Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 144

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

True men of God, who come to know Him intimately, come to realize just how generous God truly is. With each new mercy, with each new blessing, men of God become all the more aware that these mercies and blessings are undeserved and unmerited.

1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?”

There is nothing that a man can possess which he did not receive. This is the essence of Paul’s argument to the church at Corinth. Whether a spiritual gift, a material blessing, or a divine mercy, all things come from the hand of God, all things are received, and if all things are received of God, then we have no reason to glory in them as though we did not receive them.

How can I be prideful of something if I know it isn’t mine? How can I boast and glory in something if I know it was a gift, received from the hand of God, not because I deserved it, but just because He is so good?

I cannot for the life of me understand individuals whom God endows with a certain spiritual gift, who then turn around and expect their fellow brothers in Christ to raise them up and praise them as though they themselves were something special and unique.

They take up titles for themselves, expect to be called by these titles, feel entitled to a life of ease and comfort, and expect brothers and sisters in Christ to obey them without question, all because they received something from God which was not their own, which they cannot claim, nor appropriate for themselves.

An individual who is able to grasp that all things come from the hand of God, and that they have nothing which they did not receive, is well on their way to understanding the deeper mysteries of man’s relationship with God.

Although God blessed Jacob, and did so abundantly, he comes to the realization that he is unworthy of the many blessings of God. There are certain individuals, and I’ve run across a few of them myself, who begin to look their noses down on others when God begins to bless them. They begin to feel superior, or somehow more spiritual than their fellow believers, because they equate material blessing with God preferring them over those whom He did not bless as He blessed them.

True servants know to humble themselves before God with each new blessing and each new mercy shown them, rather than allow pride or a sense of self-accomplishment to take root in their heart.

When we walk in humility, when we acknowledge we are undeserving of God’s mercies as Jacob acknowledged, we leave no room for pride. The oxygen pride needs in order to breathe is effectively removed from our hearts as we walk in humility, and pride is chocked off and expires because it has nothing to feed off of.

Lest we think Jacob’s wealth was something to scoff at, or easily dismiss, we must keep in mind that the richest people of the time were those who possessed animals, whether goats, cows, donkeys or camels. It was an agrarian culture Jacob lived in, and one can only begin to imagine his wealth when understanding what he intended to give as a present to Esau his brother.

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

Due to the culture we live in, very few would look at a farmer or a rancher and consider them as wealthy or well off. We tend to see the glitzier careers, such as sports stars, or famous singers, but the only other man besides the president who was able to purchase a helicopter during the Communist regime in Romania, was none other than a sheep herder who had over twenty thousand sheep. No one else could afford the price, or the taxes on something so extravagant, except for a man who tended his sheep, made his cheese, and sold his wool every year.

Make no mistake, Jacob was a wealthy man by any standard, yet he beholds all that he has amassed, and after acknowledging they are all from the hand of God, he concludes that they are undeserved.

Jacob took what came to his hand as a present to Esau, and his present was nothing to scoff at. To give away such things on a whim just because they come to your hand, you know you won’t miss them and you have allot more where those came from.

Obedience is not reserved only for the poor, it is not mandated only for those who have nothing by way of the material, but when God speaks, obedience is mandated of everyone. Jacob was a rich man. He could have pretended he did not hear the voice of God telling him to return to his homeland and face his brother, but he knew better, even with the limited understanding he possessed concerning God.

Jacob knew he was dependent on God. How many supposed believers know this important truth?

Blessing can either make you humble, and thankful and grateful to God, or it can make you proud and arrogant and forgetful of God.

The heart of man is the battlefield, and man’s soul is the prize. It is within the heart that a battle rages between the self, and the Spirit of God. It is within the heart that two opposing forces clash and collide, and depending on which will have ultimate victory, we will either seek God all the more in our prosperity, or forget Him altogether.

As the old proverb so aptly states, if you put two dogs in a cage, the one you feed will ultimately win. Feed your spiritual man. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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