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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 146

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Jacob continued...

As much as we would like to deny it, or pretend it isn’t so, doubt is a constant companion on this journey of life. We doubt our own abilities, we doubt a certain endeavor will succeed, we doubt forfeiting food that actually tastes good for seaweed smoothies actually does have health benefits, but it is our duty as wise men and women of God to overcome doubt.

Doubt is like a shroud that blurs everything around us. We do not see reality as we ought because doubt affects our perception. Neither do we see God as we should, because we are focusing on the doubt rather than on Him.

Doubt is the poison tipped arrow that does nothing more than breaks the skin…at first we think it inconsequential and irrelevant, we wave it off and ignore it, until it starts to get infected, we start to lose feeling in the area where the arrow nicked us, and before we know what happened we are returned to the earth from which we came.

In our moments of doubt we also try to help God, or somehow aid Him in answering our prayers faster, or in a way more acceptable to us. God knows what He’s doing, and He asks that we trust He knows what He is doing.

One of the most frustrating things we can do is second guess God all the time. It is frustrating both for ourselves and for Him, because each time we think we know better than God we end up running aground, and God has to delay His plan for our lives because we’ve chosen to take a circuitous route.

With your human reason, and with your eyes of flesh, you might see green pastures and wildflowers, but God sees beyond the meadow to the cliff just out of sight. Trust that God has better vision than you do, He sees farther than you can, and knows what tomorrow holds as readily as yesterday.

We are focusing on the doubt of Jacob, because even those we perceive as giants of the faith had their moments of doubt. Peter was walking on water when doubt struck him and he began to sink like a stone. Nothing else changed from the moment Peter took his first step upon the waters, to when he began to sink, than that he allowed doubt to make its way into his heart.

‘I can’t be walking on water, because walking on water is impossible. I’m a fisherman, I’ve been at sea my whole life, I know what is and isn’t within the realm of possibility.’

And so, Peter begins to sink.

Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

Faith takes us beyond the realm of reason, outside the realm of possibility in the physical, and translates us into God territory, where the impossible happens every day. With men, many things are impossible, with God, all things are possible. Not just most things, not just a handful of things, but all things are possible with God.

It took a Man wrestling with Jacob until the break of day and touching the socket of his hip causing it to pop out of joint for Jacob to do away with his doubt once and for all.

Genesis 33:24-25, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.”

When we have an intimate encounter with God, everything changes. When we meet God, when we encounter Him in all His glory, we will have convictions not doubts, certainties and not suppositions, faith and not the illusion of faith. We believe in God because we have met Him. We know Him, we know His strength, we know His might, we know His authority, and we know His sovereignty.

God did answer Jacob’s prayer, but He answered it in such a way wherein all the planning Jacob had done had been nullified and rendered useless. It turned out Jacob didn’t need to split his people into two camps, he didn’t need to send his brother various livestock as a gift, and he didn’t need to fear, or be distressed.

The way God answers our prayers often times highlights the futility of our own endeavors, of our trying to work things out on our own, using our own wisdom and intellect.

Genesis 33:4, “But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

So here was a man who was dreadfully afraid of what his brother would do upon seeing him for the first time in twenty years. I am certain scenarios played through Jacob’s mind, one worse than the other, and in his own strength he tried everything he could to shelter himself and his family from the wrath of Esau.

Then Jacob prayed, and God worked it out in such a way, wherein all the preparation Jacob made, was rendered unnecessary and mildly absurd, for his brother Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him. There was no sword in Esau’s hand, there was no bow or spear, there was no violence in him, just love for his brother; a love God had placed there doing away with twenty years’ worth of animosity in an instant.

You can try to protect yourself from the violence of men, or pray for God to take the violence from their heart altogether. We fail on our own, or walk victoriously with God, depending on whether or not we truly know Him, trust Him, and humble ourselves before Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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