A RE-POST FROM MY BLOG, DEC. 9, 2011
In this week's Torah portion, in Genesis chapter 32, we see Jacob finally leaving Laban and his years of servitude, in order to journey on and meet his brother, Esau. On his way, angels meet and encourage him. What a picture this is of our own faith journey through the mixtures and difficulties of this world! When we finally decide to completely leave behind our old, selfish flesh nature (known in Hebrew as the Olam Hazeh - eating from the Tree of Good and Evil), we arrive at the River Jabbok. Will we have enough strength to cross? We will need angels to meet us there and encourage us!
In Hebrew the word Jabbok (pronounced Yabbok) means "to empty, to pour out." This is the process we must go through - just as Jacob did - in order to take on the new, heavenly nature (Olam Haba - eating from the Tree of Life)! Jacob had to get another man's blessing (Esau), work for another man (Laban), tend his sheep, and do hard labor for 20 years before he was free to take his family and set out on his own. This long time speaks of our own long journeys through the snares of this world. Jacob would not fully enter into the heavenly realm until he had an ultimate encounter with his Creator and wrestled with Him until he came to the end of himself. This struggle leaves him with a mark (a limp) - but it also changes his name!
What is this crossing of the Jabbok? It is not just our salvation - that is only step one! It is the separating out of the old flesh nature from the new heavenly nature. It is our process of sanctification and regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh).
Who has become fully holy, born again and set-apart at the moment he accepted Yeshua as Lord? Genesis 12:1-3 and 17:23 make it clear to us that Abraham was uncircumcised when he received the Covenant from God! The circumcision of both his flesh and his heart still had to be walked out. He was still an old wineskin, needing to be tested and tried in the fire, and then filled with new wine (anointing) from the Ruach (see Matthew 9:16-17). Old wineskins cannot be filled with new wine!
Jacob sent over all his possessions before crossing the Jabbok River, the place of self-emptying. This shows that he realized that all his strength, all his possessions and wealth, and his own good name were not enough to save him! Alone and empty in the wilderness, he wrestles with a man until daybreak. We know this man is Yeshua - God in the flesh. When we are in the wilderness, and God begins to deal with us, we have three options:
1) Stand still (no forward movement, resulting in spiritual death
2) Turn back (back to Egypt, back to the world and the flesh)
3) Press through (become sanctified and delivered, entering the Olam Haba
The wilderness is our place of circumcision, the place where God's promise comes to pass in each of us: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. " (Ezekiel 36:26-28)
It is a one-on-one encounter with Yeshua - and in that place, He alone reveals to us our true identity as Israel - and like Jacob, we will leave that place marked by Him, and we will never walk the same again!
Kelly Ferrari Mills