Welcome to today's encouragement from Our Daily Bread. Our reading titled Stolen Gods was written by Tim Gustafson. A carved wooden figure, a household god, had been stolen from a woman named Akua, so she reported it to the authorities.
Believing they had found the idol, law enforcement officials invited her to identify it. Is this your god, they asked? She said sadly, no, my god is much larger and more beautiful than that. People have long tried to give shape to their concept of deity, hoping for a handmade god to protect them. Perhaps that's why Jacob's wife Rachel stole her father's household gods as they fled from Laban in Genesis 31. But God had his hand on Jacob, despite the idols hidden in his camp.
Later on that same journey, Jacob wrestled all night with a man. He must have understood this opponent was no mere human because at daybreak, Jacob insisted, I will not let you go unless you bless me. The man renamed him Israel, meaning God fights, and then blessed him. Jacob called the spot Peniel, meaning face of God, because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. This god, the one true god, is infinitely larger and more beautiful than anything Akua could have ever imagined. He can't be carved, stolen, or hidden. Yet, as Jacob learned that night, we can approach him.
Jesus taught his disciples to call this god, our father in heaven. Today's Our Daily Bread devotional scripture reading is from Genesis chapter 31 verses 19 through 21 and chapter 32 verses 22 through 30. When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods. Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead. And now picking up at chapter 32 verse 22. That night, Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons and crossed the fort of the Jabach.
After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak. But Jacob replied, I will not let you go unless you bless me. The man asked him, What is your name? Jacob, he answered. Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome. Jacob said, Please tell me your name. But he replied, Why do you ask my name? Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, understanding how big and powerful You are is far beyond our ability to comprehend. Even comparing You to our universe is like comparing a single drop of water to a great ocean. It's humbling, then, to realize that You love and know each of us so intimately. Thank You, Lord, for the immeasurable gift of knowing You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-09 20:39:11 / 2023-05-09 20:41:01 / 2