“Deliver me” prayer

In great fear and distress, thinking that his brother Esau was coming with four hundred men to avenge himself, for the wrong that Jacob had done against Esau, Jacob had no where to turn, but to God. He prays to God, making this the first recorded example of prayer in the Bible.

By addressing God as God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac – he personalized his relationship to God and was affirming the covenant relationship that his grandfather and father had with God. Jacob then recounts the promise of God that guaranteed his safe return and then recognizes that he was unworthy of the least of God’s mercies that he had been shown. He then makes a plea of deliverance, by praying “Deliver me” from impending danger and possibly death, in the hands of his brother, Esau. who’s blessings he had taken by deception. (Genesis 32:9-12)

Points to ponder:
From this first recorded prayer of Jacob, we see a model of prayer that everyone in the world ought to pray. First, one must recognize that God is a personal God. Second, God is a promise keeping God. Third, we are unworthy of God’s mercies and yet God shows us his mercies. And most importantly, we must each pray the prayer of deliverance, asking God to deliver us – to deliver us from sin, and the sting of death. This prayer of deliverance is in essence the prayer of confession – confessing that we are unworthy sinners in need of a Savior. And those who pray (cry) the prayer for deliverance, can be assured that God would deliver us (Psalm 34:6). Deliverance from fear and death is only possible by believing in Jesus, the Great Deliverer, through whom we have victory (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Have you prayed the prayer of deliverance? Have you confessed you need for Jesus, The Savior?

Genesis 32:9-12 (KJV)
9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Psalm 34:6-7 (KJV)
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (KJV)
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we fear (men)

The Bible informs us that when Jacob found out from his messengers that his brother Esau, whom he had wronged, was coming to meet him along with four hundred men, he became greatly afraid and distressed. Uncertain of how his brother felt about him, and fearing that his brother would be coming with his men to avenge himself, Jacob divided his people, and the cattle (flocks, herds, and camels) into two bands, thinking that if Esau was to come and attack one band, then the other could escape (Genesis 32:6-8).

Interesting, isn’t it, that not too long ago, Jacob had witnessed two camps of God’s angelic army, and now all of his people and property had been divided into two bands. Did God in his omniscience know that Jacob would divide his people and property into two bands and so sent two hosts of angels in advance to protect him? I would like to think so, but the Bible does not affirm that and so we should leave speculation to be speculation.

Jacob acts of deception had given him a genuine reason to fear his brother, but God’s promise of being with him should have allayed that fear. In other words, if Jacob had faith – faith to trust God at his word, he would not have had to fear his brother – a mere man.

Points to ponder:
We fear when we fail to take God at his word and trust him, by placing our complete faith in him. The opposite of fear for a follower of Jesus Christ is not courage, but instead faith. When the disciples were afraid in the boat that was caught in a storm, Jesus did not ask them “Why they did not have courage?”, but instead asked them “How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41)

When we have no faith in Jesus, we have everything to fear. When we have all our faith in Jesus, we have nothing or no one to fear! When the storms of life buffet you and threaten to drown you, there is nothing to fear, if Jesus Christ is with you. Even first death is no longer something to be afraid off for it has no power over those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Are you afraid and distressed?

Genesis 32:6-8 (KJV)
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

Mark 4:35-41 (KJV)
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Weak God

At the very onset, let me state that God is not weak, though some may claim and think it to be so. The ones at the foot of the Cross mocked him as a weak God, one who could save others but at the end could not save himself. For the Almighty (Elohim) God, this is a ridicule of immense proportion. He who fashioned the world with his Word and the one who controls all the elements of life, is now being told that He is weak, succumbing to death. But His state of weakness, He willingly chose, so that we may not be weak and enslaved under the bondage of sin. Jesus himself expressed that  He willingly laid down His life so that He may take it back again (John 10:17) and Pilate had no power over Jesus, not to crucify Him nor to release Him,  except that which was granted to him (John 19:10-11). So the reality is God is not weak.

However, for a moment, even if one was to think that God is weak, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that this weak God has to be subject to the power and strength of men. On the contrary, even the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25). So if we were to take all the strength that men can muster and force that against God, it would be just a whiff of air against His weakest state.

The Truth is the Strongest of the strong chose to be weak, so that the strongholds of sin and its wages, a.k.a. death will no longer have its power over His people, whom He came to save (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is not a weak God and even when He chooses to be, He is stronger than the strongest of all men.