9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, you said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives and I will make you prosper.’ 10 I am not worthy of all the faithful love you have shown your servant. With only my walking stick I crossed the Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Rescue me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, as well as the mothers with their children.12 But you said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand on the seashore, too numerous to count.’”
Jacob had fled his past troubles years prior to God calling him to go back from whence he came. At first blush, he was walking in obedience when he did what his parents expected and left his household to marry a believer. Truthfully, his momma wanted her son protected from the older brother who had threatened to kill him for his deceit and cunning. Isn’t that like us all? We want to be right with God, but sometimes try to achieve that position by placating our mistakes with an instance of obedience. Perhaps the right we do will outweigh the wrong.
Jacob wrestled toward the calling of God on his life, tried to make it happen in his own timing and way. Jacob’s striving backfired big time, yet God was not going to retract that calling. He uses imperfect people and His calling is irrevocable. Thank God for His faithfulness, despite our mess ups.
A calling is a funny thing. Burning inside us is this relentless urging, and yet we are so fallible, we doubt that this calling is really from God. It is the stepping out that confirms the calling. It is in the authentic moments of acknowledged weakness that our calling is strengthened. It is in our frailty and failings that God is glorified, if in those moments we fall prostrate at His feet and take no pride in what He is accomplishing in and through us.
We were never chosen because we are all that. We were never chosen to be esteemed or to receive glory. We were chosen in His sovereignty and for His purposes. We may never understand why. Facing our failures is what enables us to see God’s purposes and plans for our lives fulfilled. That is what Jacob did, shaking in his boots (ok, maybe sandals), he went to face the one he had offended – because God said so. God was positioning Jacob (now Israel), where he wanted him to be.
Sometimes we want God’s calling to be comfortable, but instead sometimes He has us ministering before an unappreciative people, or encountering many roadblocks or discouragements along the way. Jacob understands. But in the midst of all the turmoil and drama, he became Israel. He answered the call and God was glorified by imperfect Jacob, scrappy and daring, but in the end a follower of the one true God. His pride became humility, His hope became God’s promises and His greatest joy was God. He was not defined by his failures, but by the great God He followed and who called Him.
Lord, help us to not focus on the calling, but on You, the One Who calls us. When we are discouraged or doubt Your ability to use us, help us to be obedient and to never tire of seeking your glory in our lives.