Genesis 32:22-32: Earnestly seeking.

“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


This is a rather strange story at one level. As we noted last time, a ‘’man’’ wrestled with Jacob, yet Jacob was clear that he had met with God. We have to conclude that God manifested Himself as a human being on this occasion.

Although strange in one way, the story has resonated with believers through the years, as having to do with intercessory prayer. Jacob earnestly sought the blessing of God, and received it. He learned that through faith and prayer he could ‘’overcome’’ (28) – that he could prevail with God. Jacob was also given the assurance in this experience that he would prevail, not only with Esau, but in all the struggles that still lay ahead of him.

‘In recognition of Jacob’s new status as a wrestler with God – a ‘’prayer warrior’’ – God gave him a new name, Israel, which means ‘’he struggles with God.’’ Not only did Jacob struggle with God, but in that struggle he overcame.’ Tom Hale: ‘The applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.178

Jacob was blessed right there (29), just after receiving a new name. It was the name of a new nation also. All his life he had struggled for blessings, first with Esau, and then with Laban. But now God blessed him.

PRAYER: Lord, please put in me a determined spirit to pray through to breakthrough!