As Jacob returns to the Promised Land to meet his brother Esau, he sends gifts ahead in attempt to appease his brother. (Genesis 32:21-30) So his gifts went before him while he settled down for the night in the camp. 22–23 But during the night he got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He got them safely across the brook along with all his possessions. 24–25 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint. 26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” 27 The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” 28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” 29 Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?” The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him.30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”
God was preparing Jacob for the next leg of his spiritual journey in this time. How has the Lord worked in your life in a similar way? God wants us to learn how to depend upon Him along our journey. When Jacob wrestled with God something interesting happened to him. The Lord touched his hip resulting in a limp, He blessed him, and He changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The Lord had set Jacob on a new path along his journey.
Why would the Lord touch Jacob’s hip and give him a limp? Sometimes a wound is a very special act of God’s grace. (Grace is God’s undeserved love.) Jacob struggled with the “man” all night. But when he suffered the wound, he must have realized how powerful this Visitor was. At that point, he wanted a blessing from this powerful Visitor. Many times the Lord uses our wounds to draw us closer to Him. Jacob was suffering from a wounded relationship with his brother and the limp reminded him to look to God for help. Wounds can be physical, relational, or even the loss of a dream. God can use a wound to force us to cling to and depend on Him.
Where in your life is the Lord leading you to depend more on Him? How would depending more on the Lord begin to change your spiritual journey? How has the Lord blessed you along your journey?
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Ge 32:21–30). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.