Advent Devotional: Faith-Family Tree {Uncle}

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

Wrestling is one sport that is whole-body, fierce, and intense. My father wrestled in college and my brother wrestled from a little boy through the state level in high school. We watched his matches and yelled loudly, “Get him! Pin him!” He cut weight, so he was lean, and his strength could be seen in every muscle fiber of his body as he fought hard all the way through to the pin!

When the wrestling match was finally over, we celebrated the thrill of the victory! Whew, it was intense!

That strong wrestler now serves with his family in the United States Marine Corps and my kids love their “Tio Tommy!” They know he loves them because of the special attention he gives them when we are together. Our family admires his family, and we are grateful for the sacrifices they make for our country.

Uncles love their nieces and nephews in a special way.

Jacob and Esau, separated for over twenty years, both married and had children. Jacob went to see Esau. However, he wondered with great concern how Esau would react to him, his wives, and his children.

So Jacob sought God, and God met him in a heavenly wrestling match.

Today’s Scripture:

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’

But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘Jacob,’ he answered.

Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’

Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’

But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared’ (Genesis 32:24-30 NIV).

Today’s Snapshot: Uncle

Jacob spent the night seeking God before he met with his brother, yet resting in the blessing he received from Isaac, His father. Jacob knew that through his lineage (from Abraham through Isaac to him) his people would be multiplied greatly, he would continue to father many nations, and they would receive the promised land.

Jacob’s head knew the truth, but his heart was anxious. When he was alone, a figure approached him, and they began to wrestle fiercely. In the wrestle, the figure struck him hard in the thigh. The sinew of the thigh is strong as it holds the leg to the body.

God made Jacob weak so that he would solely rely on Him.

Jacob’s weakness caused him to rely on God for His complete strength. Jacob did not lose focus.

In the struggle, we see God’s presence, and we feel God’s presence, because in the struggle we need God’s presence.

As a sign of God’s power being perfected in Jacob’s weakness, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.
After the wrestle, Jacob’s heart felt the promise.

When Esau saw Jacob, the uncles ran to each other, embraced, and wept.

It’s after the wrestle that the “wonder of His love” and the fingerprints of His presence appear.

Family Discussion:

~ Do you have a favorite uncle or someone who is like an uncle to you?

~ Are you in a wrestling match, or have you been in one recently? In other words, has God brought you through a struggle which only He could do? Were you able to see His fingerprints through the wrestle?

~ How did it feel for Him to get you to a point where you had to completely rely on Him?

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

I praise You for family and for uncles who love our children as their own. I praise You for the great wrestling match because we know that in You there is victory at the end. Help us, Lord, to keep our focus on you when we are in the middle of the struggle. Please give us endurance as You bring us through, so that we may see the “wonder of your love.” Help us see your fingerprints and hold on fast to our hope in You. Thank You for the struggles Mary and Joseph overcame to bring Your Son into this world. We are forever grateful.
In the Precious Name of Jesus, We Pray,
Amen

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