A Graduate from the School of Hard Knocks

A Graduate from the School of Hard Knocks

Jacob lived on the edge. He struck when the opportunity was ripe without considering anyone else’s interest or welfare. His deception forced others to step between him and the blood-thirsty victim of his trickery. Even God came to Laban in a dream and warned him not to touch Jacob!

It’s encouraging to see someone like Jacob, whose relationship with God seemed to be overcast, suddenly transform as if the sunlight of faith burned through the mist. Think about the examples of his grandfather and father whenever there was a famine. Abraham and Isaac immediately descended into Egypt and lied about their wives. You see the sunbeams of good judgment peak through the clouds for Jacob because, unlike his predecessors, he avoided going down to Egypt personally. Only his sons were permitted to go down to buy food so their families would not starve to death. Does Jacob lose his senses when he hears Joseph has invited him to live in Egypt? Think about how much Jacob wanted to see his son, yet he showed restraint. Jacob journeyed through Beersheba “and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac” (Genesis 46:1). He actually desired to know God’s will in this matter! Is this the same Jacob?

At the end of Genesis 47, Jacob acknowledged God’s sovereignty with a simple gesture. After giving his last wishes to Joseph, “Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head” (Genesis 47:31). Decades earlier, a young Joseph intimated a recent dream to his family where the stars, moon, and sun made obeisance to him. The family sneered at such insolence! Now, at the end of his life, Jacob realizes it was God’s plan and humbly accepts the handiwork of God.

Even after his death, Jacob directed his children and grandchildren to look forward to the day they would return to Canaan. Jacob definitely learned in the school of hard knocks, and he eventually graduated from such adolescent foolishness. He began to discern God’s mighty provision and masterful direction in his life.

How about your life? Has it been a little like a bumper car? You’ve arrived where you are but you have many bumps and bruises to show for it. It’s never too late to change the way you rely on God. If someone like Jacob could change then there is hope for us all.

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