(Gen 32:24 NKJV) Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 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.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Imagine you are on your way to meet your estranged brother and you have sent the others a little ahead so you can have a quiet night to yourself to think about what’s coming. Then all of a sudden you’re not alone there is a stranger struggling with you. This was not in your plan, you were trying to figure out a way to avoid the fight you know is coming and suddenly you are in another fight. An unexpected fight.
This unexpected fight goes on and on literally all night. When the stranger didn’t clearly win the contest he makes what an official might call a foul and gets the hip out of joint. You cling to your opponent seeking a blessing.
In those days words were taken far more seriously than they are these days. To receive a blessing was considered nearly the same as receiving the thing itself. Jacob must have been weary after the night of struggle and was still facing the meeting with his brother, he needed the gift of blessing.
That blessing he received had to be one of the most important things imaginable. He was given the gift of a name change. Names always meant something and his had been a rather negative thing. Because he had come out of the womb holding his brother’s heal he was given a name which meant “He who grabs the heal”, or deceiver. Living up to his name, he had stolen his brother’s birthright and ended up running for his life. His new name, Israel, was “he who struggles with God.” It was a princely name not a label for a liar and thief. He had seen the face of God and lived.
Lord, help me in the times of struggle. Change me till I am something better than I was. Thank you for being there to lean on whenever I find myself limping through life.
Annette C. Agnello
Annette, has been writing for over forty years. Until recently she has worked in the public school system. Her husband, Mario, is a minister who currently has a prison ministry.
"It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery- from The Little Prince.~ http://onceagain.freeblogit.com/ and
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/just4christianwomen2journal/ and http://annette-agnello.livejournal.com/