How Long, O Lord?

Hebrew Bible Reading Genesis 32:24-30
New Testament Romans 9:1-5

Message: How Long, O Lord?
With whom did Jacob wrestle? Our scripture starts by saying, “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”
I remember hearing a great sermon that claimed it was a metaphorical story about Jacob wrestling with his own deceptive nature.
It has some credibility when you consider that when he starts the contest he is named Jacob, which means supplanter or deceiver. When the match was over he was named Israel which means God perseveres or contends
However it is clear who Jacob thought he had struggled against because at the end of the story, Jacob says” I have seen God face to face
Have you ever wrestled with God?
I have! Many times. I wrestled with him at my conversion. I felt God pulling me toward Him and I wanted to believe. However, I wanted to keep one foot in the door. My life was much like the person in the old hymn “Almost Persuaded” by Philip P. Bliss which says,
“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say,
“Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day
On Thee I’ll call.”
“Almost persuaded,” come, come today;“Almost persuaded,” turn not away;
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are lingering near
Prayers rise from hearts so dear;
O wanderer, come!

“Almost persuaded,” turn not away;
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are lingering near
Prayers rise from hearts so dear;
O wanderer, come!

“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
“Almost,” but lost!

“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
“Almost,” but lost!

We can not be a little bit Christian anymore than we can be a little bit dead. We are or we are not.
My heart was yearning for God! However, my mind would not let me let go of my own self will. Why couldn’t there be a way to ‘test’ God? Couldn’t I have a 90 day trial with a money back guarantee?
Imagine my surprise to find in Malachi chapter three verse ten, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”
Over the years, I have met many people who tithe because they believed. However, I’m the only person I know of who believed because they tithed.
I took God at his word and put him to the test. I began tithing and the blessing began to flow.
What happened was that the money that had seldom lasted all the way to the next payday, started to last. Even though I was tithing when I hadn’t before.
I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t make sense, but it worked. This “God thing” was working!
Now hold on a minute – I will not let you be misled here. I am not saying that if you tithe, that vast wealth will come your way.
Anybody that reads about the lives of the disciples will see that they certainly did not become wealthy men.
My point is that I put God to the test and He passed. He did what He said He would and proved to me that I could trust Him. That was a beginning.
Over the years, I wrestled with God. I have argued with Him over health issues, family relationship, and employment concerns. And I have to say that even when things didn’t work out as I had envisioned them — God was able to make a blessing from them when I was able to leave them in His hands.
It is okay to argue with God – even to be angry at God. Read the Psalms. Many of them were songs of anger and hurt.
Sometimes you have to ask God to let you see the situation through His eyes. And sometimes you just have to yield and say, “Not my will but thine O Lord!”

Remember – at the end of the wrestling, comes a blessing.

FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION
I find this hymn to be a thought provoking telling of the story that takes it from the past to the present and into the future.
Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown
1. Come, O thou Traveler unknown, who still I hold, but cannot see! My company before is gone, and I am left alone with thee. With thee all night I mean to stay, and wrestle till the break of day; with thee all night I mean to stay, and wrestle till the break of day.
2. I need not tell thee who I am, my misery and sin declare; thyself hast called me by my name, look on thy hands and read it there. But who, I ask thee, who art thou? Tell me thy name, and tell me now. But who, I ask thee, who art thou? Tell me thy name, and tell me now.
3. Yield to me now, for I am weak, but confident in self-despair! Speak to my heart, in blessing speak, be conquered by my instant prayer. Speak, or thou never hence shalt move, and tell me if thy name is Love. Speak, or thou never hence shalt move, and tell me if thy name if Love.
4.’ Tis Love!’ tis Love! Thou diedst for me, I hear thy whisper in my heart. The morning breaks, the shadows flee, pure, Universal Love thou art. To me, to all, thy mercies move; thy nature and thy name is Love. To me, to all, thy mercies move; thy nature and thy name is Love.
Words by Charles Wesley

©Thomas E Williams 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s