He Remembers It All and Loves
1But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
My wife got this scripture with particular force today. It has always comforted us to see how God remembers the man as "cheat" and as "prevailing prince", for these are the meanings of the two names Jacob and Israel.
Could it be that the Lord foresaw the patriarch in both of these dispositions. First as the scheming manipulator who robbed his brother Esau of rights of primogeniture, and robbed his future father-in-law Laban of flocks. Next He saw the vulnerable man wrestling with the angel 'til break of day and refusing to let go until the angel had given his name and visit's purpose and personal blessing.
God now speaks of both men, the same man, in endearing terms of love and support. Past shortcomings are not mentioned. It is the future...the future, which matters. The true Israel of God. A new man inherits this future. He takes with him thankfully a remembrance in his limping leg, the leg wounded by the angel in the night of his change.
In a fallen world the Lord cannot guarantee an easy ride. There will be, however, a "coming through".
15For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
(Painting by J. Toulouse-Lautrec)