Thursday, June 11, 2015

Reading Six: Jacob Wrestles God

Genesis 32:22-32

In our passage today we see another name change. Jacob lived up to his name. Jacob means "heel" or "deceiver" and he lived up to both those names. Jacob and his brother Esau were twins and they had a battle in the womb to be born first. The firstborn is the one who gets all the inheritance. Well Esau came out first with Jacob clutching at his heel afterwards. 

Jacob was also a deceiver. He did not trust anyone to give anything to him. Even though God told his mother, Rebekah, that Jacob was going to rule over Esau, Jacob did not leave it up to God to deal with. First, when Esau came back from hunting and was starving he made Esau trade his birthright for the stew that Jacob had made thus taking the inheritance. Then, when Isaac was on his deathbed, Jacob pretended to be Esau to trick his father into giving him the firstborn blessing. Jacob deceived his way into Esau's inheritance and Esau's blessing.

This trickery led to trouble for Jacob. He had to flee from Esau eventually working for a man named Laban. He worked for Laban for 14 years in order to marry his daughter Rachel. He also made a deal with Laban that his pay for the work would be the sheep and goats that were speckled or spotted. He used branches in the water to make the sheep give birth to speckled or spotted animals (I do not know how but he did it) and thus most of the flock was given to him. Eventually all his trickery, as well as the trickery of Laban, forced Jacob to flee from Laban.

Then we come to the changing point in Jacob's life when he wrestles with God. Again Jacob does not wait for something to happen but literally fights for a blessing. Jacob was so determined that we was actually winning the wrestling match so God reached out and touched his hip dislocating it (Genesis 32:25). Even though he had a dislocated hip he would not let go of God until He blessed him. God blessed him and changed his name to "Israel," which means "God fights," to show that God would fight for His people.

Jacob's life changed from that point. He went back to his homeland and made peace with Esau and no longer used deception but trusted in the blessing he had received from God.

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