Notes from Norman

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The Independent Self

by Norman P. Grubb

At last Jacob was alone with God. And there you see still an utterly blinded person who hadn’t sight of his own false attitude. He just couldn’t get outside the realm of, “What could Jacob think about? What could he scheme?” It wasn’t Jacob wrestling with the angel; it was the angel wrestling with Jacob because Jacob was self-enclosed. And the angel wrestled with Jacob to get him out of that self-enclosure. How could he do it? How could he get him out? Here was Jacob making some last scheme. “Now what last scheme can I make? I know Esau will snap his fingers at the camels and he will snap his fingers at the families. What can I do? Oh, I know what I’ll do. At least I have a good strong pair of legs because I’ve lived in the wilderness for twenty years. I can run harder than Esau. I’ll run for it anyhow.”

So the angel touched his thigh. Bang! Crack! He couldn’t even walk. That’s the way God gets us. In a flash it opened. No one can say how that opening comes. It’s just that he saw. He saw after twenty-one years that although he loved his God, although he was a believer and a true follower, his whole being in the methods of service was centred around the way he could do it. And he saw it! And those energetic arms that clung around himself clung now around the living God. It was God-like energy in the right place. And so instead of saying, “I will not let Jacob go,”Jacob said, “I will not let you go. You have to bless me.”

He came through. The union took place. The angel said, “Now Jacob, you’re a Prince. You have prevailed with God and you’ve prevailed with man. The next day when Esau came Jacob couldn’t run; he couldn’t even walk; he limped as he went. He was a good prey for Esau all right, and Esau came and said, “Now my day is come.” “But when he was within ten yards of Jacob those arms of Esau’s, which had been aching for twenty years to drive a spear into Jacob, went around Jacob and he kissed him. He couldn’t help it. God changed him in a second. That’s union, and that’s authority. But you always see passing through somehow a devastating eye-opener to my helpless self, and to the One Who’s given to me. That blessed One always is. He always was in Moses if Moses could only have seen it. He always was in Jacob if Jacob could only have seen it. But you can’t see Him and yourself at the same time.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “The Liberated Self”