“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”
Twenty years had transpired since Jacob left home. He left to escape the wrath of Esau and also to find a bride. God had tremendously blessed Jacob, but now it was time to return to the land of promise. For Jacob, the trip was not joyful. He was greatly apprehensive about meeting Esau. In preparation of their meeting, Jacob separated hundreds of heads of livestock to be given as a present to pacify Esau before Jacob saw his face. Still troubled in his soul, the Bible says that Jacob rose in the night, separated his family and servants, and sent all his possessions ahead.
Jacob, as our text says, “was left alone.” Being alone, “there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” This one that wrestled with Jacob is referred to in the Scripture both as an angel and as God. No doubt it was a pre-incarnate manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jacob insisted that he would not let Him go until he received a blessing. Jacob needed help. He needed a touch from God. Jacob was indeed blessed, as they wrestled through the night. The Lord touched him mightily. He would bear in his body a limp, which would serve as a permanent reminder of this encounter. Also, his name was changed from Jacob to Israel, as the Bible says, “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:28). The very one that Jacob was wrestling with turned out to be the bearer of his blessing.
We are reminded of how we have found ourselves wrestling with some event or circumstance in life. Perhaps without realizing it, we are actually wrestling with the One who allowed the circumstance to invade our lives. Have you ever wrestled with something that you did not want to do, even though you thought it might be God’s will? How many of us have, in our minds and hearts, wrestled with the One who has the power to bring great blessing into our lives? To be sure, the wisest thing for us to do is surrender to what we believe God would have for us.
God wants to bless us in ways that we sometimes cannot imagine. He wants the very best for us. He wants to help us discover and delight in His will. God can be trusted with the details of our lives. Jacob’s trouble turned out to be the occasion for God to do a mighty work of grace in his life.