Jacob Wrestles With God

Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. … More


Jacob got up in the middle of the night and took his family with their possessions across the brook Jabbok (vv. 22-23) for safety. This was about 24 miles north of the dead Sea. He then goes back and spends the night alone (v. 24). At this point Jacob experiences the second greatest spiritual crises in his life. At Bethel he saw the ladder and at Jabbok he wrestles a man who many Bible commentators identify as the pre-incarnate Christ (vv. 25-32).

The fact that this wrestling match lasted till daybreak suggests a long, decisive battle (vv. 25-26). The old, carnal, stubborn, fighting, self-sufficient, and unyielding Jacob was very much alive. It was not until the assailant touched Jacob’s hip and it went out of joint that he realized his need for a full and unconditional surrender to God. He had prayed for deliverance (Gen. 32:11) and now his prayer was answered in a way he had not expected with this face to face encounter with the living God. We see Jacob, now a man broken by God (vv. 24-27).

He was no longer fighting but clinging. He was told that his name would be changed from Jacob to Israel as he was blessed (vv. 28-29). He left Peniel limping as he said, “I have seen God face to face” (vv. 30-32). That is why even today the people of Israel don’t eat the hip muscle of any animal. Jacob’s wrestling match left him with a painful limp but a better understanding of God, and because of this painful encounter, he took a giant  spiritual leap forward.


I can have instant food, instant transportation, instant communication and instant everything but I cannot have instant holiness. It may take time and some painful experiences in life for God to bring me to spiritual maturity.

Genesis 32:22-32 (English Standard Version)

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