further work still to be done.
Our Bible passage today is a bit shorter but a little mysterious, Genesis Chapter 32 verses 22-32.
You might remember Jacob had a special encounter with the Lord in a mysterious dream (stairways and angels) as he left/fled the Promised Land back in Chapter 28. Here as he prepares to re-enter the Promised Land and to meet again with his brother, again he has a mysterious encounter, an all-night wrestling match with a man who turns out to be God Himself.
In a sense Jacob has been wrestling, first with Esau and then Laban, for all his adult life, but the real battle is against the Lord. Jacob is strong, and is not easily defeated, but is injured in the encounter. And it dawns on him who he is fighting and so demands a blessing, which leads to a change of name, and a new start. His old name, Jacob, the one who grasps the heel or the one who deceives, recalls his grubby past; his new name, Israel, ‘he struggles with God’, perhaps a promise of a future triumph.
Through this encounter Jacob now knows even more deeply that his life has been spared (v.30) and in his new vulnerability he is dependent on God.
It is very easy for us to want a special experience of the Lord and yet remain in charge of our own lives. But the story of Jacob is a story of someone who more and more realises that God is full of mercy and yet wants us to surrender completely to Him.
In our church address list, please remember in your prayers today,
– Shirley and family.