"We're going to Bethel. I'm going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I've gone since". Genesis 35:3 - The Message
Ever had gum stuck on your shoe on a warm day? You can see it, feel it sticking to the pavement, hear it clicking as you step...
I was talking with my wife about the verse above - how Jacob saw the blessing of God in his kids and his flocks, heard it every time he called Leah's kids' names and heard his flocks, and felt it wrestling God and limping afterwards. My wife exclaimed, "That's just like gum stuck on a shoe! I can see it, hear it, and feel it!" I haven't been able to get that picture out of my head since. God's blessing being hard to ignore.
Stubborn Persistence to...
Isn't it additionally interesting that Jacob sees God 'sticking with him', and Jacob's name means 'heal'? He got that name because he was holding onto (stuck to) his twin brother's heal when he was born. Then he wrestled with God and wouldn't let God go - stuck to him as well, until God changed his name and blessed him.
Have you tried to get gum off of your shoe once its there? Its not so easy. Jacob was stubbornly persistent in pursuing a blessing. What he didn't realize at first is that God would also be stubbornly persistent with him, pursuing him. Reminds me of Psalms 23:6, "Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life..."
..A Smile, and a Blessing.
People may disagree with me here, but please give me a little wiggle room.
As I was reading over Jacob's 'stuck' story, I noticed something else. Jacob and Esau had a pretty tumultuous relationship as brothers, and later as nations, with the exception of the day that Jacob returns to Canaan. Upon his return, he says to Esau,
'...When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me...'
Genesis 33:10b The Message.
How is Jacob making this comparison? How does he know what God's face looks like? It turns out he actually saw God face to face (his words, not mine) just the evening before. I can just picture Jacob hanging onto God with all he's got, and God smiling at him saying 'Let me go!' Jacob replying 'Not until you bless me!' and God laughing at him - not in a mean way - and blessing him. Genesis 32:29.
I love it.