Now these things were for our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Wherefore I was grieved with this generation and said “they do always err in their hearts and they do not know my heart
1 Corinthians 10:6, Psalm 95:10
As I’ve discovered the value and meaning of scriptural types my heart has rejoiced. As I have seen the physical walk of Old Testament saints translated into spiritual reality, I have been awed by the wisdom of God: how unsearchable are His ways. And as I’ve understood the value and meaning of scriptural types my heart has trembled.. as I have seen the physical walk of Old Testament saints translated into spiritual reality – I have seen the finger of God – pointing accusingly at MY bloodied heart.
The man of flesh and the man of spirit is exemplified through Cain and Abel. The man of flesh and the man of spirit is compared through Esau and Jacob. The man of flesh and the man of spirit is contrasted through Amalek and Israel. Yet the man of flesh and the man of spirit is also seen through one man:- Jacob and Israel. Jacob the man of flesh, but Israel the Prince with God , the spiritual man. And one of the key elements in this change from flesh to spirit was humility.
In John 4:48 we read: except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe and in James 1:4 we read: God, giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. Jacob wrestled with God. For a whole night Jacob prayed. Striving in intercession, is often misinterpreted as striving against God and struggling in prayer – is often seen as forcing God to act or move on our behalf, but battling with an angry God to extract a blessing is not a scriptural concept. It is the worlds concept of a pagan deity and not the truth about the God of the Bible. Our striving is indeed a struggle, but it is not a fight against God. Our struggling is rather a battle against self. It is a battle against the flesh.
God determined to bless Jacob from before birth but Jacob wrestled and strove. God had chosen Jacob as His son of promise, but Jacob used deception and deceit. God appointed Jacob to be the father of His chosen people, but self fought on. How often does the scriptural type reflect our own spiritual reality. All through his life, Jacob was identified by God as His chosen son, but for much of his life Jacob determined to do things his own way and not God’s way. And so the blessings Jacob so desired and sought, were withheld. Jacob’s blessings were withheld by a gracious God. And God waited and waited and waited for Jacob. God waited for fleshly, cunning, ungovernable Jacob.
Our battles and strivings are not against an angry God Who hides His face from us – never for: God giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. God’s eternal character would be compromised should this be interpreted thus. God’s Word would be discredited, should intercessory prayer be thus regarded. But God will not reward the old man.. the old sinful nature. God will not reward self, for self must be slain and God waits until we are ready.
Our strivings in prayer are not against God but against our own sinful flesh. Self and the flesh must be put off and nailed to the cross. Christ and the new you must be resurrected. The new man in Christ must be put on. And this was what Jacob eventually learned in his wrestling with God. This is what we too must learn in our daily strivings with the Lord.
Jacob knew the promises of God. Jacob knew that through him, all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Jacob knew that God had chosen and appointed him above His worldly brethren. Jacob knew that his were the promises and his were the blessing and his was the birthright. Just as you, know the promises of God – just as you know that you have been chosen: chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Eph.1:4
And yet Jacob shrewdly schemed and cleverly planned his way through life. Jacob had a rebellious heart, a stained heart, a lonely heart. Jacob had a heart of rage, bloodied and unbroken and overwhelmed with doubt. But… as it is written: God loved Jacob…” with His everlasting love. Oh Jacob was successful in a worldly sense – but his heart was hardened. Fleshly Jacob had a heart that was hardened towards his Lord, and the birthright and the promise and the blessings were his, but the birthright and the promise and the blessings were held, in abeyance: as it is written: God loved Jacob…with an everlasting love:
I can do all thongs through me,‘ schemed Jacob, as God waited for him. And God waited and waited and waited – and waited. Jacob’s ego was inflated and his pride glistened like a necklace – and still: God loved Jacob, with an everlasting love. Jacob had fought his way though life.. with his father and mother. Jacob had fought his way though life with his brother Esau. Jacob had fought his way though life with his uncle, Laban. Jacob battled with his wives and he had strove with his children and Jacob accumulated what he desired – but Jacob went where he chose, and Jacob had what he wanted – but Jacob was dissatisfied. And through his life God blessed Jacob in many ways and Jacob prospered. God blessed this man – this: Jacob whom I love, but God left Jacob needing more and wanting more. And God waited… and waited.
Jacob knew Who his God was but he did not permit God to know him until that night when Jacob wrestled with God all night. Jacob sought God for a blessing, a paltry, little, insignificant, pathetic, blessing: Save me and my family, save me from the wrath of my worldly brother, who seeks my life. I will not go unless you bless me. Bless me in this life. Gen.32:26. This was his whine of Jacob as he feared his brother’s rage. All Jacob was concerned with that night was a safe passage through the world of Esau. All Jacob sought that dark night was a mess of pottage in his journey across his earthly life. All Jacob bothered about was blessing in this earthly life….
But God has so much more that He desired to give to Jacob. God had chosen this man for heights he could scarce begin to comprehend. God had great plans for this man, but God first had to deal with Jacob’s self. His ego had to be crushed and his pride had to be humbled. Self had to be placed on the cross. God had to be given His rightful position in Jacob’s life. And Jacob was broken when he bowed in submission before his God. Yes, God met with Jacob in a way that he never forgot, and as it is written: God Loved Jacob… with His everlasting love.
That night, Jacob limped from his encounter a broken man. That night Jacob was humbled under the mighty hand of an almighty God. That night, Jacob became insignificant in his own eyes for the rest of his life. That night, for the first time, Jacob became dependent upon God. That night carnal Jacob became spiritual Israel. That night the scheming, self-sufficient, supplanter – Jacob, became prince with God, for God loved Jacob… with His everlasting love… Mal.1:2 All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for … reproof and correction.” 2Tim.3:16. All scripture “serves as an example and a shadow of heavenly things. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
God loved Jacob with an everlasting love – Jacob I have loved, and God loves me with an everlasting love.. chosen before world was founded – and God loves you with an everlasting love – chosen before world was founded. May the decades of my own fleshly struggle with fleshly pride be converted from a man of flesh to a prince with God, as I prepare for the return of my King – and may that be true of you too.
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