June 12, 2019

To Contend

By: Larry Shaffer

This is me and Leigh recently attending the HS graduation of our goddaughter, Ally Bennett, in Danville, CA

To Contend 

Genesis 46 & Hosea 12 

Joseph, lesson 33 

Last time, we read that Jacob stopped to worship and hear from God on his trek to Egypt to see Joseph. Jacob had many faults but we can learn from his passion to interact with God. You can read about Jacob’s night of wrestling with the angel of God, the pre-incarnate Son of God, in Genesis 32:24-32. However, most people don’t realize that the prophet Hosea wrote a God-inspired commentary about Jacob’s experience. 

In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his maturity, he contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. 

He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, even the Lord, the God of hosts, The Lord is His name.  

Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. Hosea 12.3-6 

In his youth, Jacob was impetuous and impulsive. But in his maturity, at a time that he was deeply distressed, he wrestled with the angel of God. Hosea writes that he contended with God, the angel. Hosea calls this angel God. That is why I refer to this angel as the Son of God, the pre-incarnate Christ. 

What does Hosea teach us about what we can learn from Jacob in this situation? 

  • Hosea said, and in his maturity, he contended with God. Maturity should take us deeper and deeper with God. The Corinthian church struggled with spiritual immaturity. Paul taught them by writing, When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. In 2015, my pastor challenged me to spend time with God every day, no excuses. At that time, I had plateaued spiritually. He challenged me to begin to seriously contend with God! 
  • Hosea said, Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. This is interesting. In general, we usually use the phrase, seek His face. But Hosea tells us that Jacob’s primary purpose was to seek HIS FAVOR. We see this in the Psalms of David as well. I have begun to do this in my prayers. I will sometimes beg the Lord to answer my prayers which I know are prayers for good; eternally good, for the lives of those whom I love, (not just earthly blessings and healings). But I’ve never gone all night like Jacob did. Jacob would not let go until he was blessed. 
  • Hosea says, He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, even the Lord, the God of hosts. Before the Bible was written, compiled and confirmed as the Word of God, the patriarchs and prophets heard from God in various ways. My experience is that I hear from God when I dig into His Word. Often, early in the morning, I approach my time with God tired and quite uninspired. I will struggle through a prayer, read the Bible text, and say to myself; ‘I don’t see or feel anything.’ But by the time I’m done, in most cases, God has stirred my soul and spoken to me through His Word. I often have to struggle and wrestle through the text. But as I persevere, God often surprises me in the most wonderful way. Clarity and epiphanies often emerge. 
  • Hosea says, Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. This is the application of the lesson of Jacob. Return to your God; wait and seek and pray to your God…always and continually. Like my pastor challenged me, Hosea challenges as well. Return to Your God; wait and seek and pray to your God…always and continually!

Father, You have blessed me and given me so much. In one sense, I’m content and at rest. But in another sense, I want more. I want Your favor in even greater measure. I want to do more and be more for Your glory. I want to see Your favor extended toward ALL of my loved ones, to others I touch and care about and for evil in our land to be suppressed; especially the shedding of the innocent blood of the unborn. May I contend with You and be blessed. Amen.