Friday, April 7, 2017

Community News 4/7/17


“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

In Genesis 32, Jacob had wrestled all night with a man, who was actually God. Genesis 32:27 says, “The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered” (NIV).

What a strange request. God obviously knew Jacob’s name. Whenever God asks you a question, it’s never for his benefit. He already knows the answer!

The reason he asked this was that he wanted Jacob to admit what he was. In ancient times, names were chosen for their meaning, not for how nice they sounded. So you could be named after a profession like a baker or a carpenter or a smith. You could be named after a relative or you could be named for the situation you were in. Jabez was named “painful” because he came in a painful birth.

But parents mostly named their kids based on their character. When people said their name, they were telling someone what kind of person they were.

Jacob’s name means “deceiver.” And — oh boy — did he live up to his name! His entire life he lied to get out of many situations and one conflict after another because he was a deceiver. He was a manipulator. When God asked Jacob what his name was, he wanted him to own up to who he was.

Here’s the cool thing about it. When Jacob says, “I am Manipulator,” God was not shocked. He didn’t say, “You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m fighting with a manipulator? How did I miss that? I didn’t see that one coming.” God already knew everything bad about Jacob, just like he already knows everything bad about you — even the stuff you don’t know about yourself.

The Bible says in Malachi 1:2, “I have loved Jacob.” I like that verse because it gives me hope. If God loved Jacob who was so unlovable, who was such a manipulator, who was such a scoundrel, who was such a crook, who was such a liar — then God can love someone like me, too.

If you want lasting change in your life, you have to stop making excuses and rationalizing and blaming others for your brokenness. You have to be honest with God and with yourself and admit in humility, “I am the problem.”

How does God respond to our brokenness? The Bible says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
·       What do you think God wants you to admit about yourself so that you can move forward in healing?
·       Why is it so difficult to be honest with God, even when you know he already knows everything about you?
·       What are the parts of yourself that you think are unlovable? Talk to God about those weaknesses today, and ask him for help to accept his unconditional love and let it change you.

Adapted From: