Fear Drives Us to Our Knees (Fearless Living #6)
Genesis 32:9-12, NLT
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”
It is normal for us to call upon God in times of trouble. Jacob is our example here in this passage. He is in a very dangerous situation. Several years had passed since Jacob stole the birthright from his brother, Esau. Birthrights were precious in those days, and Esau vowed to kill Jacob for the evil he had done. Esau was a fighting man and had the mind and the means to win such a battle over his brother. Thus, Jacob had great reason to fear, especially when he heard his brother was headed his way with four hundred armed men. The tone of Jacob’s prayer is desperate, but the result of his prayer will be salvation and grace.
In times of fear, we will be forced to acknowledge these as times of prayer. Fear, no matter how we try to overcome it or bear it, will drive us to our knees, and bow us down before the only Person in the world who can save us. Jacob had his wives, children, and servants around him. Several chapters earlier, he had witnessed angels ascending and descending on a ladder to Heaven. But he did not turn to the angels or human companions to relieve his fear, he turned to God. God was his strong tower, and Jacob knew if he ran to Him, he would be saved.
We should notice in Jacob’s prayer that He believed in the power of God to deliver him from his predicament. He prays, “O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau.” This is a very blunt, direct request. Jacob is pleading at the throne of grace for God to deliver him. Likewise, when we face insurmountable situations, we can plead at the throne of grace for God to deliver us. When people aim to destroy us and situations seek to overwhelm us, we can take comfort in knowing that God the Father sits on the throne of Heaven and will deliver us if we believe in His power.
We see in this prayer also that we often meet trouble on the very road God has called us to travel. Jacob prayed, “O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.'” Jacob did what God commanded him by returning to his land, and he reminds God of His promises to him and his forefathers. Although God does not need us to remind Him of anything, it is often good to speak God’s Word back to Him in prayer. For it reminds us of His promises and reassures us that God keeps His Word. When we face trouble, we often think we have done something wrong, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, we face trouble in the form of a test for God to see if we’re going to stay on the path He has called us to or give up. If we are careful to follow God’s guidance no matter what, He will be sure to keep us safe from harm.
Finally, we see that Jacob’s prayer reveals his humility. He acknowledges his unworthiness to receive any help from God. He says, “I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant.” Sure, we can agree that Jacob had earned the trouble he was in. Instead of beating himself up over something he could not now change, he decided it was best to humble himself before God and let Him work it out. When we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, we should remember the goodness of the Lord and humbly seek His face for deliverance. We will find that when we feel the most unworthy of the favor and mercy of God, we are best prepared for it and in the greatest position to receive it.
The problems we face in life should drive us to remember God’s promises. When trouble is all around us, we may not have the strength to fight, the ability to defend ourselves, or the time to get a lawyer. The fear of what might happen can cripple us. In these times, however, we are in the best position to drop to our knees, call out to God, and receive His love, deliverance, and grace.
Lord, we thank You for the example of Jacob — a trickster — who learned the lesson of humility and the blessing of trusting You. We are never far from trouble in this world so it would behoove us to learn these same lessons. Help us not always to seek to run in the opposite direction at the first sign of trouble, but to run instead to You as our strong tower and deliverer. Though we are unworthy, we are thankful for Your everlasting love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.