Jacob has left Laban and on his way back home. During his journey, angels of God met him and Jacob he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim which means two camps; one being God’s and one being his own.
Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau, carrying gifts and Jacob has moved his family across the river.
When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
And now Jacob alone?
Let’s read Genesis 32:24-26 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Then a man came during the night and Jacob wrestled with him.
So, who is the man? We are told in…………………Hosea 12:3-5 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God. 4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there— 5 the Lord God Almighty, the Lord is his name!
Wait a minute…..how can it be God when God himself said.
Exodus 33:20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
So, how can it be God? Because of what Jesus told Phillip.
John 14:8-9 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Wait…what? How can it be Jesus when this is hundreds of years before his birth.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
John 8:58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
God and Jesus are One, Jesus the man came in birth, Jesus as Lord has always existed.
Why was Jacob wrestling with God?
First of all because God calls us to wrestle with Him. Say what!….When?
When He called you to believe in Him as the Creator and Savior of the world.
Ø People wrestle with that decision every day.
Ø Moses, Jonah, Abraham, Peter and Paul all wrestled with God when He called on them to do something for His kingdom.
Ø When God called you to share Him with someone else, but you couldn’t decide to do it or not.
Therefore, we all wrestle or struggle every day to make a decision with the things God calls us to do.
Ok, if Jacob is wrestling with Jesus how can He not overpower Jacob?
Do you remember the Parable of the Persistent Widow?
Turn to Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
In our life, like Jacob, God holds all the power to give us whatever we need. We only need to have the persistence to pray in faith in order to receive it.
That is exactly what happen with Jacob. He was not going to give up his faith in God in order to receive God’s blessing.
The man says…….“Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
Jacob knows, his brother Esau, when the last time they spoke said he would kill Jacob, is coming with 400 men.
Jacob is scared and knows when the new day comes, death may be at coming.
Jacob needed God desperately. He felt that all was lost, Unless God intervened.
He had to have God’s help.
That is the message for us…the day (daybreak) is coming when death is coming for all of us.
There is nothing we can send ahead to clear the way for us. Our wealth will not cover us, and we cannot send anyone in our place.
We desperately need our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to intervene or all will be lost.
God reached out, touching Jacob, blessing him.
This touch would affect the walk of Jacob for the rest of his life. Jacob would never be the same again.
Let’s read Genesis 32:27 -29 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
When we had our children I never thought about the meaning of their names. We just named them on what came to mind ( I do believe God gave the names to Donna and me).
Curious…I looked up their names’ meaning for this lesson.
Ø Laura means – honor and victory
Ø Tina means – “a Christian”.
Ø Adam means – Man, Of The Earth.
While at the hospital after they were born, no one there; not the doctors, not the nurse had the power or right to name our children but us.
Sometimes in the Bible, God changed the names of the people He called. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, Simon’s name to Peter and Saul’s name to Paul.
Isaiah 49:15-16 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
Remember what we learned in an earlier lesson? The meaning of Jacob is “deceiver”
I read this quote: Jacob’s personal name changed from one meaning “heel-catcher” or “deceiver” to one meaning “God’s fighter” or “he struggles with God”
With his new walk in life having a strong faith in the Lord, God changes his name Israel.
By doing this God showed his authority over Jacob’s and the power to change his circumstances and his life.
Then Jacob asked the Man’s name and what was the reply? “Why do you ask my name?”
God’s question was rhetorical, God asked it to make a statement rather than to produce an answer from Jacob.
Do you remember when Moses ask that same question?
Exodus 3:13 But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
God replied to Moses, “I am who I am”
He was saying the same thing to Jacob, you know who “I AM” , because he knew exactly who God is.
And we know that was good enough for Jacob, because of what he did next.
Let’s read Genesis 32:30-32 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
As he was scared because he would soon face his brother Esau, Jacob’s now knew God has spared his life for what laid ahead of him.
Jacob showed his new God given authority by renaming the place Peniel because he Faced God.
Turn to 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Jacob knew that with the sunrise of a new day God has given him more than he ever deserved.
Jacob would never look at things the same way again.
So why did God give Israel a limp for the rest of his life?
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The same reason he gave Paul a thorn in his flesh.
To remind him of his encounter with God.