Wrestling with God- F260- Week 4- Day 3

Today’s Scripture Reading- Genesis 31-32

This weeks Memory Verse:

(18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:18

Highlight:

(28)  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Genesis 32:28

Explanation:
Here we read the description of Jacob’s wrestling with God. There is some mystery to the scene. God is represented as a theophany. They wrestle during the night until the morning. We see this as a changing point for Jacob that effects the rest of his life:

  1. His walk is changed. God touches the hollow of his thigh and Jacob thus walks with a limp the rest of his life.
  2. His name is changed. His name had been Jacob (“deceiver”) and now his name is “Israel” (wrestles with God). This was a pertinent name change for Jacob. His life was certainly one of struggle. He had struggles with Esau, with Laban, with his wives, and in this particular name-changing scene, he struggled with God.

The dialogue in this struggle included Jacob’s request that God bless him. It’s interesting that Jacob/Israel desired and even for Isaac’s blessing, and here he struggles for God’s blessing. God certainly had alrady blessed Jacob and God honored his request here in verse 29.

Israel named the place “face of God”. It was here he had an experience with God and was inevitably changed by it.

Application:
We can be changed by an experience with God. We can struggle and eventually submit as well. When we do have an experience with Him it can have the power to change our identity and our walk. Truly He is the source of our blessing and not our own hand.

Response:
Thank you, God, for blessing me. Help me to seek you first and foremost.

Romans- Week 10- Day 4- Romans 11:28-29

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  (29)  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 

Romans 11:28-29 

Explanation:

When it comes to the gospel and the great commission, many of the Jews had made themselves the enemies of these gentile believers.  They did not recognize Jesus as Messiah, and had at times even persecuted local assemblies of believers in Christ.  In that sense the Jews as a category of people had made themselves the enemies of the gospel.  Paul makes the distinction though, that this did not mean God was going to abandon Israel.  Israel was and is still going to be the chosen people of God because God had made promises to the patriarchs like Abraham and David.  God will fulfill the covenant He made to Israel through Abraham, David and others.  This does not mean that every Jew will be saved.  It does mean that every Jew can be saved, and that God will keep His promises to Israel.  The gifts and calling of God promised to Israel are for Israel and will be given to Israel despite how the Jews at that time were responding to the gospel.

Verse 29 does not mean that repentance is not necessary for individual salvation from sin.  To be saved one must recognize their sinfulness and call on Christ to save them as a sinner.  Paul is referring to the promises of God made to Israel that were unconditional.  Since God made unconditional promises to Israel, He will fulfill those promises despite the present heart condition of many of those people.

Application:

We should have a desire for all people, including Jewish people, to believe on Christ.  God has not cast away His people.  He loves them.  We also should trust in the promises of God.  He is a promise keeping, never changing God.

Response:

How are you doubting or trusting in the promises of God today?

Who can you share the salvation message with today?

Romans- Week 10- Day 1- Romans 11:17-21

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;  (18)  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.  (19)  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  (20)  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:  (21)  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Romans 11:17-21 

Explanation:

In Romans 10 Paul had emphasized that salvation was possible to all who called on Christ for salvation, both jew and greek.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  (13)  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:12-13 

This was potentially controversial to many jewish people because they thought of themselves as God’s chosen people.  This is true.  They are God’s chosen people, and not all of the promises made to ethnic Israel are for anyone but them.

It was also a concept that could make gentile believers have a heart of arrogance about themselves.  They could begin to believe that now they were better than Israel, or that God was through with them.

Paul wanted to make it clear that God was not through with Israel.  Earlier in the chapter of today’s hilighted text Paul addresses this concept:

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  (2)  God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.  

Romans 11:1-2a

He says in verse 3 that there are a remnant of Israel who believe in Christ by faith.  They are saved by faith through grace just as the gentiles are (v5).

When we get to today’s higlighted text, Paul likens the scenario to two different olive trees.  There is the cultivated olive tree (Israel) and the wild olive tree (Gentiles).  The gentiles who believe in Christ are like branches of the wild tree that have been grafted to the cultivated tree. 

1a: to cause (a scion) to unite with a stock
also : to unite (plants or scion and stock) to form a graft
b: to propagate (see PROPAGATE sense transitive 1) (a plant) by grafting

Miriam Webster’s Dictionary

Here is a picture of an olive tree that has had branches grafted in:

He warns them to be careful not to be “highminded” or arrogant, but rather to be fearful or respectful of what God has done.  Why?  “Becaue of unbelief they were borken off”.  He goes on to say, “if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”

One of the interpretive mistakes that people make in this text is to take this passage in an individual way rather than in the way Paul intended for the original readers to take it.  He is not saying that if the individual gentile believer is prideful they will lose their salvation.  He is making the statement that the gentile believers as a group ought to be careful not to be high minded and arrogant.  Salvation came through the children of Abraham, through the lineage of David, to be obtained by the blood of the jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Application:

Our salvation should in no way make us haughty or prideful.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says this,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 

There is no boasting in anything but Jesus Christ in the life of the believer.


Response:

Today, I think it is appropriate to thank God for His plan of salvation that came through His working through the nation of Israel.