Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Genesis 32:24-28 (MSG)
But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint. The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.” Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.” The man said, “What’s your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”
“So Jacob was left alone, and a Man [came and] wrestled with him until daybreak. When the Man saw that He had not prevailed against Jacob, He touched his hip joint; and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing on me.” So He asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” -AMPLIFIED
Jacob had been living a long time pretending to be someone and something that he was not. Jacob the pretender was in for a very rude awakening on this particular night. He was about to have a face-to-face confrontation with a Messenger of the Lord; not only that but he was also about to have a face-to-face with the reality of who he truly was. That is often a humbling experience.
Notice, Jacob was left alone to do battle all night long. We are not told who “the Man” was, but later in the passage when Jacob receives his new name, Israel, we are told it means “One who struggled with God” or “God-Wrestler”. Alone, Jacob had to deal with the issues of his past; alone he had to face who he had allowed himself to become. Alone, Jacob had an encounter with God and it would change his life forever. We are told he struggled until daybreak; it must have been a long exhausting night.
We find from our passage that as the sun began to come up it was time to put an end to this wrestling match. “When the Man saw that He had not prevailed against Jacob, He touched his hip joint; and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.”
“This is the only wrestling match between man and God in the Bible that is recorded. Jacob did pretty good, I think God was letting him win a little, and Jacob got real with God right here. He said, even though I have a lot of this worlds goods, even though some would call me a success, I am miserable in life, and unless you bless me, I will not let go. Jacob had come to the end of himself and was ready to yield his life to God. I am tired of doing it my way, let’s do it your way. The only way I will ever be blessed is if you bless me with your presence and purpose and plan for my life. There is no joy or peace outside of you O God. I have deceived my way to the top, but I still feel like I am at the bottom of life. Bless me Lord and I will be blessed. I would rather walk with you in emptiness and brokenness, than to walk without you in prosperity and wealth.” -Stephen Funderburk
We will never change unless we are honest with ourselves. We can never change if we insist on pretending that we are someone that we are not. We can’t change unless we are willing to have a face-to-face encounter with our Creator, Savior, or God. Its time to get real with ourselves and with our God.
Abba Father, help me to be who you have called me to be. Help me to be real with myself and you. You know everything about me; so there is no hiding behind the facade, there is no pretending with you. Help me to live a yielded life to you; allowing you to have full control of my life. I want to be blessed by you and I desire to make a difference in this World for you. I know you have a purpose and a plan for my life. In obedience I ask you to work in and through me.