The Struggle and the Crown
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;
to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed”
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”
Genesis 25:22 – 25
Within the life of every true believer is the struggle between two natures; two ways of living, two sets of desires and two eternal consequences. The conflict is between the first Adam and the Last Adam, the first Adam being that nature which is earthly and sensual and the second Adam being the heavenly man, the Eternal Son of Man. We see the very portrayal of this within the womb of Rebekah as she by faith brought forth the one who would become Israel in the purposes and dealings of our great God.
Esau was the firstborn, a man of passions, wild and undisciplined. He was of the earth, earthly and devoid of any real love of spiritual things. He was born first, bearing the likeness of the first Adam, which in the Hebrew means “red earth”. At his birth the scriptures take great care to describe his appearance (See The Things of Esau).
“And the first came out red*(see note below),
all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau”
Jacob, though a schemer and a conniver, had one thing that set him apart. He had respect for the things of God. The birthright, which was rightfully Esau’s by virtue of being the first born, meant little to Esau and he surrendered it for a mere mess of pottage in a moment of extreme hunger. Jacob, on the other hand, coveted this blessing. Jacob was the son of promise, a man called to become the Israel of God, not by strength, nor by might but by the mercy and strength of our God.
These two distinct “manner of people” struggled within the womb of Rebekah, yet the promise was THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER. Jacob’s journey of faith to become Israel was one of many dealings and breakings in the hands of a determined and merciful God. The promise of God tarries until the man Jacob is broken. It is in our submission to His dealings that we become the people upon whom the promise falls.
“The Lord sent a word into Jacob,
and it hath lighted upon Israel”
The promise to Jacob was a sure thing but the severity of the dealings of God and the determination of God is what made the promise sure. The man Jacob must become the worm that he might indeed become strong.
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”
Isaiah 41:14 – 15
We must see that the inabilities in our life to do God’s will are the result of our strengths not our weaknesses. When we speak of weakness we are speaking of all that has not been brought into submission to the Son; in whatever measure we have known the fellowship of His sufferings there is a corresponding experience of His resurrection life.
“That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain
unto the resurrection of the dead”
Philippians 3:10 – 11
Let us realize that the struggle within is a struggle that is to be unto life and glory; HIS LIFE and HIS GLORY. The struggle of Rebekah is prophetic of all that we must know within ourselves. Jacob will remain Jacob until he is broken. We too will remain barren unless we discover the wonder and the power of HIS faith in our lives. A faith like gold submitted to the fire is purified and fit for the master’s use. Teachings will not produce this life; only a broken and surrendered will in the hands of the God of Jacob! This is not a day to tarry but it is a day for us to “press toward the mark, for the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
Let our confidence be not in ourselves, our knowledge or our associations. Rather let our confidence be in the God of Jacob who was able to bring forth a PRINCE* (see note below) from the worm and who is able to complete that which He began in us. The beauty of Jacob’s heart was clearly revealed at Peniel as we see Jacob clinging to the ONE who wounded him for in that place we see and hear God’s declaration…
“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”
* אַדְמֹנִי ʼaḏmōniy, אַדְמוֹנִי ʼaḏmôniy: An adjective meaning red, ruddy. from the Hebrew Word ADAM
*Israel – Prince with God
A Partial reprint of a former post. A relevant reminder for us to stay the course in Christ