“Honey, one of the turtles is dead,” said Pastor Tony to his wife Leah. He dreaded telling his
children Tre and Tiana, but he did, and they shed a few tears. After the burial, Tiana, who had just buried her turtle, saw a roly-poly or pill bug on the ground and announced,”Here’s my new pet.” She had grieved and moved on.
Just as Tiana had grieved and moved on, so did Jacob in Genesis. Pastor Tony highlighted four words that related to Jacob’s journey, which were ladder, limp, name and nation.
Isaac, Jacob’s father, sent him away from their home to Paddan-aram because he did not want Jacob to marry any Canaanite women as Esau did. As Jacob left, Isaac blessed him, ”May God Almighty bless you and give you many children.” Genesis 28:3a (NLT)
Jacob’s trip was four hundred miles. One night as he camped, he lay down, slept and “dreamed of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven. And he saw angels of God going up and down the stairway.” Genesis 28:12 (NLT) The stairway or ladder was the path of promises where the LORD said,”I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.” Genesis 28:13 What a promise to a fugitive running from his brother whom he had robbed.
The second identifier was limp. Jacob had worked for Uncle Laban for over twenty years and
was ready to return home with his two wives (Leah and Rachel), his maid servants, their eleven sons and one daughter, and all his possessions. He sent them across the Jabbok River; thus he was sleeping alone. However, “a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Genesis 32:24 (NLT) The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and from then on Jacob walked with a limp. The limp indicated his struggle with God. Pastor Tony said, “A Bible teacher reminded his students to ‘never trust a person without a limp.’” What does that statement mean? It means that sometimes God has to cripple us to make us stronger. Sometimes defeat is what saves us. God said,”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) Sometimes we need to be broken to best be used by God, for “blessings and bruising are not mutually exclusive; I cannot dictate the terms of my blessing.” When did you struggle with the LORD? What is your limp?
The third word associated with Jacob as he persevered was name. At the end of the wrestling
match, God asked Jacob,
“‘What is your name?’
‘Jacob,’ he answered
Then the man said,’Your name will no longer be Jacob, but
Israel because you have struggled with God and with man
and have overcome.’” Genesis 32:27-28 (NIV)
Jacob’s birth name meant deceiver, supplanter, heal grabber. His new name Israel meant “he
struggles with God.” When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we get a new name. Larry is the son of the King. I am the daughter of the King. That name defines us and gives us access to our Abba Father We can talk to Him, and He “bends down to listen.” Psalm 116:2 (NLT) He gives us everything we need. Psalm 23:1 (NLT) He “will never leave us nor forsake us.” Hebrews 13:5
Twenty years earlier Jacob had dressed in Esau’s clothes, given Isaac some special food his
mother made, and lied to Isaac saying he was Esau. Another encounter dealing with his name was with God when Jacob and God wrestled and God asked his name. “Trials in life shape us but do not have to define us,” stated Pastor Tony. Jacob became Israel. What a gift. What a generous Abba Father he had and we have.
Also Pastor Tony reminded us to name the places where God met us in the darkness. That may be the best communication we have had with the LORD because we were really paying
attention to Him. Think of where “mystery moved us to salvation.” Our history with the LORD reminds us of His faithfulness to us.
Finally the LORD promised Israel a nation. As stated before, the LORD promised Israel
“I will give you and your descendants the land on which you
are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth,
and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north
and to the south. All the peoples on the earth will be blessed
through you and your offspring.” Genesis 28:13-14 (NIV)
What a promise which the LORD fulfilled. We were blessed this year to see Israel, which is rich in the history of the LORD’s hand on His chosen people.
Pastor Tony’s message concerning “Stop Grieving. It’s Time To Move On” was timely and
applicable. For we have a ladder or stairway to heaven through Jesus; we wrestle with our wills, our desires, our self-centeredness and get our limp because God has had to break us to reshape us; we get a new name as we accept Jesus as our LORD and as we learn to walk
obediently with Him. Finally we get a nation, heaven, eternity with Him. May we be salt and light in this dark world.
Written By Larry and Annette Linthicum