Friday, 4 December 2020
You have shown your strength
"Then the man said, 'From now on, you will no longer be called Ya'akov, but Isra'el; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed.'" (Genesis 32:29, CJB)
This verse comes when Ya'akov has been wrestling with An Angel in the night before meeting his brother Esau. This episode in our patriach's life has had so much written about it, maybe there isn't anything left to say - but still it intrigues me. I love how the angel (or a pre-incarnate vision of Yeshua) doesn't rebuke for fighting with him but, on the contrary, seems to be praising him!
The picture of G-d taking delight in us wrestling with Him - trying to understand, struggling to make our lives count, battling against the evil we see in the world - is reassuring. He doesn't expect us to turn our brains off and stop thinking; yes, there are some things we have to take on faith and admit that we don't understand, but He isn't offended by us wanting to understand, by us trying to make sense of what we see around us.
And there is the human element as well. Do we strive against men? Do we get too tired and give up, because there is too much wrong and we can't right it all? Or do we recognise that we all have our parts to play and stand up for the forgotten, the neglected and the abused in our communities? It can be wearying, but let us remember the Scripture Yeshua quoted in the Synagogue one Shabbat; this week, this year, how has G-d called you to announce Good News to the poor?
"The Spirit of ADONAI is upon me; therefore he has anointed me to announce Good News to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the imprisoned and renewed sight for the blind, to release those who have been crushed, to proclaim a year of the favor of ADONAI."" (Luke 4:18-19, CJB)