Reading ahead on Genesis 32:22-32 for LRSS this Saturday:
"The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
"When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Let me go, for the day is breaking.' But Jacob said, 'I will not let you go, unless you bless me.' So he said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Jacob.' Then the man said, 'You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.'
"Then Jacob asked him, 'Please tell me your name.' But he said, 'Why is it that you ask my name?' And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.' The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip...."
An extract from Fr. Hal Stockert's bible study guide to Genesis 31-33:
"Jacob's riches cause jealousy; Jacob flees; the covenant between Laban and Jacob; Jacob wrestles; Jacob's name is changed to Israel; the reunion and peace between the brothers, Jacob and Esau.
" 'I am the God of Bethel....where thou didst vow unto me; now arise and get thee from this land, and return to the land of thy kindred.' (Genesis 31:13)
"Jacob had much to fear and suffered with many disappointments. But the fear that haunted him most throughout his exile of twenty years was that he would have to face his brother, Esau, who had promised to kill him. No wonder he was worried.
"Though Jacob had gone to a lot of trouble and expense and made many plans in preparation for facing Esau, he finally realized that his only hope rested in God, not in his own efforts. (See 32:24-30)
"Like Jacob, most of us have struggled with the flesh, scheming, planning, striving, in an effort to accomplish spiritual victories, but to do so on our own terms. God's mercy, however, lead us to see that to be victorious as Christians nothing short of living in the power of the Holy Spirit will suffice.
"But God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and revealed to us the divine plan of salvation. By Him we are put right with God; we have become God's holy people and are set free from the eternal penalty for sin (death)". (1 Corinthians 1:30)
(See also Rev. Adrian Dieleman's sermon on Genesis 32:26.)
i remember reading somewhere that Jacob's wrestling with God is symbolic of our struggles with God' call to holiness, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect".
Before this, Jacob's struggles were with the Evil One (sin), e.g. the tendency to manipulate and to cheat others. This time however, besides being called to put his trust in the Lord, Jacob was perhaps at the same time struggling with holiness, e.g. to be truly meek and humble before his brother Esau?