22 That night Jacob got up. He took his two wives, his two female servants and his 11 sons and sent them across the Jabbok River. 23 After they had crossed the stream, he sent over everything he owned. 24 So Jacob was left alone. A man wrestled with him until morning. 25 The man saw that he couldn’t win. So he touched the inside of Jacob’s hip. As Jacob wrestled with the man, Jacob’s hip was twisted. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go. It is morning.” But Jacob replied, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob anymore. Instead, it will be Israel. You have wrestled with God and with people. And you have won.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel. He said, “I saw God face to face. But I’m still alive!” 31 The sun rose above Jacob as he passed by Peniel. He was limping because of his hip. 32 That’s why the Israelites don’t eat the meat attached to the inside of an animal’s hip. They don’t eat it to this day. It’s because the inside of Jacob’s hip was touched.
Prior to this wrestle with God, Jacob had forwarded gifts to Esau in preparation to meet him again after so many years, and had sent his family across the ford of Jabbok.
It was while he was alone, that he then wrestled with a man for the remainder of the night. This man turned out to be God, who then blessed Jacob and renamed him Israel, because he had “struggled with God and with men and have overcome”. (Interesting to note that the Israelites continued to struggle with man and with God for centuries to follow, and still do!)
This was a turning point in Jacob’s life. Could God have overpowered Jacob? Of course he could of. But He didn’t. He wanted Jacob to experience the struggle.
How often have we struggled in relationships with people. How often have we struggled with God? Maybe not physically as Jacob had, but a struggle is a struggle.
Lord, help me to endure struggles as You would have me do so, for the purpose to learn and to grow as You desire. Amen
Written by Steve Fell