Recently I took up again the practice of listening to the Pray As You Go podcasts* on my drive to work. (I wonder why I stopped? Well, that’s a question for another day.)
One recent podcast was the story of Jacob wrestling though the night with … here you read it and see what you think. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans,and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ (Genesis 32:24-30)
This Scripture story fascinates me! I have a hard time saying this strongly enough. The energy and determination of Jacob, his unwillingness to “give up” or “call it quits.” And even the paradoxical way the account ends with Jacob in a sense getting the blessing he asks for but getting it probably in a way he did not expect, and even being “wounded” in the process.
What aspect of the account draws your attention? Jacob’s persistence?
The nameless one Jacob fights with who cannot best Jacob but then puts his hip out of joint? Jacob’s demand for a blessing? Jacob’s new name? Or maybe Jacob’s claim to have seen God “face to face.”
What part of Jacob’s story do you identify with? If you and Jacob could sit together and talk to one another about the long struggles you have had, what struggle would you share with Jacob?
What would you tell Jacob you took away from the struggle? A limp or a new name, or …… ?