“I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
Genesis 32:24-30 tells one of the more peculiar stories of the Bible. God, in the form of a man, shows up and wrestles with Jacob… all – night… as in, from very nearly sundown to very nearly sun up. It says that when God saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, He (cheats), touches Jacobs’s hip, and pops it out of socket. Then in verse 26 He says, “Let me go, it’s almost dawn.”, because even with a dislocated hip, Jacob was still not giving up. So that is how Jacob’s response becomes the centerpiece of this devotional…
“Not until you bless me.”
I have checked my other devotionals written so far, and for the most part the largest majority of bible verses come at the end. This time however, I believe front loading them will paint a more appropriate picture, because, this devotionals focus is not on an ending, but what happens before.
Luke 11:5-8 (Jesus)
If you had a friend, and went to him in the middle of the night, and said,
“I have a surprise visitor that’s arrived!
Please give me some bread, because I have none, and can’t be caught having nothing to offer a guest!”
He would likely say, “Go away! Isn’t it obvious that my house is closed up?
My children are sleeping next to me in bed. I can’t get up to get you anything.”
But, if you were to continue to ask, then, not because you are his friend, but because of your persistence, he would get up to give you everything you asked for.
Luke 18 2-5 (Jesus)
There was a judge that did not respect people or God.
There was also a widow that continually pressed this judge to grant justice for her against an enemy.
For a while, he ignored her, and did nothing. Then, after a time he said to himself,
“I couldn’t care less what other people might say, and I don’t even care what God may expect of me, but before this widow causes me constant trouble with her incessant pleadings, I will give her justice.”
Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd followed.
Along the way there was also a blind man that everyone knew, sitting by the road begging.
When he found out that the crowd was because of none other than Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”
The crowd scolded him, and told him to be quiet.
He only cried out more passionately, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!”
Then, Jesus stopped, and ordered that the man be brought to Him.
Then they said, “Calm down. Get up, He has called for you.”
So the blind man cast off his cloak, got up and came to Jesus.
Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
He responded, “Teacher, I want to be able to see.”
Jesus said to him, “Then go. Your faith has worked.
At that moment, the man was able to see, and he followed Jesus.
A woman who was not an Israelite called out to Jesus,
“Have mercy on me! Lord! Son of David! My daughter is possessed by a demon!”
Jesus said nothing, and his disciples urged Him,
“Tell her to go away. She keeps crying out after us.”
Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Then the woman caught up to Jesus, fell at his feet worshiping him saying,
“Lord! Help me!”
Jesus said to her,
“It is not good to take food meant for the children, and throw it away to the little dogs.”
Then the woman said to Him,
“Yes Lord, but, even the little dogs get the crumbs that fall from their masters table.”
So then Jesus said,
“Woman! Your faith is great! You will have your desire.”
Her daughter was healed that same hour.
What are you praying for?
How long have you prayed?
Do you think your prayers are being ignored?
Do you feel God has called you a little dog?
Have others, tired of your calling out, told you to be quiet?
That. Does not. Mean. You stop.
Immediately before it begins, the parable in Luke chapter 18 is introduced by the verse that says, “Jesus told them a parable about always praying, and never giving up hope.”
Do you know, or did you notice what the parable in Luke chapter 11 is sandwiched in-between? Before it comes the disciples asking, “Teach us how to pray.”, and the Lord’s Prayer, and, after? One of the most famous of all bible passages, beginning with, “Ask, and it will be given to you.”
The four sections of the Bible that began this devotional are comprised of two parables; two examples of asking, and at first not getting what was asked for, then the next two sections, that are in my opinion much more sobering, two actual real life demonstrations of persistence, one of which has Jesus directly ignore and give harsh resistance to the petitioner.
With those examples in mind, I need to bring things to a close on two points.
The first is, that I am intensely opposed to prosperity theology. I do not want anyone who considers my thoughts to come to the false belief that there is a 100% guarantee that if they are just more persistent, God will give in, and give them what they ask.
Do not forget, or, choose to ignore, that Paul, after praying three times that God would grant him his request, was told by God, “No. My grace is all you need, because My strength is revealed in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9
Then, most profound of all, remember Jesus, praying in the garden, with such intensity He sweat blood, “Let this cup pass from me.” and “Not my will, but Your will be done.” (Luke chapter 22)
God even told Himself, “No.”
That is the first point, this now is the second, and last, the whole point to this devotional.
You can still keep asking.
In the case of the woman with the demon possessed daughter, the response Jesus gave at first could hardly be more dismissive. However, she only made her plea again.
It is true. God can say, “No.”, then, we can just ask again, and, God can say “No.” again, and then we can just ask again, and again…and again. For who knows the mind of God? As long as we petition, God may yet show mercy, and grant us our request. For as long as we live, there is potential while hoping in the compassion of God. I don’t know about you, but, for me personally, I very much intend to take this on in life the same way Jacob did.
This is why when I struggle with God, even if He has me pinned…immobilized…with my face in the dirt, when He tells me, “Its time to stop wrestling.”, My response will be…
…”Not until You bless me.”
Mark Vincent Vicari †
I have recorded audio versions of this, and my other devotionals, in formats that both do, and do not have background music. They can be listened to at…
I am an author, theologian and philosopher
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Please note – If Bible verses are not specifically noted as being taken directly from the King James Version, I paraphrase all Bible verses that I use. The primary reason for this is in putting a verse into my own words I clearly expose how I read and understood the verse myself. Please always take the time to compare my understanding of a verse with the verse itself from your preferred translation of the Bible.
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