Genesis 32:22-32: Solitary Refinement.
“22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 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.” 27 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. 30 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.” NIV
‘’So Jacob was left alone…’’ (24). Times alone with God can be life-changing. It will be, if we really engage with Him, and don’t just go through religious motions. Extended times of prayer are important. This one lasted through the night it appears. I’m not arguing that you have to pray for hours to be a good Christian, but I do want to say that if we will give God unhurried time, good things can happen.
…and a man wrestled with him until daybreak’’ (24). Although the text says ‘’a man’’, it quickly becomes clear that Jacob met with God. Note then how God took the initiative in this ‘prayer time’. Even though there was something Jacob wanted from God (blessing), even more important was what God wanted for Jacob.
Initially, in the wrestle, Jacob was struggling against God. In a way, it was the story of his life. But he ended up clinging. That is where God wants each one of us.