Wrestling with God - Genesis 32

Wrestling with God

Genesis 32:1-32

Mild Jacob wasn't the bravest of men.  His brother Esau hated him, and threatened to kill him, because Jacob had stolen his blessing.  Their mother, Rebekah, told Jacob to run to her brother, Laban, in Haran.  After twenty years with his uncle Laban, he tried to sneak away and return to the land of Canaan and his family.  Realizing that Esau was there, he sent messengers ahead to him, hoping that he would be welcomed home.  "Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, 'We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.'"  Genesis 32:6.  This wasn't exactly the reception that Jacob wanted.

When Jacob heard that Esau was coming, he "was greatly afraid and distressed."  Genesis 32:7.  Jacob, the conniver, made plans to save lives, and also to appease his brother with waves of gifts.

That night "Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day."  Genesis 32:24.  The Man was God, which is evident from Jacob naming the place Peniel, which literally means face of God.  Jacob wrestled with God.

Who do you think won the wrestling match?  In Genesis 32:25, 26 we read, "Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.  And He said, 'Let Me go, for the day breaks.'  But he said, 'I will not let You go unless You bless me!'"  Jacob was in great pain, but persistently held on to the Lord.

God didn't say, "Yes, I will bless you," or "No, I will not bless you."  Instead He asked, "What is your name?"  The crippled wrestler answered, "Jacob."  Jacob?  Yes, the supplanter, the liar, the deceiver!  "And He said, 'Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.'"  Genesis 32:27, 28.  Prevailed...and with men?  Esau is coming with four hundred men!  If Jacob had prevailed against God, what man could stand up against him?  "And He blessed him there."  Genesis 32:29.

Obviously God allowed Himself to be overcome.  The Man suffered defeat by design, not by any lack of power or strength.  That morning "the sun rose on him (Israel), and he limped on his hip."  Genesis 32:31.  This prince with God walked with a limp for the rest of his life, but he was a changed man, ready to face a new day.

Esau was coming.  Jacob still took measures to protect his family, and with humility approached his brother.  No turning back now.  "But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept."  Genesis 33:4.  God's fighter, Israel, was welcomed home.

 

Lord, You know how to deal with us.  You are so gracious and kind.  Thank You for strengthening us in the inner man, that we might be the people that You want us to be.  Arm us with faith and humility as we do battle for You.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Joseph, the Dreamer - Genesis 37

 
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