Wrestling with God

Jacob received a new name from God.  His old name meant “deceiver” and was an apt description of his life.  But after a mysterious encounter with God, Jacob was never the same.  He received a new name that reflected God’s grace to him and his descendants.  Encountering God leads to a fundamental change of identity and purpose.

Here are some of my notes from time in the Word:

  1. This family keeps moving east (Gen. 3:24; 4:16; 11:2; 13:11; 29:1; 32:22) further away from the Promised Land the presence of God.
  2. Before God would use Jacob, he had to change Jacob.
  3. “For you have striven with God and with men” is a great description of the man and the nation coming behind him (Gen. 32:28).
  4. God wanted to use Jacob’s determination but with Israel’s brokenness.
  5. Being renamed meant being reborn.  In this day and time, it indicated a new identity (Gen. 32:28).
  6. God wrestles (ye’abeq) with Jacob (ya’aqob) by the Jabbok (yabboq).
  7. God picks the fight (Gen. 32:24).
  8. There isn’t a fight that God doesn’t start and finish.
  9. God allows this fight to prolong to the point where Jacob is exhausted and has come to his end completely.  A perfect place to start again.
  10. You don’t walk away from an encounter with God without a limp (Gen. 32:31).
  11. Grace ensures we will never be the same.
  12. It is not enough to rid yourself of other gods, you must bury them (Gen. 35:3-4).
  13. God presents himself as El Shaddai (God Almighty) to Jacob (Gen. 35:11) just as he did to Abraham (Gen. 17:1) and Isaac (Gen. 28:3).
  14. God’s blessings are never meant to be hoarded (Gen. 35:9).
  15. God gives Jacob a blessing (Gen. 35:9), a new identity (Gen. 35:10), and a responsibility (Gen. 35:11).
  16. Jacob, who had one time ran from his family, now returns as Israel limping towards them.