This week’s message is a continuation of last week’s message. We’re all fishing for a blessing, and we all get a blessing, but the blessing is more than we bargained for—it’s not a small blessing.
Each, and all of us, are like Jacob, who is like Adam.
Jesus, and all things with him, is the Blessing.
Each of us has stolen the birthright and the blessing; it’s called sin. Each of us has fled to the far country; its where we spend our time. Each of us has tried to use knowledge of him to obtain his life; it’s called self-righteousness and more sin. And yet, he’s calling each of us home. And so, we find ourselves wrestling, for at the edge of Eden there is a Flaming Sword.
He’s wrestling the hell out of us and his kingdom into us; we’re all dying; we’re all wrestling for our lives . . . aren’t we?
We do wrestle against “principalities and powers,” but in the end there’s only one to fear, for “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto him”—the God/man; the Wrestler.
In 8th grade I hated wrestling more than anything in all the world. I joined the wrestling team to make a name for myself and prove that I was a man. Every time I wrestled, I got pinned. Last week I told you that, as a child, my favorite thing in all the world was wrestling . . . my Dad. Every time I “got pinned” he would bless me with his sloppy wet kisses. He gave me my name and made me a man.
Your Father wrestles you in at least three ways: the circumstances that happen all around you, his Word within you, and the God/man. And all of them are the work of the Word or the Word himself.
God speaks everything—all the circumstances—into existence with his Word. In Genesis 15:1 we meet the Word—a visible, walking, talking, living Word, a God/man, that promises to Abraham an heir and offspring (Seed) . . . like the stars of heaven.
In that day all words were rather “living,” for all words were necessarily spoken by living people and none could be written down, for the alphabet had not yet been invented. The alphabet was invented around the same time and same place that God wrote his Word in stone and handed it to Moses and told him to put it in a “coffin,” also translated, “Ark.” On top of the coffin he was instructed to make a “Mercy seat,” that was also a throne. It seems that the dead Word of God is the law and the Living Word of God is the Judge, having risen from his Coffin.
In John 1:14, we learn that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Scripture can be dead to you if all it is to you is ink on a page or laws in a book used to justify yourself and so steal the blessing from the Firstborn. But Scripture can also live in you, like a Seed that’s died in you and then come to life in you. Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken.”
Scripture is an invitation to wrestle the Word. The Word in you will help you wrestle the Word in Scripture. It’s the same guy; It’s Jesus. I can’t wrestle for you, but I can wrestle alongside of you and give you some tips, and even a few moves.
#1) Venture to believe that God wrote the Bible with broken people.
#2) Venture to believe all of it—the whole story—Beginning to End and the Way in between.
#3) Venture to believe God’s Judgment (Jesus) rather than your own judgment (me-sus).
#4) Venture to believe Jesus (the Logos, Meaning, and Plot), but doubt your own perception of space and time.
#5) Venture to believe that the Word is Alive; don’t look in the “coffin;” surrender to the One enthroned on the Mercy Seat above.
#6) Don’t read Scripture to change others (or yourself); surrender to the Word and let the Word use Scripture to change you and all things with you.
#7) Don’t cheat (Jacob); Be honest.
Be honest with Scripture and be honest with yourself. To be honest with Scripture, utilize various translations, the interlinear, the concordance, and commentaries (only after you, yourself, have wrestled).
Let’s say, you happen to read Joshua 10:40, “Joshua… devoted all that breathed to destruction (ESV).” And you think, “‘Joshua’ is Hebrew for ‘Jesus!’ And Jesus is the Plot to the story! And that doesn’t sound like Jesus!” Well… Don’t flee. Don’t cheat. Be honest. Wrestle. Try these moves:
In the interlinear you’ll find that “devote to destruction” is one word—”herem,” in Hebrew—which actually means something more like “devote to Yahweh.” And in the concordance, you’ll discover that “all nations (Isaiah 34:2)” are to be “devoted to Yahweh.” “All things” are devoted to Yahweh in Christ Jesus AND “all things” are made new through Yahweh in Christ Jesus—Beginning and End, the Plot: “Yahweh is Salvation.”
And Back to wrestling tip #7: Be honest with Scripture AND yourself, for each one of us must also to be “devoted.” We each must lose “our life” to find it—His life, the Blessing. You cannot receive the blessing if you think you have stolen the Blessing, earned the Blessing, or created the Blessing. The Blessing is Grace; it’s God and all things with him. And so, at the edge of the Promised Land we meet the Word, who is a flaming sword, who is the Truth. You cannot know the Truth until you’ve been made Truthful; until you are honest. But have courage because… #8.
#8) Remember who it is that you’re wrestling.
A friend, who prays for me and my sermon preparation, once heard this word from the Lord, “I love it when Peter wrestles with me, but too often he struggles instead. Both the wrestling, and the struggling, will make him tired, but the struggling makes him discouraged. The evil one wants him to be discouraged. I want Peter to wrestle with me and be filled with the same great joy I feel.”
When I read that, I knew just what it meant: I’m always wrestling my Dad, and the worst that can happen is that he’ll pin me down and cover me with his kisses—his Blessing. My Dad is your Dad; We have the same Dad.
He took bread and broke it saying, “This is my body given to you.” And he took the cup saying, “This is the covenant in my blood. Drink of it, all of you.” You’re wrestling for your life. And He’s wrestling to give you his own Life. You have a Good Dad. Don’t cheat. Don’t flee. Wrestle till you can no longer wrestle but can only beg him for the Blessing. And you will be blessed . . . with God and all things with him.