For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror (the Torah). For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Jacob may have inherited the promises made to Abraham but nervertheless, he had to come clean before being mightily blessed by the Almighty. He had to face up his lies by meeting Esau; come to term with his own demons before meeting the angels on the way to the Promised Land (Genesis 32-33).
These chapters may speak to us about the struggle Israel faces today as it returns to the Promised Land after a long exile ‘Babylon’, but it also tells us about our own lives.
As believers in Yeshua the Messiah, each one of us inherits a share of the elements of the promises made to Abraham. The fact that we are inheritors though doesn’t mean that we are not asked to ‘work out this ‘salvation’ in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). We may be allegeable, but we still have to show our worthiness. This does not come in the form of ‘works’ in order to deserve the blessings, but as a statement of integrity, like an entrance exam after being found allegeable to enter the university.
Grant it, life is a fight, life is a struggle, and there is no way around it. But if we are to labor, may we labor for that ‘meat which does not perish’ (John 6:27). If we are going to contend, may we contend for the incorruptible price, for that crown of life Hashem has promised to them who love Him (James 1:12). If we are going to be soldiers, may we fight for that City that has foundations, whose Designer and Builder is Hashem (Hebrews 11:10).
Can we stand with Jacob and meet the Angel of the Lord in our lives? Can we meet He who puts us face to face with the lies we’ve ignored for so long, with the rationalizations that make us deny His Name daily in front of others through disobedience? Can we stand Him to bless us by crippling our pride forever, change our name and truly make us a new creature, not fashioned after the pride we so dearly hold on to, but after the meekness of those who inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)?
Jacob had to learn not to hold and a grudge; do you hold a grudge/grudges? Jacob had to learn to forgive his enemy; do you forgive your enemy/ennemies? Jacob had to learn to solely rely on God for vindication; do you try to vindicate yourself in front of others?
We are always so concerned about straightening up others that we forget that our primary duty is to be faced daily with the Word of Torah, that we may learn to be fashioned according to the ways of God. May we accept what this Word tells us. May we allow It to even cripple us for life, take our pride and arrogance away, that we may inherit the eternal price.