A Daily Word from the Word for Friday, January 25, 2012
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” –Psalm 103:10
A word from Matt: I have pulled today’s Daily Word, from the devotional chapter entitled “In Spite Of” from my book, “Sixty Days of Restoration: Awakening the Image of God within YOU!” I have been blessed by way of those who have been blessed by purchasing my book. This book was written to provide Divine encouragement and restoration to the people of today. I encourage you to purchase your copy. Not only will you be built up, lifted up, and catapulted to a new level; but you will also help me to continue to do what God has called me to do—which is to minister. The proceeds from this book help me to cover expenses as I minister to those who call upon me throughout this region, this country, and throughout the world, via in person, phone, and email. You are blessed doubly when you buy a copy of this book: firstly, you are blessed by reading the anointed words that God has given to me in this book. God’s Word transforms lives from the inside out; and secondly, you are sowing into good ground, the ministry that God has anointed me for and entrusted me with. Sow a seed into both our lives by purchasing your copy today at www.RestoreInSixty.com. God bless you, my brothers and sisters. Now on to the Word!
Too many of God’s children put limitations and restrictions on God’s Mercy and Grace. Too many of God’s sons and daughters put too much stock in their own abilities. “Now hold on, Brother Matt” I hear some of you saying (or at least thinking :-) ).
How many of us, like Jacob before he wrestled with God and God changed his name to Israel, try to negotiate with God, try to manipulate God, and try to wrestle with God? “God, I will do this if only you do that.” “God, I know I should have done this, and I promised you I would last month; but you know the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. I’ll make it up to you, God.” “God, I know I didn’t tithe this week, these past few weeks, this past month, but you know that loophole you provided in Leviticus? About if we don’t tithe, then you will consider it a loan if we pay it back 20 percent? Yeah, that one God, I am going to use it, so see God? I am not robbing you, I am just taking a loan. You know these times we are living in.” “But God, yeah I know I have been laying up (bedding down) with so-and-so. I know we are supposed to be married, but God, it’s like we already are, you know my heart Lord (Oh now, you crossed the line my brother and sister, by playing the “heart” card because God does know your heart, better than you know your own heart! :-) ).
The above conversations (and I have had many of these exact conversations with God myself, which is why I can write about them so well) is our wrestling with God. It is our scamming and scheming and slippin’, and slidin’, and duckin’ and weavin’. Whew, I am tired! Aren’t you? Jacob finally was. And here is the super cool thing about that wrestling match. God was so merciful toward Jacob, even though Jacob was such a manipulator! He manipulated people all of his life to get what he wanted, including his brother and his father. He even had the audacity to try to manipulate God! So one evening, while Jacob was yet again running away from someone or some army who was trying to kill him because he conned them, he had an encounter with God. And Jacob had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Genesis 32:22-31 gives us the blow-by-blow illustration. God appeared to Jacob and wrestled with him. The Word of God tells us that Jacob wrestled with God all night.
For me, there are two really amazing parts to this scene:
The first is that God was willing to wrestle with Jacob, knowing that no person is any match for God. Because Jacob was such a manipulator and scammer, I believe that a part of him actually believed he had a chance “in the ring” with God; because Jacob’s life of constant manipulation, he probably even deceived himself to a degree. But God, in His tender mercy wrestled with Jacob all night. God was willing to wrestle with Jacob, and hold back, for as long as it took for Jacob to wrestle himself out, wrestle to the point of exhaustion, and wrestle to the point of surrendering and coming to his true self- laid bare before God.
The second incredible part is when God told Jacob to let Him go. Imagine that! God asking a mere mortal, knowing that He certainly didn’t need Jacob’s consent. But God loved Jacob so much, in spite of who Jacob was; that He said, tenderly, almost pleadingly and in a whisper to Jacob “let me go.” I believe Jacob had God by His heel. I say this because Jacob’s name meant “heel-grabber” because he came out grabbing his twin brother Esau’s heel (Jacob was trying to manipulate even in the womb!). And I believe that God did make this request to let go in a pleading manner to Jacob. I say this because verse 26 tells us that God said to Jacob “let me go, for it is daybreak.” I believe that God knew if daylight came, and Jacob beheld God, that Jacob would have died because the Glory of God would have been too much for Jacob to handle (see Moses for this).
Even more astounding is that I believe Jacob had come to his senses at this moment and now he was grabbing onto God’s heel, not to manipulate; but because Jacob was willing to die rather than lose the experience that God had given him through releasing him from the wrestle which had kept Jacob bound his whole entire life. And Jacob had the audacity to say to God “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And God, in His infinite tender mercy and love for His Creation, saw past the audacity of the act; and in spite of Jacob’s shortcomings, in spite of Jacob’s sins, in spite of Jacob’s iniquities, God Blessed Him anyway! God blessed Jacob, because Jacob finally came to the end of himself and got honest with God.
Jacob was willing to die for God’s Blessing, and God was willing to bless Jacob rather than let him die. God said “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28).
What a story! What a story of a loving and merciful God, who blessed one of His created in spite of. God is so good. He is a good and loving Father.
The Hebrew word for “dealt” used in this verse is asah (pr. aw-saw) meaning “to bruise” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). God did not bruise us according to our sin; but there is someone who God bruised- His only begotten and beloved son Jesus Christ, who willingly was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). God poured His entire wrath upon Jesus; and Jesus willingly took it so we wouldn’t have to. It was the only way that God could get us back. And it was a terrible price to pay; but a price that God deemed worth it.
My dear brethren, I am in no way or in any terms or circumstances excusing sin. Sin is horrible, despicable, inexcusable, and cost God His Son in the most inhumane and barbaric way. What I am saying here is that God made a way for us through His Son. And when we choose to wrestle with God in this manner, then we are looking for a loophole which negates the complete atoning sacrifice of the Son, and puts into question, the immeasurable and unconditional love of the Father. However, when we allow God to wrestle us to the ground, when we get to the place where we would rather die than give up the freedom of the Father, it is then that our heart truly belongs to the One who gave His life for us and gave us His Heart.
Father, we love you so very much. Thank you, Holy Abba, Holy Father, for giving us Your Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Father, thank you for your mercy and grace in while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Father, we love you because you first loved us (1 John 4:19). Father, help us get to the place where the wrestle is gone. Help us to get to the place where we find and experience true freedom in You. And while you help us get there, thank you for being gentle and tender toward us, and adding no sorrow to it. And thank you, Most Holy God, for blessing us in spite of. In Jesus Name, we pray, we praise you, we thank you, we love you, we adore you, and we call it done. Amen and Amen.
Take Action! Challenge your thinking! Choose to stop wrestling with God. Choose to stop trying to manipulate God. Choose to accept God’s sacrifice of His Son, and His unconditional love for you. Allow God’s Mercy, Grace, and Love to wash over you every single day. Choose to allow God to do that work in your heart that brings you to the place of true freedom in Him. And continue to fight the good fight; for God, Your Amazing, Loving, and Unconditional Father has already given you the victory!
May God Bless you and keep you always.
With warmest regards,
And, in service of The Most High King,
Sign up to receive my nationally-syndicated “Daily Word from the Word” column and other publications. Follow me via twitter or through an examiner subscription by clicking on the link below. You can also bookmark this link and visit daily to read my column.
Receive my articles and other messages of encouragement by ‘liking’ HMD Ministries on facebook at www.facebook.com/hmdministries
Suggested tools for further study:
Matthew is founder of HMD Ministries, and sits under the leadership of Apostle Dr. Don Lyon of Faith Center Ministries International in Rockford, Illinois, where he serves as an associate pastor.
All references to Hebrew and Greek words and meanings, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance © 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishing. All dictionary references are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary © 2013, unless otherwise noted.