How do you deal with your sordid past?


Atheology ; Jacob fighting the angel, by Delac...

Atheology ; Jacob fighting the angel, by Delacroix inspired the bookcover of traité d’athéologie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creäture: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You have heard the clichés, “What goes around comes around.” And, “Do good and good will follow you.” Like many of us, Jacob wrestled with his sordid past. All the white lies, scheming, and scandalizing came back to haunt him. He tried to run away, yet he could not do so. He was like a spider trapped in its own web of deceit and craftiness. Still, more than anything, Jacob wrestled with God. The Bible tells us that Jacob wrestled with God a whole night along the banks of the Jabbok river. He rolled in the mud of his mistakes, but he was determined to change.

Sick of his past and in desperate need of a fresh start, he met his Redeemer in person. And because Jacob wanted to change so badly, God honored his determination. He gave him a new name (Israel) and a fresh promise. However, Jacob did not leave God’s presence unscathed. God gave him a wrenched hip as a reminder of that mysterious night on the banks of the Jabbok river.

 “And Jacob arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons and crossed over the ford of Jabbok.  He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had.  Then Jacob was left alone, probably to have a quiet talk with God, and an Angel wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.  Now when the angel saw that He did not prevail against Jacob, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of the joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”

However, Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”  So the angel said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”  And the Angel said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.

 So Jacob called the name of the place Penuel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he crossed the Penuel, limping because of his hip.  Therefore, to this day, the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank” (Genesis 32:28-32).

Like Jacob, we should unmask our stained hearts and grimy souls and be honest with the One who knows our most secret sins. The result could be refreshing. We know it was for Jacob. After his encounter with God, Jacob was a new man.

17 comments

    1. I thank you very much for your comment Lady D. Many of us have some not so pleasant things in our past, from which we would like to run. However, we do not have to run. All we need to do is take them to Jesus our great Redeemer.

    1. Thanks a million for your comment Tom. There is no use attempting to run from reality. Like Jacob, we will never get far.
      May God continue to bless you my brother.

    2. Thanks a million for your comment Tom. There is no use attempting to run from reality. Like Jacob, we will never get far.
      May God continue to bless you my brother.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Greg. Your encouragement is tremendously appreciated.
      God blessed!

  1. Noel,

    I love this post!!! The thoughts you brought out in it were wonderful. This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, and you took it to a new level for me. This ranks with me as one of my favorites that you have done. Thanks so much for posting, and as always putting your Holy Spirit given spin on it!! Great job!! God Bless, SR

    1. Thank you so much, SR. Your kind words are immensely appreciated. To God be the glory! I thank God for Jesus, who looked beyond my faults and saw my need, and grant me grace.
      God blessed!

    1. You are particularly welcomed my friend. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. David was a man after God’s own heart. Yet he sinned, what say you and I.
      I thank you very much for stopping by. God blessed! God blessed!

  2. >> “How do I deal with my sordid past?”
    Well, in one sense, I don’t need to, because my gracious Saviour wiped it clean and gave me complete victory over all that would hold me bound.

    While it is true that effects of 22 years of abuse- especially the mental abuse – had an impact on my life for several years after He dealt with my past, it is also true that they NOW hold NO sway, other than thankfulness. I am now thankful for everything that happened in those years, because they helped to make me what I am and gave me a ministry that many cannot perform with the same empathy and understanding.

    What an amazing God!

    1. God is truly amazing my friend. He looked beyond our faults and saw our needs.
      You seem to have a great testimony. You should share it sometime.
      I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. God blessed!.

  3. I loved this post. Of course, coming to your blog is a joy for me. However, this blog was especially touching. Thanks for posting and taking the time to write such wonderful blogs.

    1. I sincerely thank you my friends. Jesus says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).” For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrew 8:12).

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