Part 1 of the Present day Patriarchs series.
I love how the bible is blatantly honest about its characters. If you want to study the lives of the canonized men and women, you see their flaws and their faith. You can learn from their successes, and failures.
Jacob is my favorite character in the bible. 25 chapters in Genesis are dedicated to his story. He is a man who was saved, but in a lifetime process of being subdued. His internal drive was intense. But he wasn’t directing his life according to his God given dream. It’s better to be driven by your dream, than your internal desire.
Up until the end of chapter 32; I don’t think you could call Jacob a good father. He was surely a great provider, but not much of a daddy.
But then Jacob has a God encounter at the close of chapter 32. This forever changes this man. There is a good time for man to be alone: when he is having a God encounter.
Finally, Jacob get’s subdued. He is alone, and God engages him in a wrestling match. He wrestles Jacob away from his past, and into his future. The location is significant: they are at the river Jabbok (pouring out). They wrestle all night- till a new day breaks (also significant).
The strongest part of Jacob’s flesh shrinks (we all have some flesh that needs to shrink). He loses his strength and gains God’s. He forever walks with a limp. But he isn’t weak; he now is relying on the power of an awesome God. He is out of step with man, but in step with God.
The entirety of Genesis chapter 33 describes Jacob’s transformation into real fatherhood. He has 13 children; I find 13 principles in Genesis 33 that produce present day patriarchs. Principle #1 is the result of his God encounter.
Lead with a limp:
- Jacob walked different after his encounter with God. We need men who get so connected with God, it changes their walk.
- Jacob was forever going to need to lean on God. Limping leads to leaning.
- The sinew that shrank, ultimately causing his limp: was never eaten by his children again. They were so impacted by this limp, they refused to use what God had shrank for fleshly gratification.
- Do your encounters with God affect your children’s appetites?
- Leading with a limp signifies moments where you were hit hard – and got back up. Fathers who get back up after hardships are Patriarchs in the making.
- Jacob wrestled with God until holy hands struck his hip; then all Jacob could do was hold on. Can you hold on to God after you’ve suffered injury? Can you get a grip on God that never loosens?
- Patriarchs must lead with a limp. They must lead using the knowledge and power gained from their moments with God. Their personal relationships with their own weaknesses, and His strengths.
- It’s not enough for a father to be touched, he must be changed.
- Jairus was an exemplary father. He had a sick daughter at home and was desperate for a miracle. He could have sent a servant, or hired somebody to go get Jesus while he waited with his daughter; but he instinctively knew – there are some things a father has to do alone.
- He touched Jesus. Brought Jesus home. And finally, connected his daughter to Jesus. Every father must be able to do this.
- There aren’t too many references of women meeting God at altars in the bible. In our current society, generally the mother is the prayer warrior and the father is the provider. Patriarchs take the lead when it comes to spiritual contact.
- Your limp shows the world that the old Jacob is dead, but the new Israel lives!
Track your progress:
1. Have you had a God encounter lately?
2. Do you spend time alone in prayer?
3. Is there some ‘fleshly’ areas that God needs to shrink?
4. Are you relying on your power or Gods?
5. Has your time with God affected your walk?
6. Do you feel like you are saved and subdued?
7. Will your children say that they worship the God of their father?