Heroes & Heroines of Faith Series Part 6: Jacob

Shockingly the name of the cheat and cunny guy manages to surface on the list.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. (Hebrews 11:21)

Jacob’s life is in contrast to the peaceful life his dad lived. He wasn’t really someone we will refer to as a cool headed guy. At a glance, his name doesn’t flow well with the ones already considered. Interestingly the writer of Hebrews doesn’t mention anything about Jacob’s past. He focuses on how he ended. But in order to understand and draw lessons from this cunny guy (as we saw on my previous post), we need to look at his journey and how he managed to get to what looks like a glorious end.

After stealing the blessing that was meant for his brother Esau, Jacob was advised by his mother to run for his dear life. On his way to his uncle, he had his first encounter with God. And no, it wasn’t judgement day for Jacob as you would have thought. In this encounter, God reveals one of His natures to Jacob. In Genesis 28:10-17, Jacob is seen resting his head on a stone to sleep when he had a dream that really had an impact on his life. In the dream, God says to him,

13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

I personally find the above verse interesting because i have always believed that the blessings of God have a condition attached to them. Am i allowed to say God was a little bit soft with Jacob? Abraham who had a better walk with God wasn’t given his blessings the way Jacob was. If you notice, there are no “ifs” and “whens” in the above. There is no condition attached to what God promised him. It’s almost like God gave him a fresh and a clean slate. He overlooked what has happened previously and showed him grace.

Now you would think that this guy who seemed like a smart guy would quickly embrace this chance. However, the story turns out differently. Jacob makes a vow to God attaching conditions to it. Genesis 28:20-22.

But before bashing Jacob and tagging him as a not so smart guy, i feel he represents most of us. Grace is something some christians find difficult to talk about and accept because it looks too good to be true. So we often find ourselves not accepting the fullness of God’s grace because we feel disqualified as a result of the “ifs” and “whens” we’ve attached to it.

Afterwards Jacob is tricked by his uncle Laban after working 14 years instead of 7years for his wife Rachael. Nemesis? Maybe.

Jacob however goes on to become a very wealthy man which led to jealousy from Laban and his children. The home became a little bit uncomfortable for Jacob and again he is told by his uncle to run as Esau is coming after him. He decided to run away with his family. As he ran, he had a second encounter with God. This time he finds himself wrestling with God.

I can certainly relate to Jacob. And i’m sure you might be able to as well. We all have wrestled with God in some way. Jacob just wanted to move on with his life. His plan got interrupted by God. How many times does God interrupt our plans. Most times this interruption isn’t referred to as blessings. In fact we refer to blessing as a state of rest. However if you ask Jacob, he will tell you that his blessing came when God interrupted his plan. Jacob has gone about his life the way he wanted. It was now time for God to align his life with His plan.

As Jacob wrestled, he became broken. Thank God for that place where i wrestled. If not for that incidence, i would have remained a strong headed Efua. But God broke me there. He emptied my strength because He wanted me to know that i am really nothing without Him. Jacob needed to be broken for God to be able to use him.

Another interesting thing to note is the question God asked him.

“What is your name?” the man asked. Matthew 32:27

Uh uh! I’m sure Jacob wasn’t expecting to be asked this. So God you mean you don’t know my name? He might have thought. This question was needed to be asked because all this while Jacob might have thought that his problem had nothing to do with him. Besides he was just being smart. However this day, he was faced with the reality that his problem wasn’t anyone else but him. He needed to be real and plain before God. We cannot be broken when we are still proud and dishonest. For God to use us, we need to come to terms with who we really are. “God this is me. I am dishonest. I am a liar. I steal. I still cheat. I am very jealous. I still dwell in unforgiveness. I contribute to my problem. I shy away from addressing who i am because i would rather blame it on the devil, my manager, my family, my in laws, my abuser, my past… anyone but me.”

This sudden realisation and acknowledgement led to Jacob’s freedom.

We cannot be free when we refuse to acknowledge the truth about who we are.

Jacob’s identity changed on that day. His name was changed from Jacob to Israel. In order not to make this post too long, i will fast forward to Jacob’s last days where the writer of Hebrews draws our attention to.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. (Hebrews 11:21)

In Genesis 43:1-14, we are told of how Jacob and Joseph are reconnected. In verses 13 and 14, Jacob is seen to release the last precious thing that he was holding on to since the disappearance of Joseph his child. Jacob loved Benjamin and held him dearly to his heart. This of course is a good thing but i want to look at it from another angle. In our faith walk, we have to come to a point where we are ready to release everything we have. We have to let go of our control freaked nature and allow God’s will to come to pass. I feel this is the spiritual significance of what Jacob did. This action led to the beauty of what we saw in Hebrews and actually qualified his name to appear as a hero of faith.

When he saw his grandchildren, he blessed. Him blessing his children was an act of faith. He trusted God to bring those blessings to pass in the lives of his children.

Jacob’s life was full of tests but his resilience led to the fulfillment of the promise given to his grandfather Abraham. From him, came the 12 tribes of Israel. His ability to keep moving birthed the nation of Israel. What a man! It isn’t about how many times we get knocked down but it’s about how many times we rise up. Each test is God’s way of dealing with each imperfection.

Jacob’s faith showed in his ability to not give up.

After all that has happened in his life, he wasn’t resentful. His spirit was free to bless and free to worship in humility. His story doesn’t end by him wrestling with God anymore. Rather he is now humble. He has surrendered and trusted God with everything. His faith is now strong enough to allow God take the lead as he follows Him humbly.

My friend, it isn’t really about how you started and what has happened in your past. I am not trivializing your pain at all. This isn’t me trying to tell you to “get over it.” It’s just me reminding you not to let your yesterday ruin your today and your future. I agree people have hurt you and you have been treated unfairly. However like Jacob, you can decide not to quit. Make better use of your life now. Stop using what happened to you in your past as an excuse to remain the way you are.

Jacob had so many reasons to give up. His parents gave him a negative name which shaped his early life. He was named a deceiver even before he knew what that word meant. He made mistakes. He worked double to marry his wife. His wages were changed upto 10 times. I would like to believe it was reduced, otherwise it wouldn’t have been worth mentioning. He ran for his life from his brother. His son was sold out. He experienced famine. Life wasn’t sweet all the way for him. But he didn’t give up. Take the life God has given you as an opportunity to do better. Get up. Shake off the dust. Seek help if necessary and move on.

What are my decisions?

  • To always keep it real with God
  • To forgive and let go
  • To stay humble throughout my journey
  • To always remember to bless others regardless of what i have gone through and to bow down in total surrender and worship to God Almighty.
  • To be resilient just like Jacob who got up after every fall

What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comment section below.

It’s been good to have you again 🙂. See you next time as we take a look into Joseph; another hero of faith.

Please feel free to check out the other parts of this series

Part 1 – Abel< a href=”https://graceoverpain.com/2017/11/12/heroes-heroines-of-faith-series-part-2-enoch/”>Part 2 – Enoch< a href=”https://graceoverpain.com/2017/11/13/heroes-heroines-of-faith-series-part-3-noah/”>Part 3 – Noah< a href=”https://graceoverpain.com/2017/11/14/heroes-heroines-of-faith-series-part-4-abraham-and-sarah/”>Part 4 – Abraham and Sarah< a href=”https://graceoverpain.com/2017/11/14/heroes-heroines-of-faith-series-part-4-abraham-and-sarah-cont/”>Part 4– Continuation of Abraham and Sarah < a href=”https://graceoverpain.com/2017/11/16/heroes-heroines-of-faith-series-part-5-isaac/”>Part 5 – Isaac<<<<<

God bless you!


21 thoughts on “Heroes & Heroines of Faith Series Part 6: Jacob

    1. Hi Carlos. Thanks for reading my post. In Genesis 25 & 27 how Jacob gets the birthright off Esau and how he went further to claim Esau’s blessings. These chapters don’t paint Jacob as someone we would really call a hero. His name means a deceiver and He sure lived by that in his early years. I hope this clears things up🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! I am thankful that you learnt something from this post. Thank you so much Sis for taking out time to read and leave a comment. I really appreciate every minute of your time spent on my blog🙂. God bless you❤️

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    1. Amen!!! “God indeed qualifies the called and does not call the qualified.” Wow!!! This line is deep and it’s absolutely true. If we all know this, we won’t be quick at writing ourselves and others off. I’m praying we are able to see others and ourselves through the lens of Christ. Thank you so much for spending your precious time to read and comment on my blog. Blessings to you!🙂

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