May 11, 2021
“And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)
When we read in the Bible about great people of God we find they all seem to have deep experiences with God. The details of their experiences vary greatly but the results are similar.
Jacob wrestled all night with an angel. The angel forced Jacob to look up and wrestle his way to God. Then the angel forced Jacob to look in and confess that he was a rascal who lived up to his name.
The name “Jacob” meant “Grabber.” Jacob was a mover, shaker, doer kind of man who was always running and would not stand still long enough for God to place a blessing upon him.
God could not get Jacob to wait on his Lord. God had to cripple him so God might crown him with God’s blessing. We might call it: “The cripple crown blessing of God.” When a person is crippled what else can he or she do but wait?
When God won the wrestling match God pronounced a blessing upon Jacob – the one quoted above. By changing his name to “Israel” God declared that Jacob was a fighter. He had fought his way to God and confessed to what he saw when he looked in. Jacob was then ready to look around and deal with his relationships with people.
Are you a spiritual fighter? Have you fought your way to look up to God? Have you won the battle when you look in? Are you winning the battle when you look around and work out all your relationships?
Dick Woodward, 13 May 2013
December 2, 2016
“But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born.” (Luke 1:20)
A teenager once asked me this thoughtful question about Christmas: “Since there was so much hype about the birth of Jesus Christ, why is it that thirty years later nobody seemed to believe in Him? You would think everyone would have just been waiting for Him to begin His ministry!”
Actually, there were only a handful of people who knew about that first Christmas. The first one was a priest named Zechariah. He and his wife Elizabeth were a godly couple, very advanced in years. They had no children, but the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that they were going to have a child who would be the last of the prophets to tell us about the coming of the Messiah. Their son, whom they were to call John, would point at Jesus Christ and introduce Him to this world.
Zechariah did not believe the angel. He was therefore told that everything he had heard was going to happen, but he would be mute and unable to tell anyone until his child was born. This priest had the greatest sermon to preach: God was going to intersect human history! But, he could not preach it because of his unbelief.
Before you are too hard on Zechariah, let me ask you a question. The New Testament tells us more than three hundred times that God is going to intersect human history a second time when Jesus Christ comes back again. Have you ever told anyone about the Christmas to be?
Or does your unbelief shut your mouth?
Dick Woodward, 02 December 2011