_ In chapter 32 the LORD brings Jacob to a place in his life where his faith is tested just as it was with Abraham and Isaac. He is afraid to go back because of Esau, but the LORD has spoken he must go back; it is there he and his descendents will be blessed.
How do you win a fight with God?
First off, let me point out that Jacob didn’t go to God; God came to Jacob to wrestle with him. Why? Jacob was “obeying” God to go back, but he was trying to do it in his own strength again! He was double-minded and unstable; he wanted to believe that the LORD would be with him, bless him, and protect him from his brother, but he knew the character of Esau and was afraid. We see that God came down to wrestle with him, but this was just the outward; the real wrestling match was going on in the heart of Jacob. Just as Jacob refused to let God win, so he had done the same in his life up until then. God had no option but to put his hip out of joint; He removed Jacobs’s strength. Jacob couldn’t “win” the fight now, and he couldn’t escape from Esau anymore. If he was going to go forward, he would have to trust God alone. With Jacob’s strength gone, all he could do is hold on to God for His blessings now; mainly the blessing of God performing His promises to him. I think verse 31 is a powerful picture of what victory looks like in the life of a believer: “Just as he crossed over Penuel (Meaning: face or seeing God) the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.” Victory isn’t us walking in our strength, but when we recognize our weakness and inability of ourselves and our heart trusts God alone. Then we will see the God’s presence rise upon us.
Question: What is the meaning of the altar he named “El Elohe Israel” in Genesis 33:20, and why is this significant? (See also Gen. 28:20 & 21)
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan