Thursday, March 31, 2016
Struggling Under the Blessing (Part 4)
There is one more application I think can be legitimately drawn from Jacob’s life. His life, as recorded in Genesis, teaches us, in part, that God is always pursuing us to bring us to the point where we can experience being delivered and brought into the covenant relationship with him. This process happens in the same way it did for Jacob: Through surrender to the living God when confronted with the Truth about God’s grace and demands upon us.
This work of bringing us to the point of repentance and surrender is absolutely necessary for us to come under God’s covenant blessing of Abraham. Or as the Lord Jesus said, repentance is necessary to enter God’s Kingdom that has now arrived. Repentance is to turn around and change directions to go in the right way; if genuine it is fruit of spiritual surrender to God.
In the end, when Jacob finally learned the necessity of surrender, he began to change to obey God’s direction for his life. What he found was mercy instead of hatred from his brother. He discovered the bounty of God’s grace upon his arrival home—that he was welcome and that God was faithful to his promise and gave him the inheritance. But now he knew that it was not because he was merely the grandson of Abraham.
He now understood that he must directly and honestly learn to do God’s will first; he cannot take the blessing for granted but must be responsive to God as the heir of the covenant. Indeed, the writer of Hebrews observes, “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, ‘bowing in worship over the top of his staff’.” (Hebrews 11:21, NRSV) Thus we see the elderly Jacob who has learned to surrender and worship Almighty God; he now feared God himself because God’s mercy had been granted to him.
Like Jacob, in order for us to live under the covenant blessing, we must learn to listen and obey God according to the knowledge given to us of God’s will. In doing so we will find spiritual blessing that makes us contagious with the divine blessing in Christ. We become one of God’s chosen people and thus take on the responsibility of being God’s representatives on earth to bear witness to the Gospel.