Day 17: A Day of Emptying
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God], saying, For I have seen God face to face, and my life is spared and not snatched away.
The story of Jacob’s return back to his own land is surely one of the most inspiring in OT history. He has been away from his homeland for nearly twenty years, acquired two wives and children of his own and now he is ready to meet the brother that drove him away two decades before. What great fear Jacob must have felt as he anticipated the reunion. But, before coming to that place of meeting, Jacob needed one more encounter with God and he finds himself at a crossing. The name of the place is Jabbok, which means in the Hebrew language “emptying”. This is symbolic of where Jacob was in his relationship with God.
Before Jacob could encounter God he needed to come to a place where he emptied all of self out of the way. Jacob was still Jacob the trickster, supplanter, schemer and this had to go. Jacob was a major part of the God’s plan for the history of His people because he was to be the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel, but Jacob the schemer had to go. God needed the new man Jacob instead of the old. So Jacob contended with God until the Lord let him go and in the process the old Jacob was destroyed and Israel was birthed.
As we are entering into day 17 of our fast, we are quickly approaching the final return back to the place we began. Are you still the same person who began the fast or have you contended with God? Do you need to empty yourself before God and let him wrestle out of you the old fleshly ways? Do you wonder what would have happened at the reunion of Jacob and Esau had Jacob not come to face to face with God? Jacob’s destiny was to become the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel, God’s nation of people. But, Jacob the schemer could not fill that role. What in you needs to change before you can take your place in God’s planned destiny for you? As we wind down our journey, let’s empty ourselves and ask God to wrestle from us those fleshly ways that we are hanging onto and rise up new and ready to go forward in 2012.