January 15 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 31:17-32:12

Central Thought: When you find no place to turn, look to God.

    Did you ever find yourself between the proverbial rock and a hard place? Probably most of us have. Today's reading is a biblical narrative about a man who found himself there. Jacob had been a successful wheeler-dealer of sorts. His record of scheming, deceiving, and being deceived covers most of his early life. At this point in the narrative, he has just escaped a father-in-law who was angry over stolen property. Ahead he was to face Esau, the brother he had fled from because of cheating him out of a birthright years ago. Jacob was between his rock and hard place.

    As the time neared for the face-to-face meeting with Esau, Jacob's creative mind went to work. He devised several plans, hoping to pacify his brother with lavish gifts as a peace offering and impress him with his rather large family. However, something happened the night before the reunion that changed his life and his relationship with Esau forever. Unplanned, Jacob spent the night wrestling with God and was given a life-changing touch by his opponent. He left the wrestling match with a limp, a new name, and a humble heart.

    Jacob's plans and offerings did not solve the conflict between him and his brother. His encounter with the Lord did. God met Jacob during his rock-and-hard-place experience, bringing change to a lifelong behavioral pattern and peace to an embittered family relationship.

    Too many today try to solve problems using their own ingenuity and scheming. That only makes matters worse. We can never completely solve our issues with people until we settle our issues with God, just as Jacob did. When you find yourself caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, turn to God instead of your own ingenuity.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, when I am faced with a problem, may I turn to You so You can touch me and change my life.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 31:17-38:30; Matthew 10:26-11:6; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 3:16-18