The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
Struggle, Fight for Your Life
Jacob was a man of struggle as you know, nothing came to him easily. Everything. He had to fight for it, for the birthright he had to fight for it. For the blessings of his father, he had to fight for it, for his wife he had to fight for it. For seven years he worked so hard to get a life that he wanted, and it was the wrong life the father gave him, so he had to work another seven years. I don’t know how that happened, In the morning he woke up and it was not the wife that he wanted. So he had to work for another seven years to get everything he wanted, he had to fight for it. You know, there are people like, that who always have to fight for their lives, nothing comes to them easily. Life doesn’t come on a silver platter.
Today’s story is just a perfect representation of Jacob. Jacob, even for Gospel blessings. He wrestled all night and he said, “I will not let you go. I will not let you go until you bless me.”. So he wrestled, even wrestled with God. Faith did not come so easily. “Oh, now I believe in God.”. You know, all kinds of the spiritual things it didn’t come easily. He had to fight for it. He wrestled with his life, even for Gospel blessings, he had to fight. So as I said, nothing came to him easily. Life, did not come on silver platter for Jacob. The interesting thing is, you know, I really liked Jacob, but Jacob is not the greatest guy. I mean Jacob does not have the greatest personality. He deceived people and all that, at the same time I liked Jacob in a way because he’s so much like us. He had to fight for his life so much, but he never complained about his life. He never blame anyone, he could blame many people, but he never blamed anyone for his misery. That’s the sign of a strong person, you know, weak people always complain. Weak people they always have finger pointed at somebody else. They always blame other people for their misfortune, but Jacob was a strong man. Jacob never blamed or complain about his life, he had no time to blame others. Jacob helped, he had to deal with his situation. He was a hard working, man. He didn’t easily give up in any situations, he was a fighter. Doesn’t matter what situation he may be thrown into there he never accepted that as a given reality and just sat on it. He always fought to overcome whatever situation he had. He was a strong man. Even Laban, his uncle who was quite cunning, could not handle Jacob. Laban is the one who gave the older sister to him first right? So his wife’s father, he was a very cunning man, but even cunning Laban cannot overcome Jacob, could not handle Jacob. Jacob lived his life as though there is no other life.
My friends, there is no other life, this is the only life we have. Let us not complain about life, It’s no use. Let us not blame other people for the difficulties we experienced it’s no use. That is what we people do. We are not that weak. We are with strong with Christ. We can handle our situations, we can deal with our situations instead of sitting down and complaining and blaming. Let us figure out what to do. Whatever difficulties we may have with our lives. Life is full of struggles for everyone, not just a few, for everyone. Life is a struggle. We all struggle with different issues. Some people struggle with their financial situations. Some people struggle with their career picks, nothing really opens up for them. Some people struggle with health issues and also some people struggle because they have such bad relationships with their parents, with their children, with other people, or some people struggle because of their children. Life can never be peaceful. That’s what I experienced after many years of living, I realize that life can never be peaceful consistently. Always things happen. Things that you never expected happened. There is always a storm. We cannot live our lives running away from the storm, don’t do that. We cannot avoid our own storms. We have to build character to sail through the storm. Only people who build character can sail through the storms.
During my holiday I went to Boston to visit Grace. Oh, they have a done so well to really make us comfortable. So we drove down to New York together and then Chris was busy looking for music for us to listen to, so seventies and eighties. So, and then they turned on this music “bridge over troubled water.” Do you know that song? By Simon and Garfunkel. Very famous song, one of my favourite songs, I played it and I didn’t realize that even Elvis Presley sang that song before he died. We’re searching through the web and then the background of this song and the words are really nice. I listened to it again and the Words are really nice. So I wanted to share with you, the words; “When you’re weary-“, I won’t sing it so don’t worry. “Feeling small when tears in your eyes. I drive them all. I’m on your side. Oh, when times get rough and friends just cannot be found like a bridge over troubled water. I’ll lay me down like a bridge over troubled water.” I’ll lay me down… beautiful song, isn’t it? What a nice song. And then Simon was requested to write another verse. He came to the studio and a right there, he wrote another verse, and that verse was this one “sail on silver girl sail on by, your time has come to shy. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine? Oh, if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind like a bridge over troubled water. I’ll ease your mind like a bridge over troubled water. I’ll ease your mind.”.
Don’t Give Up
The reason Jacob could sail through the storm was that he had this experience when he was young, he had a problem with Esau because of the birthright, he deceived him, cheated on him. So he had to run away from his home. He was probably a teenager young. He was almost got kicked out of his home, he had to run away for his life, and he came to a place called Bethel, and during a lonely night all by himself. Young man. I mean, he was kind of a mother boy, he always, always in the kitchen with mother, but now he was all by himself. His mother wasn’t around. His father wasn’t around, nobody was around. He was there in the wilderness in Bethel. He fell asleep, while he was sleeping he heard this in his dream and this is what God told Jacob, “know that I am with you and we’ll keep you wherever you go and we’ll bring you back to this land for I will not leave you, until I have done what I have promised to you.” That word clearly came to Jacob In his dream. He never forgot these words in his life. You know, there is certain experience in your life that you never forget in your life, certain experiences with God. Some spiritual experience that you have had will never disappear from you. I have one of those experience too in my dream and whenever I had a difficult time I remember that dream. Jacob always remembers those words that he had in that dream, he clearly heard that in his dream. He knew that when he sailed through, the storm, God was sailing right behind.
He knew that that was why he didn’t give up. He could give up, but he knew that God was sailing right behind him. Life struggles, but we don’t give up because God is sailing right behind us and we can sail through the troubled water. My friends, even high schools friends, you will face, It’s not that you may face, you will face storms in your life. You will face difficulties in your life, but never forget that God is sailing right behind you, and you will sail through the storm, and Jacob actually became the foundation of Israel. In today’s story, Jacob becomes Israel and Jacob’s 12 children became 12 tribes of Israel so that actual Israel began with Jacob. He trusted in God, he held on to God, and he remembered God promise and his sail through the storm and he became the foundation. I hope that your life becomes a foundation for a lot of other people too.