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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 5: Jacob – Encounters God


Genesis 32:22-32.

A relationship with God requires devotion and passion

What was Jacob doing wrestling with God? Why did Peter walk on water? Why did David dance before the Lord when he brought the Ark to Zion? Why did Mary pour that expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet? Because they all loved God and displayed their devotion in the only way they knew how at the time.

Of course, we remember that Jacob was the one who entered the scene grasping hold of Esau’s heel and so we would expect him to act that way. David was a worshipper so we can expect him to be a bit of an extremist. Peter was impulsive so he didn’t really think through the ramifications of his extravagance! And Mary was a woman!!!!

What did Jesus say to the woman at Sychar’s well? Now is the time when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth because they are the ones He is seeking. Not - those who ‘go through the motions’, those who focus on the ritual, those who are purely ‘mechanical’ or following a religion but - those who are in a ‘love’ relationship with God.

Those who have ‘found’ something worth living for. Those who follow Someone who is worth dying for. Those who have appropriated the love of God to such a degree that nothing will get in the way of their total submission to Him. Those who can ‘see’ that they have a purpose on this earth, which is worth moving heaven and earth to achieve.

Just as miracles follow obedience, so inexpressible joy follows irrepressible devotion!

Jacob was never the same after his encounter with God. Neither are we!

Jacob gained a new name – “Israel” and a ‘limp’ to go with it. The Name gave him status and approval; the limp gave him humility and dependence on God!

Have you got both, too?

Jacob would say to us today...

Don’t ‘play’ at Christianity. Be passionate about your relationship with God or you’ll miss the greatest privilege in the journey of life.


Father, please make me like Jacob, passionate in my relationship with You. Help me to never forget what it cost You to secure my forgiveness and salvation. Help me also remember that our relationship is not just for on earth but for eternity and that I need to develop it here so I enjoy it even more in Heaven. Amen.

Additional readings

Psalm 42:1-11; Revelation 3:-14-22; Mark 14:1-9.


Why do we need to be passionate in our relationship with God?

How do you reveal your passion for God?

What would it take to make you more passionate in your relationship with God?

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Sold Out For Jesus and Ring of Truth – daily devotionals by John White
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