Close Encounters: Part 1

As spring approaches I have been thinking constantly about the arrival of turkey season. As much as I love to deer hunt, it does not hold a candle to passion that I have for hunting turkeys. It is just something special about having that close encounter with the majestic king of spring that gets my blood boiling. However, as I think about close encounters with the king of spring and how much joy it brings to my life; it does not even come close in having a close encounter with the King of Glory! Being close to Him brings a joy and view of life that nothing can compare to. For the next few devotions we are going to look to the scriptures at real people and the close encounters with God that they had. There is so much to learn about God, life, and ourselves when we get close to the King of Kings!

Genesis 32: 24-30
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

When God Grabs Hold of You

It’s kind of hard to get any closer to God that than Jacob did. God literally grabbed hold of him and wrestled with him all night long. Notice Jacob’s response and the lessons we can learn from when God grabbed a hold of him.
The obvious result seen in this close encounter was:
I. The Persistence Displayed (From Jacob’s Grip to Jesus’ Grip)

A. Jacob’s Grip (He held on tight)
* Many times we look down on Jacob because of his dishonest actions. The way he swindled Esau out of his birthright and the way he fooled Isaac by stealing Esau’s blessing. The way he obtained those things may have been wrong, however; wanting that great inheritance and that heavenly blessing is what we all should be grasping for.

1. The Potential in the Grip
* Jacob had a grip for dear life, not knowing he laid hold to the giver of Life Ever Lasting; he had a grip so he wouldn’t get torn into pieces, not knowing he laid hold to the Price of Peace; he had a grip on his attacker so he wouldn’t escape, not knowing that he laid hold to the One who would never leave him or forsake him.
He had a grip on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; he had a grip on the Lamb as well as the Lion; the Good, the Great, and the Chief Shepherd; the Living Water and the Bread of Life.
He had a grip on the Mediator, the Master, the Messiah; the Branch and the True Vine; the Advocate, the Almighty the Alpha & Omega, and the great I Am.
He had a grip on the Beloved, the Bridegroom, and the Bright Morning Star; the Anchor, the Rock, and the Chief Cornerstone; the Author and Finisher of our faith.
He had a grip on the way, the truth and the life; the Servant and the Savior; the Son of Man, and the only begotten Son of God; the Wonderful, Counselor, the almighty God, and Everlasting Father.
He had a grip on the Door, the Word, and the Light of the World; in short he had a grip on the King of Glory!!!
Who wouldn’t want to latch hold of this Man?

2. The Patience of the Grip
* We need to hold on to God both during the good times and the bad times; during times of disaster and delight; during times of calamity and comfort; during times of confusion and certainty; during times of tragedy and triumph;
during times of heartache and happiness.
* We need to learn how to be patient with God and for the will that He has in store for each of us.
3. The Practicality of the Grip
* We need to learn to hold on to God or other things will lay hold of us. Look at these passages from the Bible and see how other things laid hold to these people.
a. “Terrors take hold of him” Job 27:20
b. “Trembling taketh hold on my flesh” Job 21:6
c. “Affliction have taken hold upon me” Job 30:16
d. “Justice take hold on thee” Job 36:17”
e. “Iniquities have taken hold upon me” Ps 40:12
f. “Fear took hold upon them” Ps 48:6
g. “Wrathful anger take hold of them” Ps 69:24
h. “Pains of hell got hold upon me” Ps 116:3
i. “Horror hath taken hold upon me” Ps 119:53
j. “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me” Ps 119:143
k. “Pain and Sorrows shall take hold of them” Isaiah 13:8

* We need to know the dangers of laying hold of other things instead of the Lord.
a. Other gods 1 Kings 9:9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.

b. Foolishness Eccl 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

c. Tradition of men Mark 7:5-8 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? He answered and said unto them, well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men,

d. Unrighteousness Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

B. Jesus’ Grip (He holds on tighter)
1. A grip of Confidence
2. A grip of Charity
3. A grip of Care
4. A grip of Comfort
5. A grip of a Champion
6. A grip of Cheerfulness
7. A grip of Chastisement
8. A grip of Compassion
9. A grip that is Compelling
10. A grip that is Captivating
11. A grip that Connects
12. A grip that Corrects
13. A grip that Convicts
14. A grip of Completion. This is the kind of grip that my Lord has on me.

* These few verses will show us God’s Hold that He has on us:
a. Isaiah 41:13-14 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worn Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
b. Isaiah 42:6-7 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house

One of the best things about being saved is knowing that God has an eternal hold on me. Even though I wrestle with Him from time to time, I know He will be there holding my hand through all of life’s difficulties. It is my prayer for anyone who is lost will allow the Savior to grab hold of you. And to those who are saved, I pray that you will embrace God’s great grip on your life and enjoy that closeness that we have with the King of Glory!

God Bless and Happy Hunting.

Posted by Mark Newell

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