Then Rachel said, "In my great struggles, I have wrestled with my sister and won." So she named him Naphtali.
1. We are called to enlarge the household of God; to be the means of making enemies into children (cf. Psalm 87:4, 5) through producing faith (cf. John 1:12). Each responsible for the faithful use of the powers given to us, and bidden to examine ourselves as to sincerity. But the visible results are as God pleases. Here a test of singleness of mind. Can we rejoice in success of a work in which we have no share, or when another's success appears greater than ours? (Galatians 5:26).
2. As an exercise of unselfishness, be careful not to provoke envy by parading distinctive peculiarities (Romans 12:18) or exalting our own work.
3. Be not discouraged that work of others seems more blessed (John 4:36, 37). Faithfulness is within the power of all. It is that which God regards (Matthew 25:21). The result we cannot judge of here. The fruit delayed may prove a greater blessing. - M.
With great wrestlings have I wrestled.
I. THIS IS TRUE OF THOSE WHO ARE OUTWARDLY THE WEAKEST. Nothing betokens the warrior; there is no mailed breast, no gauntleted hand. The character seems like the face perhaps, to be common-place and dull. But what a world there is within the humblest forms that move to and fro amongst us! That plain face that we mark no loveliness in, is beautiful perhaps in the eyes of angels — that unillustrious life is associated with paths where some Goliath has been laid low, and where the Philistine host has been dispersed.
II. THIS IS TO BE THE LOT OF OUR CHILDREN. Listen, and you may hear a sigh as of a distant storm, in the spring breeze of childhood's morning, which may break into a weird tempest over their heads before the evening comes. These children of ours cannot do without religion, without Christ — the Brother and the Saviour of men. Do these little ones look made for the endurance of hard wrestlings? Perhaps not. But these little hands will be stretched out in the dark night; these little feet will have to climb in loneliness the toilsome way, when you and I are gone. Who can wonder that we wish to see them before we die in the covert of the great rock?
III. THIS IS THE ONLY PATH TO VICTORY. God sees that it is best. The oak that struggles with the tempest strikes deeper root in the soil; and the faith that has struggled with doubt is the firmest of beliefs. The love which has learnt human insincerity, learns to prize beyond all price the less demonstrative love of true natures. We gain conquest through hardship, defeat, and peril. We wrestle with great wrestlings over inborn tastes and desires, over habits that have steadily risen to dominance, over affections that are carnal and corrupt, and over enemies visible and invisible. For ease is death. When we cease to wrestle, the enemy binds us with fetters of iron. Conquer we may and can — through the faith that looks upward all through the wrestling years. To him that overcometh the glorious promise of victory is vouchsafed. But the struggle will be severe; we shall have not only ordinary sorrows, superficial anxieties, but great wrestlings; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. These wrestlings are not mere matters of mental energy; they are connected with moral pain. Dispositions natural to us have to be overcome; human nature, like a child, likes to be spoiled and petted — it can ill-endure rebuke and resistance I Consequently the battle is hard, and there is no plaudit of honour, no noise of conquest, no palm-wreath on the brow.
IV. THIS IS THE ANCIENT WAY. It leads us back to Moses, to Abraham, and to Jacob who was left alone — "and there wrestled a man with him till the break of day" (Genesis 32:24). And that we have a Divine nature is proven by man's spiritual wrestlings from the earliest dawn of history. And the rendering of this text, as you will see in the margin of your Bibles, leads us to think of God. "With great God-wrestlings have I wrestled." And this ancient way will be our way too.
(W. M. Statham, M. A.)
PeopleAsher, Bilhah, Dan, Dinah, Gad, Issachar, Jacob, Joseph, Laban, Leah, Naphtali, Rachel, Reuben, Zebulun, Zilpah
TopicsCalleth, Child, Fight, Indeed, Mighty, Named, Naphtali, Naph'tali, Napthali, Overcome, Prevailed, Rachel, Sister, Struggle, Won, Wrestled, Wrestlings, Yea
Outline1. Rachel, in grief for her barrenness, gives Bilhah her maid unto Jacob.
5. Bilhah bears Dan and Naphtali.
9. Leah gives Zilpah her maid, who bears Gad and Asher.
14. Reuben finds mandrakes,
15. with which Leah buys her husband's company of Rachel.
17. Leah bears Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.
22. Rachel bears Joseph.
25. Jacob desires to depart.
27. Laban detains him on a new agreement.
37. Jacob's policy, whereby he becomes rich.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 30:3-13
5095 Jacob, life
LibraryMeditations for Household Piety.
1. If thou be called to the government of a family, thou must not hold it sufficient to serve God and live uprightly in thy own person, unless thou cause all under thy charge to do the same with thee. For the performance of this duty God was so well pleased with Abraham, that he would not hide from him his counsel: "For," saith God, "I know him that he will command his sons and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
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