Jacob Wrestles with God

Jacob was afraid to be reunited with his brother Esau and so he develops a plan to send his company before him with gifts and praise. The idea was to get his brother into good spirits so that Esau would not harm Jacob and his family. Jacob even reminds God of His own promise that He had made earlier.

Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ” (Genesis 32:11, 12 NKJV)

What happens next is extremely fascinating. Jacob wrestles with God in the night.

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. (Genesis 32:24 NKJV)

Not only do they wrestle, but God does not win. Jacob holds on for dear life and tells God that he will not let go unless God blesses him. God says He wants to be let go before day break.

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. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32:25, 26 NKJV)

This is the story of how Israel gets its name. The twelve tribes of Israel come from Jacob.

So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 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.” 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. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:27-30 NKJV)

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