For six months I had participated in a group of peers who were “on fire” for the Lord. Their devotion to Jesus, their long prayer sessions, their abstinence from the things of the world, challenged me. Their challenges were never direct. I think they always assumed that I was right on board with them, but to be honest, I was largely going along for the ride.
One night we were all gathered in the center of this nearly completed building praying. As usual, the prayer time went on and on. The more it progressed the more uncomfortable I grew. So after about thirty minutes I inconspicuously recused myself and headed over to a corner behind some building materials.
As I sat there with my head down and eyes closed, I could feel my heart begin to race. I suddenly found my mind beginning to race, too. One after another, pictures of my life began to be projected before my eyes. I saw how I had unconsciously made my father and his faith a barrier between the Lord and my faith. I don’t remember ever thinking about that before, but I could see it now. He had become “the perfect Christian” to me; the one I would never begin to emulate. It was amazing. Things I never put together before began falling into place. Right at the crescendo of my thoughts and emotions I felt a touch on my shoulder. I looked up and it was a guy I really didn’t know very well. He was years older than me. He looked at me and said, “Doug, you’re ready, aren’t you?” And I nodded, because those words perfectly corresponded to what I was thinking at that moment. It was as if God was speaking through him right to me. The guy prayed for me that night and things have never been the same since.
Now I don’t pretend to place my experience of exposure on the same plane as Jacob’s at the Jabbok, but it’s slightly similar. And the lessons we will draw from his exposure absolutely parallel every Christian life. I hope, by now you have read the Jacob story and pondered last week’s message. In preparation for this week you may wish to consider the following:
1. Why does Jacob refuse to let the wrestler go until he blesses him?
2. In what way did Jacob “prevail”? (Verse 28)
3. How does Jacob’s desire compare to Moses’ exposure in Exodus 34:29-33?
4. How does wanting to know His name correspond to seeing His face?
5. What replaces Jacob’s desire to “beat” Esau?
6. In what way is Jacob’s permanent limp a good thing?
7. How is it possible that God can be our greatest enemy and at the same time our greatest desire?
8. How much of your faith is using God rather than surrendering to Him?
9. Are you, right now, more like Jacob or Israel?
10. What does all this have to do with communion?
See you at the Table.