22-23 Jacob got up in the middle of the night and took his wives, his eleven children, and everything he owned across to the other side of the Jabbok River for safety. 24 Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone.
A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. 26They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It's almost daylight.”
“You can't go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.
27Then the man asked, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 The man said, “From now on, your name will no longer be Jacob. You will be called Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won.”
29 Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”
“Don't you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob.
30Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.” So he named the place Peniel. 31The sun was coming up as Jacob was leaving Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, 32and the muscle on his hip joint had been injured. That's why even today the people of Israel don't eat the hip muscle of any animal.
We crave God’s blessings. It is difficult to realize that some of God’s greatest blessings come through the “changing of our character” rather than the “changing of circumstances.”
That is what occurred between God and Jacob. A strange event took place during the night before Jacob was to meet with Esau, the brother whom he had so viciously hurt twenty years before. Alone before God, an angel appeared in the form of a man and started wrestling with Jacob. They wrestled all night and Jacob would not give up. He told the man: “You can’t go until you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Jacob not only needed redemption from his past sins, he needed assurance that everything would be all right. He desperately needed God’s blessing.
When we pray and ask God for help us, he always shows up to help us grow stronger in our character and spirit. Inner strength through God helps us wrestle through life’s challenges. But this spiritual transformation always involves a struggle.
- We need to wrestle through the pain and ugliness of our past sins.
- We need to know we have been forgiven.
- We need assurance that God still loves us and that we have His blessings.
After Jacob struggled with the man the entire night, the man finally said: “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be ‘Israel’” (which means “God rules”) (v 28). Then the man blessed him.
What joy when we wrestle through our past sins to come to a place of freedom, peace and inner transformation. Then the best part of all is to know we have God’s blessing today and into eternity.
Dear Father God,
Thank you that you never give up on me. God please make me strong in spirit and character so that I can face all the challenges in my life. Thank you that the bible tells me that I have already received all Your blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Amen.