Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I (Jacob) will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:24,26 NASB)
Jacob tried to do things his way his whole life. Often, people never find God until they reach the point of desperation.
Jacob’s name means “supplanter” as he manipulated his way through life. This night his selfishness was bearing down on him by his brother Esau, from whom he had stolen his birthright (Genesis 32:6 NASB). He was all alone that night and was coming face-to-face with the consequences of his self-centeredness.
He wrestled with the man, who he later described as the face of God, Genesis 32:30 NASB. Jacob battles with the man all night, and he cannot defeat Jacob. Daylight is dawning, and the man tells Jacob to let him go. Jacob knew if he looked upon God in full daylight, he would die, yet he refused to let him go. Jacob must have concluded that even if he died, he must continue to pursue God and his blessing. When you become desperate enough, you will always find God.
He received the man’s blessing as Jacob, the deceiver, becomes Israel, the Prince of God, Genesis 32:28 NASB. We are always radically changed when we recognize our total dependence on God. Jacob had sought blessing through his own means, which always eluded him.
When the man who struggled with Jacob saw that he was not prevailing, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life, Genesis 32:25,31 NASB. From then on, every time Jacob sets foot on God’s good earth, he remembers his deceitful nature and knows he never wants to return to his self-centeredness again.
The image is used with permission from Microsoft.