Monday, October 09, 2006

Genesis 32 "Jacob Heads Home" Wrestles with the Lord"

Jacob is named Israel in this chapter.

Genesis 32:1 "And Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him."

Jacob has crossed the river with only his staff and now he is headed home with a host. He has not forgotten the threats Esau made against his life and so sends messengers ahead to announce his coming. The messengers apparently did not talk to Esau or maybe they did and received no message from Esau for all they said was that Esau was coming to meet Jacob with 400 men. It was enough to make Jacob greatly afraid. v7 "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks and herds and the camels into two bands v8 And said if Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape."

Perhaps some would have turned back or changed direction but instead, Jacob prayed. It says a lot for his changing character. He recounts his journey from home and humbles himself by admitting his unworthiness then reminds the Lord of His promise. v12 "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude."

Jacob then sends three groups of gifts ahead to Esau seperated by a space with each group having a message for Esau. It is sort of like when a man sends a lady a gift to arrive before their date. Jacob made a point in the message that he, Jacob, was Esau's servant. Then he said "...and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me." v20

Jacob is now left alone after they were all passed over the brook except him. It is then that he wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. v24 Jacob would not let the man go without giving him a blessing. I believe it was the Lord. Some say an angel. Jacob did receive his blessing and we find it in verse 28. "...Thy name shall be called no more Jacob (subplanter) but Israel for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed." Jacob asked the name of the one he wrestled with. Jacob's conclusion is described in verse 30 "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." During the wrestling match and so Jacob would release him He touched Jacob's thigh and Jacob went on his way with a limp.

Jacob has changed since he left home. His name is now Israel meaning 'the prince that prevails with God'. He has also learned to pray since he left. I found a verse that will perhaps show these changes in Jacob back in verse 10 "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou has showed unto thy servant...'

Too many times, we forget our position in relation to the Lord. He is the maker of everything including us. The journey often gets difficult. It is not appropriate for us to get angry with God when this happens. Even when the road is rough, He is still there. Instead of anger, our appropriate attitude should be as Jacob that we are unworthy still but could sure use some help.

Proverbs 18:19 "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle."

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