As young children, we exercise our independence by saying, “Me do it!” As adults, we may not stomp our feet, stick out our lip and loudly proclaim, “Me do it!” but our bent is still to do things ourselves.
Prior to Genesis chapter 32, Jacob spent his life giving a nod to God but then scrambling to make things happen on his own. Amazingly, God remained faithful to Jacob despite his “Me do it!” mentality.
But in Genesis chapter 32, rich with wives, children, and property, Jacob leaves his Uncle Laban and returns to Esau…the brother whom he cheated out of his inheritance and birthright. As Jacob gets closer to home, he begins to fear Esau’s great anger, so Jacob sends wave after wave of people, gifts, and property to try to pacify Esau.
Finally, Jacob is left with nothing left to give and nothing else he can do. Then, an angel comes and wrestles with him throughout the night and Jacob refuses to let go of the angel until God blesses him.
God’s wants us to stop relying on our own efforts and instead rely on Him. To do that, God will allow us to scramble in our own efforts until there is nothing more we can do. Then, when all our efforts have come up short, we learn to hold on to God and God alone.
Like Jacob, we all wrestle with a tendency to work independently of God. When this happens, we need to remember:
- God alone is the source of our blessing and protection.
- We can’t hold onto God when we’re using all our energy to grasp for other things.
Have you learned these lessons, or are you giving a nod to God, but scrambling to make things happen on your own?
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.