Deeper Into Jacob
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006, 09:36 PM
When someone lights a fire under me I move. A recent encounter, of the spiritual kind, involving a friend of min has drawn me to the story of Jacob. This friend said that God was telling them to remind me of Jacob and encourage me to not let go until I have my blessing. Since this encounter I’ve been thinking a lot about Jacob, and the more I think about it the more confused I get.
At first I just tried to think about what I remembered from the story, which was fuzzy because it had been so long since I had read it. Jacob physically wrestled an angle, he was winning till the angle dislocated his Jacob’s leg, Jacob grabs hold of the angles’ leg and refuses to let him go until he gets a blessing. Jacob gets his blessing, a name change, and the angle leaves. This is all I could remember about the story, so a few days latter I read it to see what I was forgetting. I was shocked to find that my memory was all the text had to say about the encounter.
Being trained in biblical studies, I did what everyone should do when a bible story does not make sense: I read the surrounding text to put it in context. Jacob was no the kind of person I want to patter my life after. Since birth, he competed with his brother Esau. Jacob actually tricks his father Isaac to give Jacob his blessing instead of Esau. This is significant because by doing so he basically stole Esau’s right to be the one who becomes the propagator of the Israelite nation. So Jacob’s mom sends him away to Laban, His grandfather, so that is older brother won’t kill him. So he stole the blessing and ran away. It gets better.
While Jacob is with Laban he meets this drop dead gorgeous girl named Rebecca. She’s Laban’s daughter (ewwww), and Laben Tells Jacob that if he works for 7 years Laben will give him Rebecca’s hand in marriage. Laben switches brides before the wedding, and Jacob marries the wrong girl. So Jacob works for 7 more years to get the wife he wanted in the first place. A wife who, when Jacob finally head home to face Esau, steels all her father’s house Gods to take with her when they leave. This was one find upstanding girl.
Jacob does not go back to Esau because he feels he needs to apologize. He does it because God comes to him in his dreams and tells him to. The whole bit about the angle happens on the way to meet Esau. Obviously Jacob makes it back to Esau, otherwise Andrew Lloyd Webber would not have been able to write the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.”
So what kind of a person is Jacob? A liar, a thief, a run away, who was stubborn, and cared so little about God he married a pagan woman. So the angle appears and start wrestling him….why? My wife thinks that it was to intervene in his life. I’m inclined to agree, but really to agree, but really would like a more solid explanation. Jacob demands a blessing of the angel and gets it? Who is he to do so?
Maybe the point of the story is not that Jacob deserved it. It may be that Jacob fought with the Angle of the Lord , God’s representative on Earth. Jacob prevails in the fight so the Angle cheats by dislocating his leg. Despite all of this, Jacob persists in demand for a blessing. Instead of healing the leg, the angle gives Jacob his blessing and leaves.
What Am I supposed to learn from this? I think that God does not want me to fight him. Not because I can win, but because when you fight with God it costs you something. Sure Jacob got the blessing, but at the cost of limping his whole life. I guess the trick is to not fight God and not begrudge him either. That’s the lesson I fear lies ahead of me. I do blame God, because he does cheat. But I don’t want to accept the consequences of fighting him. I have too much that he can take away from me if I do.
Or is that what this is really all about? Is God such a bastard he would really take my wife away fro me just so I can learn a lesson? Sure, I’d be able to help other latter in my life, but after all the work I’ve put into building a marriage I don’t know if I could take it. I love my wife. Would he really do that to me?