Sunday, July 25, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
PENIEL THE PLACE OF FREEDOM
Freedom has many attributes. Because of the sacrifice made by those who formulated the Declaration of Independence, we have freedom of choice, of speech, and of worship. While these are wonderful they are not the most important. As we find in Genesis 32: 24-31 the greatest freedom one can enjoy is freedom from self. Jacob had spent his life living in bondage. He was bound by a spirit of deceit which drove him to take advantage of those closest to him including his brother and his aged father.
When he came to the end of his road he found himself alone having an encounter with God. In this encounter he no doubt thought God wanted to talk to him about his unfortunate life. Let's talk about Laban and how he took advantage of me. Or better still let's talk about Esau and his desire to kill me. But I hear God say "No! This encounter is not about anyone else but you. Laban and Esau are not your problem, nor is anyone else. Your problem is you!" That most often is the case with all of us. Our biggest problem is ourselves. We need freedom from self. In this story we find out how we move from beyond ourselves to being what God wants us to be. The transition involves three steps: One: When we realize there are no other options. Jacob was at the end of the road. He could do nothing else to help himself. Two: When you're willing to be honest. Jacob had to admit who he was. He had to confess his name which meant deceiver-sup-planter. Three: When we are willing to pay the cost--the cost of being alone. When we are willing to say "God it's just you and me. Let's stay here until we work this thing out." The Bible says they wrestled. One often thinks of this as total blessing. But we cannot imagine the pain brought on by a dislocated hip. Yet this brought him to the point of crying out "I will not let you go until you bless me." This cry was not one of the desire to feel goose bumps. It was one to total dependency. He was saying "I cannot let you go because without your blessing I cannot make it."
What is the result of such an encounter? The closing picture is shown of Jacob walking in the sunrise limping. He is a new man with a new name. He has experienced freedom which is the potential for all who choose to visit Peniel the Place of Freedom.
Grace Point Bristol