Sometimes we are people of blessing. But most of the time, we aren’t.
Sometimes we have to fight for our blessing. But most of the time, we don’t.
Fighting for a blessing feels hard. And like we aren’t humble. And there’s this idea that if we were worthy of being blessed, someone would see that, and we would be. But most of the time, we miss the blessing simply because we don’t ask for it.
I think it might be helpful to point out that I am not talking about blessing in terms of money or resources. Sometimes blessing brings those things, but that’s not what I mean. When I say blessing, I mean the desire we all have to be blessed. The desire to be seen as special in the eyes of someone who does not require us to perform to earn their love. While last week we talked a little about our desire to be affirmed in what we do, the desire to be blessed is more about who we are.
This idea of blessing is seen over and over in the Scriptures. And while we recognize that the birthright and inheritance that was given culturally was a blessing, this need goes deeper. So deep in fact, that if we don’t get it, it leads to shame. The shame doesn’t come from making a mistake, that is more a posture of guilt. Instead, shame is feeling like we are the mistake.
Sis, can I remind you of something? God doesn’t make mistakes. You are amazing.
As women, we tend to think that the way that we earn a blessing is by working towards something that will earn us that right. But the reality is, if you never did anything ever again, you would still be loved. Remember what we said last week? God is love. It’s who He is. And loved is who you are. Because of who God is, not because of anything you ever have done or ever will do.
So, what do we do when we don’t feel blessed? Well, we tend to believe the lies that the enemy throws at us:
Let me stop you right there. And let me repeat something for those in the back. You are not loved for what you do. You are loved for who you are.
We can see a clear picture of this desire to be blessed in the story of Jacob, and the moment when God changed his name to Israel.
24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have contended with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 And Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his hip. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the tendon of the hip which is on the socket of the hip, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the tendon of the hip.
Jacob fought for his blessing. And after wrestling with God, he walked away changed.
If you remember his story, Jacob had been deceptive for a very long time. His name meant deceiver. His lifetime of hiding himself, of deceiving those around him, led him to a place where he was alone with God. In those moments where we find ourselves alone with God, the one who knows us, and all the things we hide, it’s those moments where we are faced with a choice. We have the choice to keep living our lives on our terms, or a choice to lean into the blessing that God has for us.
Jacob realized this and recognized that the only way he could be blessed was if God Himself gave him the blessing.
The original word for struggle is sarah, which means to persist or persevere.
And the name Israel means God prevails.
As Jacob/Israel’s lineage became God’s special people of Israel, we share in that heritage. As followers of Christ, we know that God prevails.
Over our situation, God prevails.
Over our heartache, God prevails.
Over our waiting, God prevails.
Over our struggle, God prevails.
When we struggle or persist with God, it leads to a changed identity in us, one where God prevails.
While we don’t physically struggle with God, we do sometimes need to persist through prayer. And although we may sometimes automatically receive a blessing from God, most of the time we have to actively pursue God’s blessing that comes from the struggle.
I know this can seem hard, especially when the struggle is big. But the encouragement we see from Jacob is that if we persevere, the blessing will come.
“I will not let go unless you bless me.”
May those words from Jacob become the prayer of our hearts, as we seek Him for the blessing that can only come from knowing Him in our struggle.
Be Blessed Friends,