I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please”
Yeoo, standin’ at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Ooo eeee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by
These were the words penned by the bluesman Robert Johnson. As the legend goes, Robert Johnson couldn’t play guitar for nothing. Just didn’t have it in him. They say he stood at the crossroads one night in Clarksdale, Mississippi and handed his guitar to a tall black man, supposedly Satan himself who tuned his guitar and played a few tunes before handing the guitar back to Johnson in exchange for his soul.
Johnson died young, a member of the “27 Club.” He is also dubbed the “Father of Rock & Roll” and the “King of the Delta Blues.”
I’m not going to speculate on the legend’s truth or it’s theological ramifications, but I do know the story speaks of a crossroads in Robert Johnson’s life. There was a decision to be made, and a life altering decision at that!
I haven’t wrote much in the past several days because I have been edified with good teachings, and some digestion has been necessary. The words would not have came if I tried, so sometimes it’s just better to let that digestion occur.
One such teaching has been that of James MacDonald in a sermon called: Family First Aid: Wrestling God for Your Family. My suggestion is to head to MacDonald’s website and take a listen for yourself! James tells of another famous crossroad experience.
The teaching of James tells the story of Jacob as told in Genesis 32:22-32. Years have passed since Jacob stole the birthright of his brother Esau and fled to Laban, and Jacob marries Leah, and then Rachel. (Genesis 29) This is where we tune into the “Crossroads” experience of Jacob. Jacob is in trouble. Esau is still really ticked off, and wants to kill Jacob — So much so that he’s bringing 400 men with him to make sure of it. (Genesis 32:6) Not a fair fight. Jacob comes to a river and spends a great deal of time moving his livestock and family across the river:
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had.
24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.
25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.
This is one of those Bible passages that leaves you kinda standing back scratching your heard asking the question: “What just happened here?”
Jacob gets alone with God. This is a very good thing to do when you step back and realize that really, there are times and situations in life when you realize “There is nothing I can do in my own power to fix or deal with the present circumstances.” (Genesis 32:24) Actually, the quote is my own, because, I been there. I’ve stood at that crossroad and talked it out with God.
The other thing I might point out is how God will “play the game” and allow you to continue on “wrestling” with Him for a season. You can spend your time, resources and energy, but there may come a time when God says: “Enough!” The resulting action may cause you a great deal of pain, as is the case where “The Angel of the Lord.” touches Jacob’s thigh and puts it out of socket. You ever had anything out of socket? This was not a light pain. (Genesis 32:25) I also suggest that there are times when there are issues we need to deal with — maybe something in our life that is “out of socket” or not right with God. Ultimately, God may allow that to continue for a while, but at some point, that “thing” or situation needs to be addressed.
And by the way… Who is this “man” who wrestled with Jacob? Who is this “man” who has the power to wrestle with Jacob, hurt him, heal him, bless him — and rename him? Who is this “man” who is both a physical “man” and yet has the power of “God?” This is none other than the preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The name of Jacob means “Cheater” or “Deceiver.” — And 97 year old Jacob had spent his life up to this point living up to that moniker. God Himself takes a look at Jacob and says: You may have been all of these things in the past, but from this day, and because of my blessing, you will now be known as “Israel.” (Which mean’s God’s Fighter, or “He strives WITH God.”)
Despite the healing, I suspect Jacob/Israel walks with a limp. This is a reminder of where he has been.
As with most Bible passages, these words can mean different things to different people, to different generations, in different circumstances.
I really think there comes a time in every person’s life when you have to come to the realization that really, we don’t have what it takes. We fall desperately short in whatever area, and really it’s going to take a miracle to go on. I suggest that THAT miracle and blessing is there and available at that “crossroads” in the person of Jesus.
Every man, woman and child is DESPERATE and in need of His salvation, as only through the blood of Jesus can sins be placed “as far as the East is from the West.” But moreover, Jesus says that He “has come to give you life, and life more abundant.”
Have you come to “The Crossroads?”