Genesis Chapter 32 verse 22-32
22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok.
23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had.
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. (Do any of you know who this man is?) God. Jacob literally wrestled with God all night long, Jacob was determined to win. I do not want to get too deep into theology but Jacob’s mental health would have not been in good condition at this time, so I think we can also safely say he wrestled with God mentally as well as physically. He was in despair, fearful, and had just been praying to God pleading for God to make intervention and wondering “God why is this happening, take it away, don’t let this happen, remove this problem I have”. We all have moments. And God answered Jacob in person. Not by an Angel, but face to face in an observable form. I think what was happening is Jacob had to become broken, and God was helping him reach that brokenness by wrestling with him.
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. Surely God would not do this to be cruel to Jacob, I think one of the reasons was to test Jacob’s perseverance and sincerity. Now Jacob was broken, his hip would not be the same again… but Jacob would not let God go. Jacob had realised he cannot continue any longer without God’s blessing.
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
Even with his hip out of joint, Jacob persisted and pro claimed he wanted God’s blessing. Remember how previously Jacob had deceived his dad to steal Esau’s blessing, but now here we see Jacob wrestling with God directly asking God for a blessing. God was testing Jacob. How much do you really want this blessing?
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.” God was testing Jacob and Jacob passed the test. Through Jacob, Israel he nation will be created and Jesus the Messiah will be born…
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. Why are you asking my name? You already know who I am, I am who I am. If I am not I am, why ask me for a blessing? – Jacob Got the blessing of God.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
It is a miracle, God manifested in an observable form to visit Jacob Face to Face and God did this for Jacob so he could live (because no man can see God face to face in his true essence and live, the Glory of God would kill him.) If God did this for Jacob then surely Jacob’s knows his future is secure, he is safe from Esau.
31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.
So the hand of God himself touched Jacob on the hip, and now he was limping. Surely God would not do this to be cruel to Jacob, especially as just after he blessed him! Jacob could no longer stand by his own strength but had to be humbled and rely on wooden stick. Being humbled can only be a good thing and also it would be a reminder forever of this miraculous moment in time when he saw God face to face and wrestled with Him. Now when Esau finally arrives to meet Jacob, Esau will be faced by a humbled crippled man who could not stand by his own strength but is leaning on a wooden stick. Would Esau be humbled by this sight? Perhaps this sight was to help cause Esau to not seek revenge?
Will Esau think “Yes, he is crippled he will be easy to beat up” or will he think “Oh no, he is crippled, now I can’t get my revenge because it will be dishonourable to beat up a crippled man” or will he think “My poor brother whom I am so happy to see, what happened to you?”.
32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.