Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What's Your Name?

On Friday, I wrote about how we as followers of Christ tend to let ourselves “get ahead” of the Lord, to take the wrong position in the relationship we have with him. As I said then, this was Peter’s sin when he took the Lord aside and rebuked him for even thinking about going to the cross. Today, I am going to focus on another necessity upon taking a spot before the Lord, to try to force our own plans. Today, we will focus on the life of Jacob.

Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Gen. 32:24-28

Jacob was a man that spent a good part of his life trying to get ahead, through whatever means necessary. It didn’t matter if it was ethical or not. He swindled his brother out of the birthright that would have been his. His mother and he conspired to deceive his father, who was blind, into believing that he was his brother, Esau, so he would get the blessing that God had promised to go to him. So instead of allowing God to work everything out, he continued a life of lying to get what he wanted. Jacob was a conniver, he was a deceiver. In fact, that is what the name Jacob meant. Here was a man living up to the meaning of his name.

Jacob was forced to run away to his mother’s country and live with his uncle, who turned out to be a bigger deceiver than Jacob. But there, he began to learn to do things right, and after twenty years in his uncles service, he left him blessed, God’s hand being with Jacob.

The time had now come to return back to the land of Canaan. What’s funny here is that Jacob thought he was running away from a problem, but he found that he had to face his demons after all. You see, Esau wasn’t Jacobs issue; Jacob’s conniving was his issue. He needed to take care of himself. If we are honest with ourselves, other people aren’t our problems either, it’s us. It was now time to take a good, hard look into his own heart.

As we read in the text, Jacob was really striving and wrestling with God. He didn’t walk away unmarked either. As he wrestled with the “angel of the Lord”, his hip got dislocated, and he walked with a limp for the rest of his days. Maybe we can call it a “battle scar”. But he was asked, “What is your name?” Now, we all know that God knew his name. So then, what does the question mean? Think back to what the name “Jacob” meant. It meant “deceiver”, or “supplanter”. What God was bringing Jacob to was an in-your-face realization of what he really was. He was a deceiving man. Yet, when he came to this realization, he was blessed, and his name was changed to “Israel”, which means “prince with God”.

Anyone going through a 12-step program of any kind, be it drugs, alcohol, or whatever, have to take the step first and foremost of admitting what they are. They will never find the help they need unless the truly take that step. It’s the same way spiritually. If we are to advance in our relationship with God, there will be times that we must “confess our faults”. It may not be alcohol or drugs, or an eating disorder. But you may be dealing with fear in your own life. You may be dealing with lust, or an addiction to pornography. Maybe you are an angry person. Whatever it is, confess it to God. It’s when you get real with him and confess your weak points that you find real healing.

We live in a time when Faith Teachers tell us not to make “negative confessions”, because “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Pro. 18:21). I submit to you that if we ignore those areas where we are weak, or are lacking, we can not receive what God has for us. It is not a lack of faith to state the truth. If I have a cold, or if I’m broke, it is not a faith shortage to admit it. Imagine if blind Bartimaeus, when asked by Jesus what he wanted him to do for him, had said, “I can’t tell you what I need, that would be a negative confession”? He made known to Jesus what he needed, and he was healed. Friends, it’s no different with us.

Would you get alone with the Lord Jesus today and confess where you fall short today? Believe me, the Bible tells us that he really understands. Just listen to what Hebrews 4:15-16 says:

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Get to the Throne of grace, friends, and you will find a God that is gracious, merciful and always ready to help. God bless.


Henry Haney said...

"I'm not broke"..."I'm not broke"..."I'm not broke"....it's not working!!! aw shucks!!!

j/k- Hey GREAT post today Preacher man. Only when we get honest with God and ourselves can we truly be free.

michigan preacher said...

Or, "I don't have a cold...ACHOO!"

That's the truth, bro. I know a guy who buys into the positive confession teaching, and he is pretty overweight, partly because he is shut in his apartment. One day, I was talking with him on the phone, and he was talking about commanding the fat to melt off his body in Jesus' name, and a knock came on his door, and he says to me, "brother Jeff, I gotta go. My pizza is here." No joke! I laughed so hard when I got off the phone.

Anonymous said...

I'm not broke I'm not broke.....

Didn't work for me either. Although wouldn't it be hilarious if I walked out to the mail box and there was a check for me ... umm brb

KIDDING hehehehehe

I know people .. lots of people that are like this