God, help me to be alone and to set aside all of today’s modern distractions to be alone with You.
Read Genesis 32:22–32
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a]because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[b] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[c] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat would it be like to encounter God face to face?
It’s interesting that Jacob has two of his most intimate experiences of God when he is alone (see also 28:10–17). Jacob knows where he must go in the morning. He will face his brother. He knows that his brother might seek revenge. His life and the lives of his family are in the balance.
And so he spends the night wrestling with God asking for a blessing. Jacob’s desperation is shown in his refusal to let go of the “man” until he is blessed.
This story foreshadows Jesus’ anguished wrestling with God in Gethsemane, which blessed us through his decision to go to the cross. Many of us hesitate to argue or to wrestle with God, but being a follower of Jesus is not just about being saved but about pursuing God in prayer.
After this encounter with God, Jacob is left physically weaker with a lame hip, but he is in fact stronger, having been blessed by God. He goes back to his family and his responsibilities, ready to face his brother, knowing God’s favor.
Is this passage a challenge to wrestle in prayer over something in your life: a blessing, a breakthrough, courage?
Father, help me to silence my heart. I want to talk with You about my life and listen for Your voice.