Reading: Genesis 32: 22-31
Verse 24: Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
God directs Jacob to return home. He is being led to return to the family that he tricked and stole from. This worries Jacob. As he nears home, he sends all his family and all he owns across the stream and he remains alone on the far side. The scene is set for some alone time with God.
At times we find ourselves in a similar situation. We are returning to or going someplace that causes us some fear or worry or anxiety. We may be the cause of it or it could be from things outside of us that are causing the uneasiness. Yet we know we must go. Here we too seek some guidance or direction or encouragement from God. We want to know that we do not go alone.
“Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak”. As turmoil stirs around inside Jacob, a man comes and wrestles with him. It could be an angel. It could be a man sent by God. It could be God. Whatever the case, Jacob realizes that this is a powerful foe and this leads him to demand a blessing. He has already sent quite a blessing across the stream – his wives and children, his large herds and flocks, and his many possessions. Yet he demanded more. God has blessed him and now he asks for more.
In our times of trial and stress, we who have also been blessed often go to God asking for more. Sometimes God will allow us to do a bit of wrestling too. God will allow us to sit in our feelings of uncertainty and fear because it leads us back to Him. He wants to know if we too will hold on tightly. Jacob does not give up in the wrestling match and he is rewarded. He receives a new name – Israel – the one who struggled with God. Jacob departs the scene knowing that God is with him. It is now a hopeful future for Jacob.
At times we too will wrestle with God. We too will struggle and ask the “why” questions. In this story we see that God is faithful to those who hold tightly to Him, to those who remain steadfast. May we ever hold tightly to our God, trusting in His blessings.