Three Dimensions of Jacob

July 30, 2013

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is a type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob, on the other hand, did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though, prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take from him all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old soulish nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature with all of its weaknesses, lust and affections?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The agent of God touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for the glory we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

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