By Cheryl Stanton
Jacob becomes aware that Laban and his sons are no longer happy to have Jacob around because they believe he has stolen from them, for their flocks were weaker than the flocks belonging to Jacob. He received instruction from God to return to his home. Jacob consulted his wives and all three agreed to leave. Both Leah and Rachel felt Laban had used the inheritance which they believed should have come to them and so there was a bitterness in their hearts and a self righteousness that what Jacob had managed to gather as livestock and possessions whilst employed by Laban, was actually theirs as part of their inheritance. Jacob did not let Laban know he was leaving, he just packed up and left. However Rachel took the household idols belonging to her brother, and hid them among her possessions. Perhaps she wanted a reminder of her fathers house, something of an inheritance which she felt she had not received.
Laban is told Jacob has left and three days have passed. Laban pursued them but God interacts with Laban and tells him to careful “that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad” (verse 24), thus be aware of protocol. Jacob explained that he was fearful Laban would keep Leah and Rachel from leaving with Jacob, which was reasonable, given the history between Laban and Jacob. Then Laban asks for the idols which had been stolen. Jacob is not aware of Rachels theft and says Laban could search and whomever had them should not be allowed to live. Laban searched through the camp but did not find them.
Then Jacob asks for the members of family who had come with Laban to judge the issues between Laban and Jacob. Jacob brought these charges against Laban:
- Nothing in my possessions belong to Laban. Even though you searched you did not find anything that belonged to you.
- You have pursued us but not brought the evidence of wrong doing.
- Jacob served Laban for twenty years, looked after the flocks belonging to Laban, without stealing or eating from them.
- If any were killed by animals or died, Jacob took the loss on himself, either through loss of wages or loss of one of his own herd.
- Of those 20 years, 14 years had been for Leah and Rachel as his wives.
- Jacob believed that if he had not fled, Laban would have sent him away empty handed.
Laban’s response is very interesting. Laban believed all that Jacob owned actually belonged to Laban, including Leah, Rachel and their maidservants and children. He does not respond to Jacobs charges, and it seems evident that Laban believed that everything belonged to him anyway so the hardship, the labour of Jacob was not an issue or significant in Laban’s view. However, the warning of God was resounding in Laban’s ears and he called for a memorial to be built as a covenant and a witness between them.
Jacob and his family gathered stones and made a heap and they ate there on the heap. Laban called the place ‘Jegar Sahadutha’ – Hebrew concordance H3026 ‘Yegar Sahaduwtha’ which means ‘testimony, witness heap, record’. Jacob called this place ‘Galeed’ – Hebrew concordance H1567 ‘Gal’ed’ which means ‘witness heap’ and its root word means ‘a heap used in ratifying a covenant’.
The agreement set in this covenant was that God would watch them both in their parting and their lives apart from each other. The sense was that neither one would do the other party harm. Laban also asked for the covenant to record God would watch over the wives and children and no other wives would be brought into this family circle. They all ate together, sealed the covenant and left at peace with each other.
On his way back to his home, Jacob saw two angels and he called the place Mahanaim. The word in Hebrew concordance is H4366 ‘Machanayim’ which means ‘two camps, a double camp or the camp of the armed host of heaven’.
Out of this encounter Jacob has strategy and he sent messengers to his brother with and the messengers had a very specific message, which in essence was there was no risk to Esau, and would Esau grant them favour. In other words, Jacob had not returned to war or take what did not belong to him. Jacob’s heart is certainly very different to when he left.
The servants returned with the message that Esau was on his way with four hundred men. Jacob was very afraid. He divided his camp into two sections in the hope that if Esau attacked, one section of his family would survive. Jacob prayed to the God of his father Abraham and Isaac and reminded the Lord of the instruction given to Jacob to return to his family God would be with Jacob. Jacob intercedes with God for his family, and recognized that he is not worthy of the mercies God has shown him. Jacobs pleads for mercy and is holding the covenant that God made before them. Jacob understood that God would act upon His word, what God had said not just because of Jacob, for Jacob knew his unrighteous behaviour had caused this rift between Esau and himself. He had no righteousness before God in this situation.
Then Jacob sent out three herds in groups with the servants to present them to Esau as a gift and Jacob remained in the camp by himself. He sent his wives and children over the river of Jabbok and put them into two camps.
It is here that Jacob wrestled or grappled with an angelic being until daybreak his name changed from Jacob to Israel. Jacob called this place ‘Peniel’ which means ‘face of God’. When Jacob asked the angel to bless him, the angel first asked Jacob to identify himself, and then the angel gave him his new identity. Did the angel not know who he was wrestling with, of course not. He wanted Jacob to understand there had been a wrestling through to victory, something had been overcome and changed. Jacob’s hip had been damaged and the hip is about the walk, about birthing and the womb. Thus in a sense, the walk of Jacob had been changed, what he originally birthed through his hearts desires had been changed, what he had carried in his womb was changed and his name had been changed. Jacob H3290 ‘ya’aqob’ means ‘heel holder or supplanter’. The root word H6117 ‘aqab’ means ‘to supplant, hold back, circumvent, assail insidiously’. The name Israel H3478 ‘Yisra’el’ means ‘God prevails’. The root of this word is about contending with a mighty one, or an angel or someone of might and strength.
This is something I believe the Lord was highlighting to me about the name change – when I am born again, there is a name, identity, image on me of the ownership of principalities and powers. I am corrupted and defiled in my heart but my spirit is born again. I need to wrestle with the Lord and with my fleshly soulish desires to overcome the iniquities and sin. The wrestling is not of my strength but is part of the repenting and wrestling we do with our cries for mercy, deliverance, sanctification processes which produce different lifestyles and holiness being formed in us, as we are being changed by the power of the Blood of the Lamb, the power of the Cross of Calvary, the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. What we used to be, our identity, who we were should be progressively changing as we are being transformed into the righteousness and holiness of Christ.
Revelation 2:17 NASB “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
Father, I come to repent before You, for myself and all my generations on my father and mother’s bloodlines all the way back to Adam. How many times Lord have You watched us take what is not belonging to us, taking inheritances, family heirlooms, idols of worship, whatever we believed we were owed or should belong to us. We hid them and thought we had gotten away with our theft and lies. But all these times were recorded and stand as a testimony against us today. Father, I say I am guilty, my family is guilty, we have lied and stolen what does not belong to us, these items had not been given to us, our sense of entitlement and arrogance is a problem Lord. I repent for my arrogance, my self righteousness, my sense of entitlement Lord. This is an abominable stench before You. It says to You I am my own provider and I will do whatever I think is right in my own eyes. God, have mercy on me and my family. We are corrupt and wicked before You. All the times we did this and there were curses proclaimed over the thieves which we did not take seriously. We had disdain for the results of our wickedness and people have died because of this wickedness in us. Lord, I am guilty, my family is guilty and I come to repent for we have done this against You first and foremost and against others. The curses which operate in our lives have a legal right to do so and today I come to repent for having no fear of the Living God. Lord, please have mercy, may the Blood of Jesus Christ speak on our behalf today. Please wash me, wash my genetics Lord, wash this wickedness of my generations in Jesus name. Holy Spirit, speak to me about whatever needs to be made right in Jesus name. Father, I come to take responsibility for myself and my family generationally where we built memorials of peace and made covenants with other families, other tribes and other nations and we did not honour those covenants and memorials. Firstly, if the memorial and covenant of peace had been set by You, then we have sinned against You primarily and against those whom we had a covenant with. Father, I repent for breaking these covenants and these memorials are witnesses against us before You Lord. There is a record demanding justice against us and we are guilty Father and I come before You to say it is me, I have done this and I ask for mercy and forgiveness Lord. All the bloodshed, the murders, killings which took place because we did not respect the covenant with You and the clans, I say I am guilty Lord. I have no hope or recourse unless mercy is given through the Blood of Christ who would speak on my behalf. Please Lord, may the voice of these memorials be silenced under the Blood of Jesus and may I and my generations be cleansed of this iniquity in Jesus name. Lord, help us to be very careful about what we covenant with and why. Lord, may we be given the Fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom. Lord we need your wisdom in Jesus name.
Secondly, Father, every memorial and covenant we made which was unrighteous in Your eyes, yet we forged these covenants for our own benefit and they carry curses against us and those curses have legal right to us because we have transgressed in this manner. I repent for all my wicked covenants made with whomever, whatever nation, tribe, clan and family. If the covenant is not of God, then it is against God. I repent and say I am guilty, my family is guilty. God have mercy on us. All the bloodshed and wickedness demanded by the memorial altars of these covenants, I repent Lord for feeding them and dishonouring You again and again. Please Lord Jesus, wash me, wash my generations with Your Blood and silence these memorials by the power of the Blood of Jesus in Your precious name Lord. I say to these memorials, I refuse to work with You, I refuse to serve You, I belong to Jesus Christ, the Cross of Calvary is the Memorial I belong to, the altar I belong to through my Saviour Jesus Christ, who died for me and has fully purchased me. So anything in me which belongs to these memorials, I give it up, I lay it all down Lord and please send your fire and burn it up in Jesus name. I want to come into a covenant of peace with You Father, through Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace, in Jesus name.
Lord, I come to repent for myself and my generations all the way back to Adam, where we believed we did not need to wrestle or work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We were happy to have Jesus who did it all and then Jesus would just fix everything and we would continue in our old patterns of living and thought life. Thank you Father, that You have made it possible for us to wrestle, repent, be changed, be transformed, be developed in Christ back to your image and purpose. What an incredible mercy Lord. Thank you for not giving up on us, for changing us. Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life, every place I limp because of encounters with You, I am grateful Lord for it is the mark of Your mercy, it is the mark of being changed through Christ and I am very very grateful for that in Jesus name. Where I have refused to change, held onto my ways, my identity, my thoughts and would not allow You to strip me, change me, please Lord, forgive me for my hardheartedness, my sense of self justification, entitlement, belief that I am actually okay and don’t need to be changed. What a lie from the pit of hell! I desperately need You Lord, I desperately need to be washed, cleansed, made righteous in Your righteousness Lord. Please Lord, do not give up on me, do not give up on my generations Lord. Grant us mercy, change us Lord and keep transforming us through the power of your Son’s sacrifice until we have become fully formed into the measure of your Son, to be presented back to You without spot or blemish.
Thank you for Your mercy Father, Your grace towards us. We are so grateful that You are who You are.