You are here


Friday, January 27, 2023
Bible Meditation: 
Genesis 32: 22-32

“…Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed”Genesis 32:28b

GOD met Jacob alone at the ford of Jabbok with His WORD of TRANSFORMATION: “And He said,Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Gen.32:28). This text narrates Jacob's wrestling match and conversation with God, chronicling the story of when Jacob became Israel. After sending his family ahead, Jacob spent the night alone. During the night, he encountered a “Man” who changed his name, his posture, and his life. The event parallels the nation of “Israel” who would bear his name as well as his “struggle” with God. The nation honoured this event by refusing to eat that part of Jacob that God touched.

Left alone, Jacob had with him only what he had when he first left home – no family, flocks or servants. He sent over everything that he had. All his wealth, which had been the pursuit of his life for the past 20 years, seemed insignificant now (vv.22-23). Next, a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day” (v.24). Much of Jacob’s life to this point had been about wrestling. He wrestled with his brother for a birth-right and blessing; he wrestled with Laban for his family and wealth; and here, he wrestled with God for a blessing much greater than the father’s blessing that he had stolen from Esau. Apart from mirroring Israel’s wrestling with God, Jacob’s episode also pictures the “struggle” believers may endure to receive God’s blessing. His resolve to persist serves as a model for believers through dark, lonely nights.

Although no explanation is offered for the wrestle by the unidentified “Man,” the thinly veiled mystery of the identity of the “Man” is resolved in 32:30: So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Jacob obviously didn’t know who it was with whom he wrestled all night! Hosea records that he wrestled with an “Angel” (Hos.12:4). The episode was another “reminder” of God’s presence with Jacob as He had promised. However, that the Lord saw that “He did not prevail against” Jacob does not suggest weakness or a “discovery” of something that He didn’t know (v.25). It, rather, suggests Jacob’s resilience to not let go.

The Lord struck Jacob in the hip – thigh, side or loin – the location where Abraham had his servant place his hand when he made a vow to be faithful in finding a bride for Isaac (Gen. 24:2; Cf. Gen.47:29; Jer.31:19). But even after Jacob was injured, he still did not let go! The significance of him being struck in the hip could relate to loins as the source of his procreative ability. Or, it could refer to the vow that he made to the Lord. What is clear is that Jacob desired a greater blessing (v.26). He therefore requested for the identity of his opponent (v.27). In a tradition that is rich in both Testaments of changing names to reflect a new life’s purpose, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (v.28). Jacob would no longer be known by the dubious nature of his earlier life – trickery, grabbing by the heel – but by his wrestling with God. His new name cannot be separated from his limp. The “shrinking” of his muscle corresponds to the expanding of his faith (v.32).

Jacob was credited as having “prevailed” (v.28). His request to learn God’s “name” mirrors the request of the “Man” for his own name (vv.27,29). Jacob then discovered the identity of his opponent; hence he called the place “Peniel” meaning “face of God” or “facing God” (v.30). Jacob’s new name was marked by the changing of the name of the place where the Divine Wrestling match occurred. It was only by God’s Grace, and not his strength that his life was preserved in the encounter. Finally, the rising sun marked a new dawn – a fresh light – in Jacob’s life (v.31). He was still limping, but walked straighter, touched and transformed. God’s Word of Transformation was at work!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, let Your WORD of TRANSFORMATION bring a New Identity and Fresh Light to prevail in life's wrestling trials, in Jesus’ name.
Newsletter category: 

Latest Tweets

No tweets to display now.

Our Vision

The vision of KCOM is that:
"the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas" (Habakkuk 2:14).
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Copyright © 2013–2024 Kingdom Capstone Outreach Ministry. | Designed by ZoeWox Technologies