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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Jacob's Prayer

Yesterday I wrote of Jacob’s encounter with God at Penuel. Jacob proceeded from there to the home of his uncle Laban. Laban and Jacob ended up in a game deception in which Jacob prevailed. After one last deception Jacob fled in anticipation of Laban’s anger. Laban pursued Jacob but no harm came as the two made a covenant.

At this point Jacob could no longer return to Laban and his hostile brother Esau was ahead of him. Jacob learned he had reason to be alarmed because Esau was indeed coming out to meet him with a large party. At the Jabbok River, during the night, Jacob decided to send gifts ahead, send family ahead, and then he would follow behind. But he also prayed the following:

Gen 32:9-12 NRSV

9 And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,' 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children. 12 Yet you have said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number.'"

Jacob invoked God. He acknowledged his own failing. He asked for God’s intervention based on the promise God had given him. Finally, he expressed his confidence and hope in God. Jacob transcended what seemed from a human perspective to be a hopeless situation. He chose to believe God.

This was the first and only prayer of real substance recorded in the Genesis and it symbolizes the growing awareness by Jacob that he has a relationship with God. But the night had just begun for Jacob.

3 Comments:

At July 09, 2005 7:38 PM, Anonymous will spotts said...

"Jacob invoked God. He acknowledged his own failing. He asked for God’s intervention based on the promise God had given him."

This is similar to how Abraham responded when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

It also contrasts markedly with Abraham's attempts to interfere, presumably on Lot's behalf. The diffence being that Jacob's approach is honest.

Given Jacob's history of manipulating Laban, Isaac, and Esau, his prayer really seems to stand out.

 
At January 24, 2006 12:57 AM, Anonymous Dennis said...

As I was surfing through Christian and Bible sites today, I came across your Christian Blog. You have a pretty good Blog here. I have a website that also has information about Isaac and Rebekah and you might want to check it out as well.

Be Blessed in His Service,

Dennis Day
http://www.BibleFamilyTree.com

 
At January 24, 2006 1:40 PM, Blogger Dennis Day said...

Good Day to You - As I was cruising through the internet today looking for Christian and Bible information, I came across your Blog. You have a very well put together Blog here. I have a website that also contains information about Edom and the Edomites, that you might want to check it out as well when you have time.

Many Blessings,

Dennis Day
http://www.BibleFamilyTree.com

 

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