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Reflect and Know Who You Are

In Daily Devotional by Mark Buchanan

Theme of the Week: Assess Your Goals

Bible Verse: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17, ESV

Scripture Reading: Genesis 32:22-31

The story of Jacob in Genesis is, at one level, the story of a man always on the run: running from his angry brother, Esau, from his angry father-in-law, Laban. But mostly, running from himself. Jacob had never really met himself.

The defining moment of Jacob’s life was when he dressed in Esau’s clothes, slipped into his blind father, Isaac’s chamber, and stole from him Esau’s blessing.

Isaac asked Jacob, “Who is it?” And Jacob answered, “I am Esau.” He was lying. But maybe, as well, he really didn’t know. Did he know who he was? Was he able to face it?

But a night comes when Jacob is left alone. In the morning, he must face Esau. The terror of that encounter haunts him. But there is a worse terror to face than Esau, a more frightful encounter afoot. And then, with cool suddenness, a man steps into the ragged circle of firelight and grabs Jacob’s heel. Jacob is at first taken off guard. But he’s done this before, grappled and hung on for dear life.

And so the fight goes on, all through the night’s long darkness, until a gray light smolders at the earth’s far edge. It is a deadlock, this battle. So the man does violence with a single touch: he maims Jacob, plucks his hip from its socket. And then, pleading for his own sake, pleading for Jacob’s, the man says, “Let me go, for it is daybreak” (Gen. 32:26).

Jacob refuses. This is a fight like all the others. This is a fight like none other. This is a fight he cannot afford to lose, and a fight he cannot afford to win. This is a fight that can cripple him and mend him. It can end his exile and make good his homecoming, even if ever after he limps. But first a question: “The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’” (Gen. 32:27).

Who are you? Jacob can’t run, can’t hide, can’t fight any longer. “‘Jacob,’ he answered” (v. 27). And then a miracle happens, a miracle greater than the reconciliation about to take place between Jacob and Esau, a miracle that perhaps had to happen before that reconciliation was even possible. Jacob finds out who he really is.

Taken from The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. Copyright ©2006 by Mark Buchanan. Used by permission of Zondervan.


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About
Mark Buchanan
Mark Buchanan is a pastor, author, and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose University in Calgary, AB. His books include Your Church is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down.
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Mark Buchanan
Mark Buchanan is a pastor, author, and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose University in Calgary, AB. His books include Your Church is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down.