How to be transformed.
by Smith Wigglesworth.
Originally published in the Pentecostal Evangel,
July 14, 1945.
Jacob was on his way to the land of his fathers, but he was very troubled at the thought of meeting his brother Esau. Years before, Jacob and his mother had formed a plan to secure the blessing that Isaac was going to give Esau. How inglorious was the fulfilling of this carnal plan! It resulted in Esau’s hating Jacob and saying in his heart, “(When my father is dead), then will I slay my brother Jacob.” [Ge 27.41] Our own plans lead us frequently into disaster.
Jacob had to flee from the land, but how good the Lord was to the fleeing fugitive. He gave him a vision of a ladder, and angels ascending and descending. How gracious is our God! He refused to have his plans of grace frustrated by the carnal workings of Jacob’s mind, and that night he revealed himself to Jacob saying, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” [Ge 28.15] It is the goodness of the Lord that leads to repentance. I believe that Jacob really did some repenting that night as he was made conscious of his own meanness.
Many things may happen in our lives to show us how depraved we are by nature, but when the veil is lifted we see how merciful and tender God is. His tender compassion is over us all the time.
Since the time when Jacob had had the revelation of the ladder and the angels, he had had 21 years of testing and trial. But God had been faithful to his promise all through these years. Jacob could say to his wives, “Your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.” [Ge 31.7] He said to his father-in-law, “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands….” [Ge 31.42]
Now that Jacob was returning to the land of his birth, his heart was filled with fear. If he ever needed the Lord, it was just at this time. And he wanted to be alone with God. His wives, his children, his sheep, his kine, his camels, and his asses, gone on, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” [Ge 32.24] The Lord saw Jacob’s need, and came down to meet him. It was he who wrestled with the supplanter, breaking him, changing him, transforming him.
Jacob knew that his brother Esau had power to take away all that he had, and to execute vengeance upon him. He knew that no one could deliver him but God. And there alone, lean in soul, and impoverished in spirit, he met with God. Oh, how we need to get alone with God, to be broken, to be changed, to be transformed! And when we do meet with him, he interposes, and all care and strife is at an end. Get alone with God and receive the revelation of his infinite grace, and of his wonderful purposes and plans for your life.
This picture of Jacob left alone is so real to me, I can imagine his thoughts that night. He would think about the ladder and the angels. I somehow think that as he would begin to pray, his tongue would cleave to the roof of his mouth. [Ps 137.6] He knew he had to get rid of a lot of things. In days gone by, it had all been Jacob! Jacob! When you get alone with God, what a place of revelation it is. What a revelation of self we receive. And then what a revelation of the provision made for us at Calvary. It is here that we get a revelation of a life crucified with Christ, buried with him, raised with him, transformed by Christ and empowered by the Spirit.
Hour after hour passed. Oh, that we might spend all nights alone with God! We are occupied too much with the things of time and sense. We need to spend time alone in the presence of God. We need to give God much time in order to receive new revelations from him. We need to get past all the thoughts of earthly matters that crowd in so rapidly. It takes God time to deal with us. If he would only deal with us as he dealt with Jacob, then we should have power with him, and prevail.
Jacob was not dry-eyed that night. Hosea tells us, “He wept, and made supplication.” [Ho 12.4] He knew that he had been a disappointment to the Lord, that he had been a groveler, but in the revelation he received that night he saw the possibility of being transformed from a supplanter to a prince with God. The testing hour came when, at the break of day, the Angel, who was none other than the Lord and Master, said, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.” [Ge 32.26] This is where we so often fail. Jacob knew that if God went without blessing him, Esau could not be met. You cannot meet the terrible things that await you in the world unless you secure the blessing of God.
You must never let go. Whatever you are seeking—a fresh revelation, light on the path, some particular thing—never let go Victory is yours if you are earnest enough. If you are in darkness, if you need a fresh revelation, if your mind needs relief, if there are problems you cannot solve, lay hold of God and declare, “I wilL not let thee go, except thou bless me.” [Ge 32.26]
In wrestling, the strength is in the neck, the breast, and the thigh, but the greatest strength is in the thigh. The Lord touched Jacob’s thigh. [Ge 32.25] With his human strength gone, surely defeat was certain. What did Jacob do? He hung on. God means to have people who are broken. The divine power can only come when there is an end of our own self-sufficiency. But when we are broken, we must hold fast. If we let go, then we shall fall short.
Jacob cried, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” [Ge 32.26] And God blessed him, saying, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” [Ge 32.28] Now a new order begins. The old supplanter has passed away, there is a new creation: Jacob the supplanter has been transformed into Israel the prince.
When God comes into your life, you will find him enough. As Israel came forth, the sun rose upon him, and he had power over all the things of the world, and power over Esau. Esau met him, but there was no fight now; there was reconciliation. They kissed each other. [Ge 33.4] How true it is, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” [Pr 16.7] Esau inquired, “What about all these cattle, Jacob?” “Oh, that’s a present.” “Oh, I have plenty; I don’t want your cattle. What a joy to see your face again!” [Ge 33.8-9] What a wonderful change! The material things did not count for much after the night of revelation. Who wrought this change? God.
Can you hold on to God as did Jacob? You certainly can if you are sincere, if you are dependent, if you are broken, if you are weak. It is when you are weak, that you are strong. [2Co 12.10] But if you are self-righteous, if you are proud, if you are high-minded, if you are puffed up in your own imagination, you can receive nothing from him. If you become lukewarm instead of being at white heat, you can become a disappointment to God. And he says, “I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rv 3.16]
But there is a place of holiness, a place of meekness, a place of faith, where you can cry to God, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” And in response he will bless you exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think. [Ep 3.20]
Sometimes we are tempted to think that he has left us. Oh no. He has promised never to leave us, nor forsake us. [He 13.5] He had promised not to leave Jacob, and he did not break his promise. He has promised not to leave us, and he will not fail. Jacob held on until the blessing came. We can do the same.
If God does not help us, we are no good for this world’s need; we are no longer salt, we lose our savor. [Lk 14.34] But as we spend time alone with God, and cry to him to bless us, he re-salts us, he re-empowers us; but he brings us to brokenness and moves us into the orbit of his own perfect will.
The next morning as the sun rose, Jacob halted upon his thigh. [Ge 32.31] You may ask, “What is the use of a lame man?” It is those who have seen the face of God and have been broken by him, that can meet the forces of the enemy and break down the bulwarks of Satan’s kingdom. The word declares, “The lame take the prey.” [Is 33.23] On that day Jacob was brought to a place of dependence upon God.
Oh, the blessedness of being brought into a life of dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit. Henceforth we know that we are nothing without him; we are absolutely dependent upon him. I am absolutely nothing without the power and unction of the Holy Ghost. Oh, for a life of absolute dependence! It is through a life of dependence there is a life of power. If you are not there, get alone with God. If need be, spend a whole night alone with God, and let him change and transform you. Never let him go until he blesses you, until he makes you an Israel, a prince with God