THE FIGHT CLUB

brain-vs-brawn

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Jacob. As a child I was so impressed with the story of Jacob and his epic fight with an Angel. If you look at the many things that lead up to this fight you will  first see a young man that received a blessing from his Father Isaac that was not intended for him. Now if you don’t know the story you should read up on it, don’t take my word for it. Jacob had a twin brother Esau, who was technically the first born. From the womb these siblings seemingly fought to be the first one out as if they knew about the benefits of being the first born with in the cultural context of the time. Scripture indicates that Esau was the more active brother engaging in hunting and more physically demanding activities. Jacob, on the other hand, is portrayed as the exact opposite. That being said, what Jacob lacked in brawn he made up with wit. The following versus will explain my points thus far

Genesis 25:

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.

30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

Now we see the wit in full force. One thing has to be stated, Jacob did not steal the birth right. Esau did not value it enough and willingly released his birth right. As you read along the story of the feuding siblings you will find that their father, Isaac, was advanced in age and decided to bestow his blessing to his eldest son before passing away. Isaac, who favored Esau, asked Esau to hunt and bring him a meal and he would then bless him with the favor of the Lord. Mom, Rebekah, favored Jacob and convinced Jacob to trick his, now blind, father and take the blessing from Esau. Here is the catch, besides the brain versus brawn, the twins had physical distinctions. Esau was hairy and Jacob was not. Rebekah and Jacobs plan was so thought out that in the end Isaac could not tell the difference and gave his blessing to Jacob.

The obvious reaction from Esau placed a target on Jacob and Jacob had to flee because . Jacob was now blessed and favored by God and though he had to go through some rough times, he ended up a man with much wealth but was always hiding from Esau. In addition to his fear of his brothers wrath, I believe that  Jacob felt guilt. Maybe it was because of the deception that caused him to run away or he never felt like his wealth and success was something he earned. We see this in Genesis 32 where Jacob tries to mend his relationship with his brother and on one fateful night he has a battle that would change his life thereafter. Jacob was blessed by God and his fathers blessing would come to fruition one way or another. Jacob knew he was blessed but this time he fought to earn it.

Genesis 32:

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 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. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

 Many times I feel like Jacob. I was born and raised in church and blessed by my parents. Sometimes I felt that I was the favored one in family and that put a lot of pressure on me growing up. I’ve had my share of slips and falls but God has seen me through and blessed me despite my shortcomings. The problem is that I feel that I am riding on my parents blessings for me, their prophetic declarations over my life since I was a child, but its time to earn it. When my father passed away almost 9 years ago some one told me “Wow you  have some big shoes to fill.” To some extent it was true my father was a great man. Didn’t have any wealth or titles but was a wise man, humble, and had a servant’s heart. A good friend heard the comment and told me “You don’t have big shoes to fill, your father ran what he had to run and has now hung up his shoes. You have your own shoes to fill and run with” (Thanks Moses)
I invite you to rise and fight for that blessing, that prophetic word given to you and your purpose revealed to you. If you have seen God provided and bless you until now then you can expect an overflow of his goodness, mercy, love, riches, grace and favor. God Bless you and may you enter 2014 ready to fight!
-Isai Serrano
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Bitter Water: The Curse and the Cross

Yesterday was Good Friday and I was reminded of the last 7 words spoken on the cross by Jesus. Some years ago I was asked to speak on one of these 7 and found a different perspective to the words

I THIRST

When Jesus spoke these words there could have been many reasons why. Clearly he had been beaten almost to death, forced to carry a heavy cross a long distance and then nailed to that same cross to hang before a crowd of accusers and mourners. Clearly he had physical stress and a desire to drink but I find that all the words he spoke had a resounding meaning that merged the The Old Testament, The New Testament, and our testimony. You see, when he spoke the words “I Thirst” he was given something to drink, bitter water. Now many theologians speak about the symbolism behind the bitter water and the traditional lamb sacrifice as well as other connections. I don’t refute any of it but found it quite interesting when I looked up bitter waters and came across the following versus. Now this is details the instructions for a man who believes that his wife has been unfaithful. Mind you this is during the time of Moses. The man would bring the woman to the high priest and you should read the rest:

NUMBERS 5

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

You see the bitter water was meant for us to drink. We were, have been, or may be unfaithful to God. Knowing that we would not pass the test of bitter water, He sent the only one who could, Jesus Christ. When Jesus spoke with the high priest of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemas, he told him

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’

Because Jesus proved his and our innocence by taking the bitter water we are now all given the opportunity to be born again through him. I hope you never forget the importance of his death and resurrection. Let this not be a one day event but instead celebrate his sacrifice and our new life in him with every breath we take. Blessing to you all!