By Femi Aribisala
Quote: Have you ever got to that point in your relationship with God that you locked the door and would not allow God to leave until he answered your prayers?
Jesus was going into Jericho, and blind Bartimaeus repeatedly shouted for help but Jesus did not answer him. On his departure from Jericho, Bartimaeus was still by the wayside. When he realized it was Jesus passing by again, he cried out so much more than before and made a complete nuisance of himself.
Bystanders told him to keep quiet. But Bartimaeus refused to be denied. He cried out a great deal more. Suddenly, his cries put Jesus under arrest. Jesus stood still and told his disciples to bring the man to him. Then he asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus requested that his sight should be restored and it was restored immediately.
Do you know why? Bartimaeus received his sight because he refused to be denied. He would not take no for an answer. James says: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:16-18).
God of Jacob
Have you ever wondered why God is identified preeminently in the scriptures as “the God of Jacob?” (Psalm 46:7). Jacob was a liar, a cheat and a deceiver. So how come, in spite of all this, a holy and a righteous God singles him out for his love? God says: “Jacob I have loved; but Esau I have hated.” (Malachi 1:2-3).
Jacob was one man who knew what he wanted and he went for it anyway and anyhow. He was also a man who refused to be denied. He refused to take no for an answer.
If Jacob asked you for something, and you refused to give him, he would steal it. If he asked you for money and you refused to give him, he would pick your pocket. If he asked you for the time and you refused to tell him, he would steal your wristwatch. Jacob would climb any mountain and cross any ocean to get what he wants.
God loves this kind of person. It is the kind of person Jesus is looking for in his kingdom. Once you are able to convert him, he will suffer violence and take the kingdom by force. (Matthew 11:12). If you can get this kind of man to fall in love with God, you can be sure he will be a man after God’s heart. (Acts 13:22).
Praying with importunity
“Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1). When Jacob wanted Rachel as his wife, he would not give up. He was prepared to serve Laban for seven years without pay because of her. When he was deceived on his wedding night and given Leah instead, he readily served another seven years for Rachel.
Have you ever heard of a man who asked a woman out and she refused? He then insisted that she was wasting her time? He said: “You are not only going to go out with me, you are going to be my wife.” She retorted: “Who is going to marry such a useless good-for-nothing man like you?” The man is not bothered, but continued: “Just you wait and see, you are going to marry me.”
You already know what happened. The man ended up marrying the woman because he would not take no for an answer.
Right from the womb, Jacob was determined to be the firstborn. From the womb, he started struggling with Esau who was strategically positioned for that distinction. God observed Jacob’s fight in the womb and said: “Wow, I love this boy.” The bible records that at birth, Jacob took Esau by the heel, presumably to prevent him from coming out first.
The inference here is that Jacob was spiritually sensitive. He was prepared to go to any lengths in order to be the heir of salvation. He lied; he cheated and deceived his own brother and father in order to inherit a birthright that was not his.
Yes, Jacob was the quintessential child of this world. But Jesus says: “The children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.” (Luke 16:8).
But what about the sons of light? Like Esau, we are a bunch of jokers. We don’t know what we want. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, but we have little or no regard for our blessings. We say we want to go to heaven. Fine. But tell us to sell all we have and give to the poor and follow Jesus, and we are likely to have a change of mind.
Tell us to fast, and we won’t. Tell us to pray, and we come up with excuses. Tell us to read the bible, and we would rather read “Mills and Boons.” Tell us to come to a revival service, and we are busy watching the Premier League on television. But do we really want to go to heaven? Yes, we do. But we don’t want to pay the price. As a matter of fact, we don’t want to pay any price whatsoever.
Jesus says: “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? “They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep.’” (Luke 7:31-32).
Wrestling with God
Have you ever had the audacity to place God under arrest? Have you ever gone boldly before the throne of God and said: “Father, you are under arrest?” Have you never read what Jacob did: how he wrestled with God till the break of day? Did he not “lock God up?” Jacob was insistent, saying: “I will not let you go until you bless me?”
Jesus says: “When you pray, enter into your closet and shut the door.” (Matthew 6:6). Have you ever got to that point in your relationship with God that you locked the door and would not allow God to leave until he answered your prayers? The songwriter says somewhat menacingly: “Today, today, Jesus will answer me, today, today.”
How can a man have the audacity to wrestle with God? The whole thing simply does not make sense. And the fight went on all through the night. What exactly does that mean? Was Jacob as strong as God?
The fight did not end in the first round. It went the distance. And do you know what the bible said? It said Jacob had power with God and prevailed. “Pre” what? He prevailed. Prevailed against whom? He prevailed in a wrestling match against God. And what happened? God blessed him there.
Stop dilly-dallying. If you have a need, contend with God for a miracle. God actually wants to meet your need, but he is waiting to see how bad you want it.