Day 23 - Issue 22

August 2, 2017

Genesis 32:29 NL

“Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

If names are indeed so important, why is it that God refuses to give his name? We know from Moses’ encounter with the burning bush that God gave his name as “I AM”, forever existent and alone the source of all of life throughout the universe. How can the one who is before and beyond all things capture that reality in a single name?

Yet for Jacob there was a need for clarity. Who was it he was fighting with? As we battled MS, it was possible to objectivise the disease and to pray against the disease, rather than continue to pray for the person within whose body the MS manifested. This was unhelpful, since it separated the disease from the person and vice versa, as if how Katey was in her MS was somehow distinct from Katey. This was entirely her journey and she inhabited the MS as much as the MS inhabited her.

It was also too simple to blame Satan for the disease, as if everything we class as evil is the devil’s fault. That’s too easy for we can blame global poverty, ethnic cleansing and anything we didn’t choose to relate to as the work of the devil.

Jacob in his struggles came to realise that God was central to all his anxieties about Laban on the one hand and Esau on the other. However carefully he orchestrated events, his destiny lay outside of his control and squarely in the hands of God. God blessed him with a new name – one who has fought with God.

I fought with God and found my new name having played fast and loose with God up to that point. Now I knew God was at the heart of both my perception of the good and the bad in my life. It was not my role to find more of one than the other. I was invited to find the God who is “...above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6b, HCSB).

QUESTION: How do you view the world generally and your world specifically? What do you blame on Satan?

PRAYER: Sovereign Lord, open my eyes to see more of how you are working in all the circumstances of my life.

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