In the past, when this writer was reading the Bible and came to the part where Jacob was blessing his sons, and it was Joseph¡¦s turn to be blessed, and Jacob said, ¡§The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors¡¨ (Genesis 49:26), I was mystified by his arrogance. Recently I contemplated several passages in the Bible, and had some new insight.
That which was from the beginning, which he had heard, which he had seen with his eyes, which he had looked upon, and his hands had handled, concerning the Word of life, who amongst the many personages in the Old Testament was like Jacob? Who had as great a grace and blessing as he, to have been face to face with God and still kept his life, and even to have wrestled with God all night and been declared the victor by the Lord? And who was able to seize the precious opportunity like he did and grabbed hold of God saying, ¡§I will not let You go unless You bless me!¡¨ (Genesis 32:26-30)
In those days Jacob used crafty means to snatch the birthright and the blessing of the first-born from Esau. To escape his brother¡¦s murderous pursuit, he fled by himself to Haran. At night, God appeared to him in a dream. He dreamt of a ladder reaching up to Heaven with God standing above it and not descending. At that time there still was between God and Jacob the distance of Heaven to the earth. Jacob did not have any deep knowledge of the Lord, yet God promised him His blessing. After 20 years of trials, God finally told Jacob to return to the land of his grandfather to face his brother Esau once again ¡V the same brother he had many times used unrighteous means to offend in the past. God has very strict requirements of those who belong to Him. If we want to have the blessing that comes when God is with us, we should reflect on where we have failed, and then repent. God wished that Jacob¡¦ soul could find true release, and not be remorseful all his life because of his estrangement with his brother. So He urged Jacob to return and face his brother.
The greatest difficulty Jacob had in returning to his homeland was not how to disengage from his mean-spirited uncle Laban, but how to confront the brother who was mad at him. So he racked his brain and used a series of schemes involving generous gifts and evasions to try to resolve the hatred Esau had for him with his own methods. The remorse, fear and worry generated by the deceit he used on his brother, his drive to win and his coveting had bound him for many years. That night, God sought him at the ford of Jabbok, met with him alone and wrestled with him in the hope that he would wrestle free of all those fetters in his heart and enjoy the freedom of the Son of God. Jacob could become a man who received and bestowed blessings because he was willing to confront his past mistakes and failures. In resolving the enmity between the brothers, he finally admitted to his own incapacity, and determined to hold tight to the help and blessing of God. Therefore God called him Israel, and gave him a noble status to be known as the Prince of God.
From the Old Testament to the New, God¡¦s requirements have not changed ¡V being worthy to be called a son of God, one¡¦s love and behaviour must go beyond the moral standards of earthly men. The people on earth believe that ¡§you shall love your neighbours and hate your enemies.¡¨ But the Son of God says, ¡§I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.¡¨ (Matthew 5:44-45)
Dear brothers and sisters, see how great the love is that our Heavenly Father bestows upon us, that we may be called the children of God because we know and believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Besides, the Lord¡¦s command is that we love one another by following the example of His Son. Dear brothers and sisters, this writer believes that there exists no hatred or dispute within our group, but if there is any ill-will or chasm between members or between spouses, who will be willing like Jacob to face and hold tight onto the help of God to resolve these problems?
By: Daniel To