On the Other Side of the River

I want to continue talking about the importance of spending time alone with God. As I said in a previous post, the Bible is filled with scenarios where God did extraordinary things through ordinary people because they were willing to get alone with Him and allow Him to do something so powerful in them that they were empowered to change the culture around them. One of these scenarios takes place in Genesis 32 and this is the story that I want to highlight today.

The Bible says in Genesis 32:22-32 that Jacob rose in the night, took all that belonged to him, and pushed it all to the other side of a river. Here is found one of the most powerful phrases in the entire Bible – Then Jacob was left alone. Once Jacob is alone, Yahweh visits Jacob and He wrestles with him throughout the night. There are three things that happen during this encounter.

  1. Jacob’s Walk was Changed

Verse 25 says that when God saw that Jacob was prevailing, He touched Jacob’s hip and causes Jacob limps. Jacob has an encounter with God that is so powerful that he never walks the same way again. Many of you have been trying to change your life through programs, books, and podcasts but I’m telling you that the only route to true freedom is to get alone with God and wrestle with Him until He changes the way you walk. Quit trying to find the next life hack and get on the other side of the river with God!

We have so many leaders in the church today that strut. I wonder what kind of revival we would be in if we had more leaders that limped? I wonder what the American church would look like if everywhere we went, people had to notice our limp? When you go to the store, you better go with a limp. When you go to school, you better go with a limp. Only those who have allowed God to change them in private will ever be able to produce change in public. You cannot walk like the culture and expect to change it. You need to learn how to limp!

2. Jacob’s Name was Changed

in verse 28 Jacob’s name gets changed to Israel. This moment accelerated Jacob right into his destiny. True identity is only found in the secret place. So many people are seeking to find their identity in what is popular. We pick the latest fad and allow it to identify our lives but only those who are willing to pay the price to be alone with Him will receive true identity. Many of you have been mis-identified. You have been seeking for your place and purpose in the world. You are not secure in who you are becuase you have not been with Him in secret. The most dangerous thing in the world is a person who knows who they are in God and this discovery can only take place on the other side of the river.

3. A Nation was Birthed

Jacob’s name change was so much more than just a new name, it was the beginning of a new nation. And not just any nation, God’s chosen nation – Israel! One encounter with God produces the nation that God’s covenant remains with even to this day. I want to ask you, what nation could be birthed if you got alone with God and would not let Him go? If God can spark an entire nation out of one encounter, what do you think He could do in your own life?

Find time to take all of your responsibilities and all of the daily to-do’s of life and push them across the river for a night. Take all of your distractions and push them across the river. Take your cell phone and TV and push them across the river. Take your relationships and priorities and push them across the river. Take your job and push it across the river. Do whatever it takes to have a Peniel moment with God. God is waiting to encounter you on the other side of the river!




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