Do you know the story of Jacob? It is found in the Bible, starting with Genesis 25. Here are a few highlites from his life.

Jacob was the son of Abraham, and the twin brother of Esau. Jacob was a scoundrel during the early years of his life. The first thing he did (that is recorded) was to take advantage of his twin brother when he was hungry. He made Esau trade his birthright for a tasty stew! Later, Jacob deceived his aging, blind father into granting him the father's final blessing, which Isaac had meant for Esau. Esau, of course, was furious at his scheming brother, and Jacob fled for his life. During his flight, one night he had a vision. God's angels were descending from heaven on flights of stairs. This was the first time Jacob knew that God had plans for him.

He went on his journey to Haran, the land of his ancestors. There he lived with his uncle, Laban, for 20 years. There Jacob met his match in craftiness. (Runs in the family!)

Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Laban's beautiful younger daughter. He promised to work for Laban for 7 years for her. Laban tricked him into marying Leah, the older unattractive daughter. Then he had to work another seven years so he could get Rachel!

Still he kept on with his trickery. Finally, he decided to take his family and go back to Palestine. On the journey there,he once again encountered an angel. This one was really something. The two of them had a wrestling match! Guess who won? The angel, of course. But Jacob hung on to him until the angel gave him a blessing. He was also given a new name, Israel. This name meant he was a person who had persevered (hung-on or endured) with the Lord.

After Jacob arrived in Palestine he made peace with his brother and settled down to live quietly.He became the father of 12 sons.These 12 were the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. From them came all the people of the Jewish nation.

When a severe famine occurred in his old age, Jacob moved with the rest of the family to Egypt where his son, Joseph could take care of him. He died there and was buried with honors by his sons. He had changed from the young scoundrel he had been, to a man loved and respected by many.

Are you a scoundrel? A sneaky, dishonest person? God is wrestling with you to change. You may not see an angel like Jacob did. But if you will let Him, God will do the same kind of work on you that He did on Jacob. You, too, can become the person GOD wants you to be and you will be respected, loved and honored.

[ by: Helen Traver -- from John Traver ]


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