Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 72

Answered Prayers continued...

Trying to ‘help’ God with an issue after we’ve already prayed concerning said issue, is nothing new. The practice has been around since the time of the patriarchs, and one of the most memorable instances takes place shortly before Jacob and Esau are to be reunited.

Genesis 32:9-11, “Then Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘return to your country and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you’: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children.”

So far so good! Jacob begins by acknowledging God as the God of His fathers, bringing to remembrance what God had commanded Him to do, humbling himself by telling God he is not worthy of the least of all the mercies which He had shown him, then asking for deliverance from the hand of his brother Esau.

For those who don’t know the history of these two brothers, it was a turbulent one. Through trickery and deceit Jacob took away the birthright rightly due Esau, and Esau vowed to kill Jacob as soon as the days of mourning for their father had passed.

Having no desire to confront his brother, and being encouraged by his mother to flee, Jacob fled to his uncle’s lands in Haran. After many years God spoke to Jacob again, and told him to return to his country and to his kindred, and now Jacob had to contend with Esau’s wrath.

Most assuredly Jacob remembered what Esau had sworn concerning him, likewise remembering what he had done to warrant such reaction.

If this is all that had occurred, then within the context of our teaching, it would not be of great interest. Jacob however, went one step further after praying his prayer, and attempted to ‘help’ God, in delivering him from the wrath of his brother Esau, by sending gifts ahead, in order to appease him.

Genesis 32:13-15, “So he lodged there that same night, and took what came to his hands as a present for Esau his brother: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals.”

Jacob didn’t send a gift basket. He didn’t send some insignificant token, he sent over five hundred animals to Esau in the hopes of appeasing him, from goats to ewes, to camels, to rams, to cows, and bulls, and donkeys.

He did all this after praying that God would deliver him from the hand of his brother whom he feared.

Something wondrous happens when Jacob finally sees Esau again, and it has nothing to do with the livestock he sent ahead of him, or the gifts with which he attempted to shower his brother.

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

It was God who changed the heart of Esau. It was God who softened his heart, and made it malleable. It was not the sheep, or goats, or colts or camels that took the murder from Esau’s heart and replaced it with love, it was the hand of God, working on Jacob’s behalf, answering his prayer and delivering him.

Genesis 33:8-9, “Then Esau said, ‘what do you mean by all this company which I met?’ and he said, ‘these are to find favor in the sight of my lord.’ But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’”

By Esau’s answer, we see that the livestock and the animals did nothing to sway him. We see it was God who answered Jacob’s prayer, softening the heart of his brother Esau, and not the animals he sent ahead, because Esau refused to accept them.

Trust in the promises of God and stand on His word. Do not be as Jacob, praying one minute, then attempting to resolve the issue yourself the next, because God just might keep out of it until you realize you can’t do it on your own - and that may take longer than you envision or care to wait. Often times, God’s love compels Him to teach us certain lessons which are not at all pleasant. Such lessons are for our own maturing, for our own growth, and for our own faith that we might come to that place in our walk wherein we live by faith, as the word of God says the just would eventually live.

Do not doubt when you come before God for faith will always bring an answer to our prayers, and in the end, this is what we all desire - that our prayers not only be heard, but also that they be answered by God.

There are many things we cannot do because we lack the faith. Likewise there are many prayers we pray that go unanswered because they were not prayed in faith. Faith in prayer produces expectancy, expectancy produces tenacity, and we come before God with our pleas and petitions not as ones who have no hope, but as ones who are certain of God’s intervention on our behalf.

Matthew 9:29, ‘Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘according to your faith let it be done to you.’”

Are you willing to enter into this convention with God? Are you willing to have your prayer be answered according to your faith? If not, why not?

Have faith to press in, have faith to petition God, have faith to stand in the gap, have faith to pray for the lost, have faith to plead the cause of the widow and the orphan, and when you do all things in faith, you will see the hand of God move as never before.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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