Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 143

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

When we come to know God personally, and view Him as our Lord and our God, the fears melt away, and we learn to trust He who is able to carry us through our trials and hardships.

The only reason men doubt God is because they don’t know Him well enough. If they truly knew God, then they would never doubt any of His promises, or His ability to save and preserve His beloved.

Grow in the knowledge of God, and you will know perfect peace, joy, and safety.

Because Jacob did not know God as he ought to have, even though God had reached out to him repeatedly, he was fearful of his brother, and distressed at the prospect of having to look him in the eyes after twenty years.

David was at the end of his journey here on earth. In a short while he would return to the earth from whence he came, and he begins leaving charges to Israel, as well as to his son Solomon. As his parting words to his son Solomon, David encourages him not to seek fame, not to seek fortune, not to seek power, but to seek to know the God of his father. Everything else in this world pales in comparison to man’s need to know God personally.

1 Chronicles 28:9, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

David set out two possible paths his son Solomon could have taken, and encouraged him to choose the right path. If Solomon sought God, David confirmed the truth that Solomon would indeed find Him. If however he chose to forsake God, then God would cast him off forever.

Know God. Don’t be content with hearing about Him from a preacher, a friend, or even myself; know Him personally, and intimately and passionately. If you seek Him, you will find Him. God is not hiding from His children. God is waiting for His children to pursue Him, and with every step we take toward Him, He will take two steps toward us.

It is presupposed that every individual who prays to God, must know God. This is a misguided supposition. Some pray to God without ever knowing Him.

Acts 17:22-24, “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.’”

By Paul’s own words, the Athenians were worshipping God, without knowing Him. To know God, is to love God, and to love God is to die to self and all that it entails.

It is as it was, and many today worship God without really knowing Him.

Even though Jacob did not know God as he ought, even though he does not have the wherewithal to call Him his God, Jacob prays with humility and reverence.

‘I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant.’

Not only do we see reverence and humility in the prayer of Jacob, we also see him begin to identify himself as a servant of God. Even within the short timeframe that it took Jacob to pray this prayer, we are starting to see a certain level of maturing taking place.

There is nothing that matures a man faster than hardship, and Jacob found himself in the midst of a world of hardship.

Realizing none of his plans would suffice if his brother Esau decided to attack him with his four hundred men, Jacob comes before God, and begins to pray a prayer that the self-assured and borderline haughty Jacob of twenty years past would have never prayed.

Jacob sees himself as undeserving, and unworthy of the least of all the mercies God had shown him over the years, realizing also that these blessings, these mercies, were not created or brought about by his hand, but by the hand of God.

Do we acknowledge the blessings of God and identify them as such? Do we look at the mercies God has shown us and thank Him for them?

Jacob knew that all his hard work, all his strategizing, all his plans, would have amounted to little more than nothing if God had not blessed him and extended mercy toward him.

Even though Jacob had but a rudimentary knowledge of God, he still knew enough to know that he ought to be thankful toward the God from whom all blessings come, and that indeed, they come from Him.

Another thing we would be wise to learn from the prayer of Jacob, is that the mercies God shows us are undeserved and unmerited. God does not bless us because we are better than our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. God does not show us mercy or favor because we are better Christians, more righteous, or holier than the rest of the Body of Christ. He shows us all mercy in the way He chooses, and the way which is pleasing to Him. Since God is sovereign, He can do that, and all we can do is thank Him for the underserved mercies He showers upon us each and every day.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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