Reading: Genesis 32:1-12 and 22-32
Jacob’s trip to Canaan is very dramatic. He meets angels, he fears Esau who is coming; Jacob prays fervently, wrestles with God and becomes lame. What is happening?
Jacob is sinful. Instead of trusting the Lord, he always takes control of his own life, even using deception. Instead of patiently waiting for God to bless, Jacob tried to be blessed by his own schemes. But it causes many problems. He now must meet Esau who before threatened to kill him (Genesis 27:41).
Before Jacob enters the Promised Land the Lord confronts him. Jacob must repent, be humble and confess he totally depends on God. First merciful God encourages him by sending angels, as a reminder of God’s care. God then works change in Jacob’s heart. See how Jacob now humbly prays. Hosea 12:4 tells us that Jacob wept, and sought God’s grace. He confesses his unworthiness and seeks God’s help to deal with Esau.
Finally God wrestles with Jacob. God touches Jacob’s hip so he walks with a limp – a permanent weakness. Jacob now understands: I am powerless. I must leave my old sinful “Jacob” behind and become a new person. I must not depend on my sinful schemes, but obey God, and trust fully in Him. I put my life and future in His almighty hands. I am weak; my strength is faith in God. It is a mighty struggle, and Jacob prevails (vs 28). That is, he submits to God and is blessed. Jacob is now more suitable to be a patriarch. To remember this occasion God re-names him Israel.
Key text: Genesis 32:10 “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant”.
Question: What do you learn for your own life from Jacob’s repentance in Genesis 32?