Win by Losing
by Louis Talley
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Win by Losing : Genesis 32
No doubt at all, that God is showing us something vital with getting back to Jacob in Genesis 32. Jacob was self sufficient, independent and out of fellowship with God, yet protected by the same God.
Genesis 32:1- 2 "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, this is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim."
Mahanaim means "two camps". Jacob saw that even though he had his own camp of people, God surrounded him with angels.
There's something going on with us too that we are not aware of, just as it was with Elisha and all of God's people.
2 Kings 6:17 "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
Jacob was a con artist, self sufficient in himself and his wealth, but God saw the broken Jacob and a time when Jacob the con artist would have a new name - Israel. Jacob's fallen state at the time was not a factor regarding God's protection of him, he wasn't deserving or worthy of it, but that was something God wanted Jacob to understand in order to see God's love, mercy and grace.
Don't know about others, but I have always had a hard time accepting this without questioning, knowing what a jerk I can be and how rotten the thought process can be at times. A born loser, who is learning to win by losing.
Genesis 32:3-5 "And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight."
Here you see Jacob's mind at work, trying to soften up his brother before they meet, using flattery in calling him "my lord", seeking grace from the guy who had sworn to kill him the next time they met.
Genesis 32:6-7 "And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;"
God could have prevented this confrontation, but God was the one who engineered this encounter. One can only imagine what was going on in Jacob's mind when he was being told; "Your bother is coming to meet you with four hundred of his armed men."
In a flash, Jacob's mind went into defense mode devising a plan to divide his camp, in case Esau and his men killed one group, the other group could escape.
Genesis 32:8-12"And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape. And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude."
Jacob had not reached the end of himself yet, giving many titles to God in his prayer -- like many of us do in our prayers [as if this gives us more power to flatter God] -- just as Jacob did with Esau in calling him "lord".
This is not the same thing as Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
What we often try to do is please God and give Him a reason to deliver us rather than apply the boot. What we do not realize at times is that it is God Himself, who has put us in this rock and hard place, in order to receive His abundant blessings. Before Jacob was blessed, he was broken.
Genesis 32:13-16 "And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove."
Jacob still has his mind busy, using his self sufficiency and his ability to change a situation that will work to his advantage. By not giving all these animals at once but in waves, first the goats as a present, then the ewes, then the rams and so forth, Jacob thinks he can change the situation.
Genesis 32:17-18 "And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us."
Still flattering in calling himself "thy servant", offering a present to his lord Esau.
Genesis 32:19-20 "And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me."
Last part of the verse is the mind of Jacob in his thoughts, "I will appease him with all these goodies and maybe he won't kill me" Genesis 32:21-22 "So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok."
Jacob didn't sleep much gripped with fear and seeking to protect his family. With his mind working overtime, all he could think was to run and escape from the trouble that was coming to him. Genesis 32: 23-24 "And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day."
A whole lot is packed in verse 24.
Nobody wants to be alone, not even a hermit. No one wants to be in isolation, with just one's thoughts for company. But God was bringing Jacob closer to be 'one on one', something I know a lot about in looking over my life when God eliminated all of the diversions, things I trusted in, people I trusted, things I leaned on for support. Was alone to wrestle with God in the same way, except I did not have the pre-incarnate Jesus jump out from behind a bush and get it on that way, but for sure we threw down and I lost.
Didn't even have my sanity after the fight, out on my feet but also knew all options were exhausted and God was all I had in the whole world.
This was my only hope in dealing with a powerful enemy, when satan was allowed to take over my mind and turn me every which way, but lose.
Genesis 32:25 "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him."
Here we can misunderstand the word "prevail", this was a test of wills and not a contest of strength. Jacob was a hard case, self willed and self sufficient, he was the heel catcher who wrestled even before he was born - that's how he got his name, because Esau was the firstborn and Jacob was hanging on to him when they were born.(Esau and Jacob were twins)
Genesis 32:26 "And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."
Jesus was not really telling Jacob to let go off Him, but rather encouraging him to keep hanging, seeking, pressing and not quitting.
You find Jesus doing the same thing with his disciples in pretending to move on or ignore, then looking at our response to this, John 11:1-6 "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was."
God is not in a hurry, God will protect us but He won't pamper us, we want it all NOW, so God makes us wait to learn in patience. It was no harder to raise Lazarus from the dead than to heal, with whatever he died from.
Genesis 32:26 is also explained in Luke 24: 28-29 when Jesus rose from the dead and met the disciples on the road who they did not recognize at first. "And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them."
Jesus wanted them to keep seeking Him and gave them burning hearts. Luke 24:32 "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Jesus never intended to keep on going down the road.
God doesn't go anywhere even though in our minds he may appear to be more distant in hard times and think we have to do something to call Him in closer or call Him down from the throne or something so that he may pay heed to us. But God just as close as He always is, never changes. He is closer than a brother, as close as our own breath, doesn't move outside, just silent from the inside for a reason. Seeking to bless us but fiinding it necessary to break us and humble us, tilling the ground that is hardened with our own self sufficiency and self will.
Hosea 10:12 "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: (hardened when idle) for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you."
Genesis 32:27 "And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob."
Jesus knew who Jacob was but Jacob had to see who Jacob was. Jacob the heel-catcher, Jacob the con-man, Jacob the hard-head, Jacob the self-willed, Jacob who trusted in himself more than he trusted God, Jacob who thought that situations governed God rather than God governing situations.
Had to see myself in the same image. I had to see Lou the hard head, Lou the prideful, Lou the self willed, Lou the dirty old man, Lou who did not entirely trust in the same way that Jacob did but reasoned, "Lord I trust You, BUT ......." .
Jacob had to be entirely brought, to the end of Jacob. Broken so he could be healed, crippled so he could be held up. The staff he leaned on thereafter was Jesus, no longer trying to stand on his own two feet holding himself up or seeking to control his surroundings.
Genesis 32:28 "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
Israel means "God prevails". Jacob won by losing.
Genesis 32:29 "And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there."
This is a neat verse, Jesus telling the guy that you don't need to ask what my name is since you already know it.
God hurt Jacob but did not harm Jacob, God will hurt us but never harm us. Jacob was crippled in order to be crowned, love of God is too great to allow self sufficiency and self will, why He will bring us to the complete end of ourselves if that is necessary, why he will break us in order to bless us, Jacob went from the hall of shame to the hall of fame where God brought him and that is where Jacob remained until the day he died (Hebrews 11:21 "By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.").
Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
Want to avoid, having that 'one on one' wrestling match? (then)
James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
1Corinthians 11: 31-32 "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
I would like the breaking process to be a one-time thing. Would avoid being chastised again, even though my previous experience was the most cherished time of my life.
Nobody wants to be left alone. God engineers things for us to be alone with Him and to learn what was shown to Jacob.
However, some of us don't want to have things any other way once we have been to the mountaintop, but that is not where hurting people are.
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