JACOB WRESTLING WITH GOD
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Welcome back and prepare to experience
yet another awesome story from the book of Genesis. Let's look in on Jacob
again as he continues his journey home from Haran. The last thing we knew,
Laban had chased after Jacob because he had left with his daughters without
letting him say goodbye to them. Also, Rachel had stolen Laban's idols
without Jacob's knowledge of it and Laban accused Jacob of stealing them.
After peace was made and Laban went back to Haran, Jacob continued his trip
God's angels met Jacob on his way.
When Jacob saw them he said, This is God's host. He named the place where
he saw them Mahanaim, which means two armies. Can you imagine seeing an
army of God's angels? Not bread crumbs like with Hansel and Gretel to lead
God's chosen back home, but ANGELS! Ya gotta luv Him.
Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to
his brother Esau. His message said, Your servant Jacob says this, I've
spent some time with Laban and stayed there until now. I have livestock and
servants and I've sent to greet you my lord so that I may find grace in your
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When the messengers returned they said
that Jacob's brother Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men.
Jacob was scared, so he separated the people and the flocks and herds with
him into two groups. He said, If Esau comes to one group and attacks it
then the other group will escape.
Jacob prayed, Oh God of Abraham and
Isaac, you said to go home and you would protect me. Rescue me I beg you,
from Esau. I'm afraid that he will attack me and my family. You said you
would make my seed as the sand of the sea that can't be numbered.
Jacob stayed there that night, and
decided to give all that he had to his brother. He divided his servants
among the flocks and herds, as well as the camels, cows, bulls, donkeys and
colts. He sent them one group at a time in front of him, with space between
each group. He told the ones in front that when Esau asks who they are and
where they're going, they should say they are your servant Jacob's and they
are a present sent to you, and to be sure to say that Jacob was behind
them. Jacob thought that by the time his many flocks, herds and servants
had gone ahead and then he reached Esau, that his anger would diminish and
Esau would accept him.
He sent his wives and children ahead
of him over a brook there and remained behind for the night. And a man
wrestled with him there until dawn. And Jacob said, I will not let you go
unless you bless me. The man touched the inner part of his thigh which made
Jacob's thigh out of joint as they wrestled. The man said, Let me go, it's
daylight. Jacob said no, not until you bless me. Then the man asked, What
is your name? And he answered, Jacob. Then He said, Your name is no longer
Jacob, but Israel because you have power like a prince with God and with men
and have won. The name Israel means, who prevails with God.
And Jacob asked the man His name. And the man
said, Why do you ask my name and never answered. He blessed Jacob there.
And Jacob named that place Peniel (face or vision of God), and said, I have
seen the face of God and my life is preserved.
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Isn't that just so cool? Now let's get some facts straight ... We know where
the nation now known as Israel came from. Jacob's name was changed to
Israel. We know that Jacob wrestled with someone and most assume it was with
God Himself because of what Jacob said about seeing God face to face.
However ... The man asked Jacob what his name was. God knew his name was
Jacob. We also know that Jesus (When He was on Earth) said that NOBODY has
seen God's face. So just who was Jacob wrestling with? Was it an angel? Was
it the devil? Was he wrestling with he himself?
Is it coincidence that just
before he had this wrestling match, he was fearful of his brother Esau? He placed
himself alone and then had this wrestling match or struggle.
Was this God's testing of Jacob as
Abraham had his test? Was God showing Jacob that His blessing was all that
was needed, and that Esau's acceptance of him was a wrestling match of a
different kind that would last for a long time as the descendants of Esau
and Ishmael despise Israel to this day? Was Jacob wrestling with his own
faith? Was it the devil tempting him or was it God showing Jacob that Jacob
was able to overcome his fears and had the power of God to do so? Despite
what or who Jacob was wrestling with, he was pronounced as having a new name
which meant that he prevails WITH God's Power.
We all find
ourselves wrestling with God in our daily lives from time to time. We seek
our own will instead of His at times which creates the spiritual wrestling
match. If you find yourself wrestling with
God, do as Jacob did and ask Him for his blessing instead of wrestling with
Him and see how well it all turns out.
We will get to find out in our next story what happens when Jacob meets with
his brother Esau again. Until next time we share
Daily Bread ... I'll miss ya.