LFM – 7 Feb 2016
Genesis 32:22-31 (NLT)
Jacob Wrestles with God
22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”
31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.
- Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and blessing
- Jacob ran away for 20 or so years
- The Lord told him to go back to his father’s land and people
- Jacob was fearful of his brother Esau and he was not confident in his wisdom in trying to win Esau’s favor
- Matatu culture in our society – jipange
- He sent gifts, he strategized by dividing his camp and so on but was still not satisfied.
- But interestingly he also prayed to God to deliver him from the hand of Esau.
- When Jacob was all alone, taking time off from his possessions and family – being busy , he was visited by God.
- God patiently wrestled with Jacob, trying to remove him from the ways of the world and self effort – ujanja , and come fully into the ways of God relying totally on God
- Want God to be the potter and us the clay
- Giving a child medicine
- The man not being able to prevail, decided to dislocate Jacobs hip.
- This was to bring some pain into Jacobs life and leave him to see if Jacob will seek the Lord because of the pain.
- Jacob, finally recognising that he should totally be relying on God, decided to cry out to God to bless him.
- After Jacob surrendering , God gave Jacob a new identity, changing his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (God fights), changing him from self reliance that includes deception to waiting on God to guide you.
- Born again with a new identity after dying to the things of the world / flesh
- The place was named Peniel (face of God), because he came face to face with the reality that it is all about God who patiently wrestles with us trying to take us away from the things of this world / flesh so that he can bless us.
- Jacob left the place with a different walk, being a changed man.
- An encounter with God never leaves you the same again
- My experience in my family left me with a new perspective of God and life – though limping , but blessed and favoured by the Lord
LESSONS – A true encounter with God never leaves us the same again
- We actually win when we lose to God
2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10
- God tell us that His power is made perfect in our weakness
- Paul concludes that when I am weak, then I am strong
- We should recognise God as Jehovah – I AM
- Jacob’s wrestling with God symbolises his struggle to trust God as Jehovah – I AM
- That God can be whatever Jacob wants God to be in His life – his healer, provider and protector as in the case with his brother Esau
- Jacobs name is changed to Israel to remind him to trust in God over his own abilities
- Realize that we are nothing but by the grace of God we prosper
– Surrendering everything to God and totally relying on Him
- His wealth and his wisdom could not solve Jacob’s problem
- John 15:5
- Jesus tell us that apart from me you can do nothing
- Relying on the Grace of God — and stop our strivings and deceptions to get ahead and instead take God at his Word.
- We should remember what God has done for us to ensure that we do not waver in trusting and obeying Him in future. The Word of our testimony
- Rev 12:11
- We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony
- God changes our identity to represent our new relationship with Him – Born again
- God must disable us of the ways of the world / Flesh and self for us to enter into his blessings
- Abram’s name changed to Abraham
- Saul’ name changed to Paul
- We are to humble ourselves and engage God / cry out to God / seek God for Him to move in our lives
- Psalm 51 :17
- God will not despise a broken and contrite heart
- Jacob was broken and cried out that he was not letting go until he was blessed
- The disciples in the storm with Jesus in the boat had to wake him up and cry out to Him to save them.
- We need to give God permission to work in our lives