Jacob Wrestled with God, Genesis 32-34. After everyone has left, Jacob remained alone to face God. All of Jacob's life had been a struggle. Even before he was born, he wrestled with Esau in his mother's womb, and his life with Laban continued to be a life of struggle. Jacob was weary of struggling and desired peace with God.
1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God's camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim [two camps].
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.”
Genesis 32:1-2 & 24-28, ESV
After leaving Laban, Jacob continued on to the land of Canaan, where he was met by the angels of God.
Remember, Jacob is afraid to return home because His brother, Esau, has vowed to kill him. Yet, this is the path through which God has led him, which God acknowledged by sending angels to Jacob.
Jacob wrestled with God in prayer, calling upon Him to protect him and all of his family and property. He also devised a plan to appease Esau by sending gifts.
After everyone has left, Jacob remained alone to face God. All of Jacob's life had been a struggle. Even before he was born, he wrestled with Esau in his mother's womb, and his life with Laban continued to be a life of struggle. Jacob was weary of struggling and desired peace with God. Even though the angels of God had met him, and even though God specifically told him that he would bless him in Canaan, Jacob had no peace.
Jacob wrestled with God the entire night; as daybreak came the man touched his hip socket and made it come out of joint. Still, Jacob did not let go. “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” he said to the man. Look at the blessing the man [God] game to him, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
What was the significance of this name change? The name, Jacob, meant "the deceiver." Truly Jacob had learned well how to use deceit to get his own way. Now, he was no longer the deceiver, but was "Israel," which meant, "one who struggled with God."
Right then and there, as Jacob wrestled with God, he renewed his covenant with God; no longer would he attain things through deceit, but would, rather, live in the peace of God, who alone could provide for all of his needs.
Does that mean that Jacob's life was without struggle? No, Jacob had much grief to come, but his sight was focused on God to rescue and uphold him.
In who or what do you trust? Have you had your own struggle with God? As Jacob wrestled with God, we all must wrestle with God until we come to Him by faith and trust in Him completely for all of our needs in this life, and a safe passage into heaven to be with Him forever. This "man" was Christ; our only hope and salvation is found in Christ, alone.
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