Thursday, June 28, 2007

Enough is Enough!

Have you ever spent a tormented night waiting for the Lord to answer your prayer? You toss and turn questioning the rightness of a particular decision. Is this the Lord's will? My will? What if I misunderstand? What if I choose incorrectly?

In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestled with God. Of course when the struggle began, he did not know with whom he wrestled. Often this passage is compared with prayer. The NetBible challenges this common allegorical interpretation pointing out that it was not until the man touched Jacob in the hip, crippling him, that he realized his opponent was the Lord. Only after he stopped fighting, did he ask for a blessing.

What an interesting idea. He stopped fighting.

He asked for a blessing.

The prophet Jeremiah writes to the exiles in Babylon and reminds them to whom they belong. He writes these words from the Lord: "When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord..." Jeremiah 29:12-14a

Seek the Lord in prayer. Seek Him with all your heart and soul. Ask for a blessing.

Wouldn't that be so much easier than wrestling all night long?


"It's my will, and I'm not moving
Cause if it's your will, then nothing can shake me
It's my will, to bow and praise you
I now have the will to praise my God" --DC Talk

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your entry entitled "Enough is Enough". Many times I have struggled with wondering what the “right” choice is in difficult situations. I may not lose sleep (as you know, I can sleep through almost anything!), but my waking hours have often been full of such questions and anguish. It is a great blessing to know that we belong to a Sovereign God who cares about us and blesses us.

There is one part of your entry that I have to disagree with, however. In your discussion on Genesis 32 and Jacob’s struggle with God, you state, “Only after he stopped fighting, did he ask for a blessing.” If you look at that passage, what it says, is actually the opposite of that statement. In verse 26 it says, “And He (God) said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’ But he(Jacob) said, ‘I will not let You go until you bless me!’” (emphasis added). Jacob didn’t stop fighting and then ask for a blessing. He fought for the blessing! What’s more, God DID give him the blessing he fought so hard for. What a picture that paints!

I cannot agree enough that if we are fighting against what God wants for us, we will surely lose and should, in submission to Him, stop. But when we are fighting for what God has promised to us, for what is rightfully ours as His children, the Bible has other instructions. The blessing Jacob was fighting for, is the blessing promised to him in Genesis 28:15, which states, “Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” God made that promise when Jacob had to leave his home and go to Padan Aram to the house of Laban because Esau wanted to kill him. Now, as Jacob was about to face Esau again, he was clinging to and fighting for the promise God made to him. And for good reason too, since the reports he had were that Esau was preparing to meet him with 400 men! His faith in God’s promise to be with him and keep him gave him the confidence that God would keep his word. He knew, as we do, that God will not break His promises. It is one thing He cannot do. God was faithful to His word and we see in Chapter 33 how Esau greets his brother with tears and an embrace. God replaced his hatred, with brotherly love. Had Jacob no faith in God, he would not have been so bold as to expect a blessing.

Even in the New Testament, Jesus shares a parable with his followers that reflects this idea of fighting for God’s promise. In Luke 11:5 – 10, after giving His perfect example of how we should pray in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said,

5“Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” He goes on to say that if even we, sinful people that we are give our children good gifts, then how much more will our Father in Heaven give to us?

Notice in v. 8 that He says, “yet because of his PERSISTENCE, he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” This man who is doing the asking, does not stop, and because of that, his friend concedes. The Bible is full of promises from God that we can rely on. Fighting for and persistently asking Him to keep those promises is OK with God. He is not afraid of our persistence! On the contrary, He delights in our faith in His promises! By fighting for these promises, we are showing our dependence on Him. If we did not feel that we needed Him or the promises he made, there would be no reason to persist.

I feel strongly that resting in this truth, this promise from God, is a key to ending sleepless nights. We may still not know what car to buy or job to take, but we know God has promised us peace that passes understanding, prosperity, not harm (granted, God’s idea of prosperity is not always what we imagine), hope, a future, our heart’s desire and most of all life everlasting. These are promises worth fighting for. And worth resting on. While we may falter and make choices that are not always the best, we can count on our Sovereign God through whom “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Because I belong to God, I am ready to wrestle all night long. I know I will not fail when I fight for a blessing that God has promised to me.


April -

I am not sure whether you will post this or not. That is not why I wrote it. I just hope you will take it in the spirit in which it is meant – friendship, and as from your Sister in Christ. I have an idea of what you might have been wrestling with around June 28. I know it has been a challenging couple of years. It will probably continue to be so for as long as we live on this earth. In fact, one promise Jesus made to us was a promise that our lives will be difficult because of Him, right? That’s an encouraging one (HA!) But God is bigger than all those things and even when – in fact especially when – it feels like our life is completely out of our control, I believe we are in the best place to see God at work, fulfilling His promises to us. We are actually not ever really in control, right? It’s just that sometimes we are able to convince ourselves that we are.

I just reread vv. 29-32 in Romans 8. What a great reassurance of God’s love! We heard a sermon on Romans 8:31-39 a few months ago and hearing these words again, though as if for the first time, began to change my view of myself and of God. Bear with me, I have to share vv. 31-32 here. “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans is really good! (I guess you probably know that…hee! hee!)

I love you, & pray that God will bless you and keep you.

Joni

Oreganowinger said...

But the point was he stopped fighting AGAINST God. Sure he asked for the blessing, and he fought for the blessing, but he was no longer AGAINST God. There is a distinct difference.