Jacob and the fivefold blessing at dawn

A lesson for every Christian: the story of Jacob’s fight. It demonstrates that God can bless us even in trials—if we fight for it. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider recently illustrated fivefold blessing in a divine service.

Nearly 45,000 people participated in the divine service on 7 February in Ulm (Germany). Some 1,800 brothers and sisters saw and heard the Chief Apostle in person in the Congress Centre in Ulm, where the service took place. It was transmitted to 380 congregations in the south of Germany, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. The Chief Apostle based his sermon on Genesis 32: 26: “And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’ But he said, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me!’”

More than merely surviving

“The story of Jacob’s struggle is a lesson for every Christian, for every child of God,” the Chief Apostle said. God had promised Jacob to bring him back home to his father and make him a blessing for many. Jacob believed in this promise, the Chief Apostle said, and followed God’s instructions. “We believe in the salvation that God offers us, and we have decided to obey the gospel and shape our lives in accordance with it.”

When Jacob was attacked by a stranger one night, he first fought for his life. But when he realized who his opponent was, he wanted more. He wanted the blessing of God. “We experience calamities, trials, difficulties, and injustice. We are attacked, but we do not really know why, nor do we know where the attack has come from.” The important thing is that we recognize the danger and realize: this is about my eternal life. And then it becomes clear: “Somehow God has a hand in this. And we know that God can give us something even in this situation!”

A very personal matter

“We are alone in this fight, just like Jacob,” the Chief Apostle made clear. “Sure, the ministers pray for us and our families help us. But basically this is a very personal matter. Each one of us has to make the decision in his own heart: I want to remain with Jesus Christ.”

“Jacob moved on after the fight. He had been injured, but he had also been blessed,” the Chief Apostle said. “The trials we face may indeed cause injury. Afterwards things are not the same as before. Perhaps we have to do without the one or other thing. Maybe we had to give someone or something up.” The important thing is that we have God’s blessing despite the injuries we sustained.

Fivefold blessing

What does divine blessing mean?

  • A stronger relationship to God. Just like Jacob recognized that it was God he was fighting with, believers can recognize God in the trials they go through. We can see Him in the divine service and in the help we receive from the ministers, from the congregation, and from our neighbour. “This strengthens our faith.”
  • Grace opens the way. Thanks to his reconciliation with Esau, Jacob’s guilt was no longer an obstacle that could have prevented him from returning home. “Because God knows that our fellowship with Him is the most important thing for us, He gives us His grace. Despite our imperfections we can go home.”
  • Protection from the evil one. When Jacob encountered enemies on his way home, God intervened. “Of course, the evil one attacks us. But God always makes sure that the evil one cannot prevent us from going home—as long as this is what we want.”
  • Being able to return home. Just like Jacob was able to return to his father, believers today are on their way home to the eternal kingdom of glory.
  • Being a blessing for others. As a patriarch of the Israelites, Jacob was a blessing for many. “God has promised us eternal life, which includes the promise that we are to be a blessing for many. Let us remember that in the kingdom of peace we will be able to work with Christ for the salvation of all mankind.”

“God wants to see how important our eternal life is to us,” the Chief Apostle said in conclusion. “This is what we fight for in our hearts, in our prayers, with ourselves, and even with the Devil, if need be. We fight—and God will bless us.”

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Andreas Rother
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service