That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. (Genesis 32:22, NIV)
After many years away from his home, Jacob returns to his family. On the journey, all alone, he wrestles with a stranger, and is renamed to Israel. What does all this mean?
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’ (Genesis 28:16-17, NIV)
Jacob has tricked his father, betrayed his brother and tried to deceive God. Yet, as he runs away to safety, it is there that he meets God or, perhaps, that God meets him. Despite everything Jacob has done, God still chooses him to carry the promises and blessings first given to Abraham. God’s rescue of Jacob, his promise of an eternal rescuer, and our rescue, all come about by God’s goodness, not anything we do.
His mother said to him, ‘My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.’ (Genesis 27:12, NIV)
As we continue our look at the life of Jacob, and his flawed faith, we start to see how much of mess Jacob and his family are. This is an account full of deception and self-centeredness. Even Rebekah’s offer to take a curse on behalf of her son is flawed. How can God’s plans possibly come to fruition, given how they behave?
The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:27-28, NIV)
As Advent and Christmas approach, we're going to spend Sunday mornings looking at the life of Jacob, and how God used his flawed faith to bring about his plans. No-one is too flawed for God - not Jacob and not us.