God has been helping to me to understand more about the bible. Where did the Israelites come from?
To understand this, you have to go to Gen 32. Jacob, the son of Isaac has been blessed by God. He now has two wives, eleven sons, and many domestic animals. He then decides to flee from his Uncle Laban (Genesis 31) whose attitude towards him has changed. You can see Jacob is not happy, he is scared; he then asks him, ‘What is my crime? What sin have I committed that you hunt me down?
God (Yahweh) says to him, ‘Go back to your country; a land of your father and relatives, and I’ll be with you.’
When you read the whole the story, you get to understand that before Jacob came to live with his Uncle Laban, he was running away from problems at home, for he had an issue with his brother who didn’t like him.
I think every human being can relate to this. For we all try to run from problems; in many cases, people move from one place to another. Many people run away from marriages, and they give a reason why. Some run away from their countries, (I can relate to this) and give a reason why they’re doing it.
As mentioned in the previous posts, God Almighty sees all our reasonings in everything we do. So, Jacob has given his reason why he didn’t want to go back, for his scared of his brother; he says, ‘I’m afraid he’ll attack me.’
God who has been watching him all along, wants him to deal with his brother; so, he makes sure that Jacob meets his brother Esau. God knew his brother was not going to attack him, for he wanted to reconcile and put matters behind him.
Before this happens, Jacob had to deal with his faith. He prays a lot, and then gets scared. He thinks the worst is going to happen, even though God has told him, if he goes back, he’ll bless him.
He still struggles, he talks to his servants, wives and children; once they sense his fears and distress, they get scared too. He then sends his messengers to his brother to somehow do a bit of spying on him. They came back with a message, that his brother is on his way with four hundred men to meet him (vs 6). When Jacob heard this, he is all over the place. He gets scared even more, and prays again, ‘Please God save me from my brother.’ After that, he decides to divide the people who were with him into two groups, and the animals as well; he then sends them in different directions, for he thinks, if his brother attacks one group, at least the other one will be saved. Soon afterwards, he sends his herds men, and flocks ahead of him, after instructing the leader what to say.
At night, he sets up another plan; took his possessions, including his family, the maid and servants, and sent them across the river. After sending them he is left alone. When he was on his own, and it is dark, he reflects even more about his life and faith. The more he thinks, the more worried he became.
God, on the other hand, after giving him time to think, he intervenes and acts, to get him out of his self-pity. He then sends a man (maybe an angel, I don’t know) to wrestle with him physically. I can imagine this wrestling match, which probably involved being pinned down on the ground, arms and legs twisted. (normally a wrestling match doesn’t involve punches) Anyway, this goes on for the rest of the night; Jacob gets an injury on his hip in the end. When the morning appears, the man says, ‘Let me go, it is day break.’ (day break means a new beginning, the struggle is gone, and wrestling means, the struggle of life, or problems) After that, he gives him a new name, ‘Israel’ which means an overcomer. (people of God) Gen. 32:8
This name is significant to people of God, as you know, Jesus was a Jew, from the tribe of Judah, which is part of Israel clan. Jesus overcame a huddle, and it was painful. When a person develops faith through Jesus Christ, they also become spiritual Israelites – and that means they become overcomers, so they don’t face the wrath of God. The bible mentions the natural Israelites – these are descendants of Jacob; (from the twelve sons of Jacob, a race of people was formed – God used them though out the Old Testament) However, those who are not connected to Jacob naturally are called Gentiles. But God Almighty is now only interested in those who are saved through Christ, for through Jesus, people of God are formed. Why through Jesus Christ? Because a human cannot attain purity (blameless) God requires without Jesus Christ. The scripture says, ‘Salvation is found in one one else, for there’s no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12
The story ends happily; after the wrestling match his faith gains strength, he was more positive, his fears subsided, he had courage and his mind was at peace. On his way back he met his brother, who offered peace and wished him well. And when he went back to his country, he was blessed even more. God who created us knows every detail of our being. He allows a problem to get our attention.
The story of Jacob has a message behind it, which every Christian (children of God) will encounter to test their faith. Wrestling with God affects all true Christians, sometimes a person may feel stressed out about a problem. But a person who perseveres through trials, when they keep their faith and righteousness in Christ will be saved.
But what about those who are not in Christ; the bible says, they will wrestle with Satan. As we all know, no one is exempt from problems (physical pain, spiritual pain – heart break, disappoints, betrayals, rejection, persecutions; financial pain, family problems, war zones, depression, bereavement, etc; but problems are designed to help us think, for God wants us to examine our lives. My experience of hardships has helped me to grow in my faith and to share the message of God. The bible says, ‘God wants everyone to be saved through Jesus,’ because he is very compassionate, loving and just. So, it is very important to know the questions of God, which started in Eden. As you know, every human being is a product of Adam and Eve. So that means every human being is subjected to questioning and to judgement.
Someone asked, what about the animals? Animals don’t know have a conscience of knowing right and wrong, but what happened in Eden affected all them too. When God gave Adam and Eve to rule over all animals, and that meant the decisions they made would affect the whole world.
There you go readers; the truth has to be told.