Day 2: Vayishlach/Genesis 32:13-32
YHVH reminds His people that He desires them to reason with Him. He wants His people to present their case before the Father. If man only went to the adversary to present their side, the adversary would have an increasingly easy time deceiving humanity. All he would have to do is continually say “You’re right.” Sounds sort of like a liberal trying to get their way…
YHVH is not a yes man. He is faithful to tell us when we are wrong or when we have errors in our thinking. But we have to seek His face and presence in our lives (not for initial contact, but to remain in His presence). To assume we are in a righteous state when coming to Him is just as arrogant as presuming upon Him that He will simply do as we say or ask. This is where a struggle ensues, not a struggle of will, but a struggle of losing one’s own will to gain YHVH’s will and favor.
Yacov had to endure such struggles, even to the eve of re-entry to the Promised Land. It is the same type of struggles and sifting observed when the children of Israel circumnavigate the wilderness for forty years.
A major difference between Yacov and Israel is revealed before wrestling at Peniel and post-wrestling. Before, Yacov had lived in the land with his parents who had made Elohim their Elohim, sent out to sojourn in a different nation, determine what lifestyle he would keep, and then come back to the edge of the Land. After his wrestling, Yacov re-entered the Promised Land with the wealth of the nations, but not their gods. The wife who had taken their gods died shortly afterward. He had learned of YHVH through personal encounters and, upon crossing back over the Jordan, had made Elohim his own personal Elohim, in contrast to identifying YHVH with his parent’s spiritual relationship.
This could give rise to a better understanding of YHVH’s description of people in the Prophets when He calls them Yacov (Jacob) in some places and Israel in others.
Being called and named Israel is by the voice and unction of YHVH Elohim and comes through Messiah. Yacov himself did not call Elohim his personal Elohim until after he wrestled with Him—a pre-incarnate Yeshua. Up to that point, Elohim always seemed a bit more distant in relationship, regarded by Yacov as the Elohim of his father Abraham and the Elohim of his father Isaac. It is the personal encounters, the maturation time, the times in jubilee when praise is given, and times in distress when worship and prayer are offered that begins to define one who is called Israel.
Yacov had already endured many trials and testing in his life. He had wrestled with man and Elohim and prevailed. This did not mean that it was a “smackdown” contest where only Yacov rose from the canvas and was pronounced the winner. Instead, Yacov had overcome the obstacles man and Elohim had a place in front of him and was willing to hold on to Elohim until the blessing came. Yacov would not let go and fought for the ongoing righteous, upright, and complete character traits found in YHVH and which had defined himself, as well.
Have you heard the voice of Elohim calling you by a new name as of late?
To be called Israel is to wrestle, to hold on, and to prevail by knowing what is right, recognizing the character of Elohim, and not letting go until He blesses you.
Being Hebrew is to cross over, but that is simply not enough to be redeemed. That label speaks well of ancestry and heritage. Being Hebrew signifies a genetic line through Noach and Shem, and possibly through Abraham, Isaac and Yacov; yet, that single word or identifier does not hold a guaranty for eternal life with YHVH.
Being Israel, on the other hand, does. Only the one who is called out, chosen, follows, obeys, and knows the Way, Truth and Life in this day is called Israel or an Israelite (not to be confused with Israeli). This is not depicting a geo-political state or power, genetic markers, or what religion a mother was. In other words, being Israel is not about being Jewish or just taking up an ethnicity. It’s about belonging to YHVH—being His possession. When YHVH calls you Israel, he is defining you as His bride that has or is being made ready for Himself, one who keeps Covenant through Messiah.
When one wrestles with YHVH, it leaves marks and signs of struggle. They are not easily overcome, nor are they to be taken for granted. Each wrangling, each hold, and each crossing over point we come to has the opportunity to grow us in the Father and to further our relationship with the Creator.
To be Israel is to be one who crosses over, struggles, overcomes, and receives the blessing. To be Israel is to be one with Messiah and to gain His Life because of the loss of our own. To be Israel is a Covenant relationship from which there is no turning back, lest there be dire consequences.
Being Israel is overcoming the struggles so as to choose Life, Yeshua our Messiah, no matter what the cost.
Dwell upon Isaiah 1:18, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says YHVH, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.'”