Friday 13 November 2020

Bible Book:

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. (v. 24)

Genesis 32:22-32 Friday 13 November 2020

Psalm 23


On Wednesday we read about Jacob and Esau’s estrangement and here we have Jacob journeying to become reconciled with his brother. He has no idea what reception he will get and has sent gifts ahead in an attempt to soften Esau’s mood. Now it is dark and he is completely alone. It is here that a truly extraordinary event takes place: Jacob wrestles with God. What does this mean? It’s an unprecedented event which sees a mortal man actually take on the immortal, all-powerful God and not lose.

It is intriguing how little detail we get about the actual fight, as if the darkness lends a shroud of secrecy to the encounter until day dawns and we read of the fight ending. It’s easy to want answers, but sometimes the biggest struggles we face are the ones that leave us with unresolved questions. This is a passage that is often used as an analogy for mental and emotional trauma, and these are certainly experiences that can leave us desperately searching for answers.

Jacob may not get all the answers he seeks, but he does find out where God is: God is wrestling too. God is not trying to defeat Jacob, as if this is what God wanted it could easily have been done. Instead God is struggling and hurting alongside Jacob. Likewise we don’t always get the answers we seek, but we can know that God is struggling and hurting alongside us. Perhaps God is even providing us with a means to express our struggles when we’re unable to cope with our own emotional and mental torments.

God is with Jacob throughout and eventually gives him what he most desires – Jacob is given a blessing of his own. And so the chain of events set in motion when Jacob steals his brother’s birthright comes to a close. Not only is he able to become reconciled with his brother, he is also able to make peace with himself.

To Ponder:

  • Has there been a time when God has struggled with or alongside you?
  • Is there someone you are struggling to be reconciled with?
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