Another Story of Jacob

Genesis 32:7‑32  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
The last story was about Jacob, the man who went to sleep using a stone for a pillow and dreamed about a ladder reaching up to heaven. Here is another story about the same man, but he is not so young as he was when he had that dream. He is married now and has one daughter and many sons.
Jacob had been very mean to his twin brother Esau when they were younger, and now he was afraid of Esau. Jacob was planning to go back home again with his large family, and he was very rich in herds of cattle, sheep and goats, which he would also take home. However, the news reached him that Esau was coming to meet him.
A bad conscience makes anybody afraid. If you are afraid to meet your brother after you have done something wrong to him, how will you ever meet God? Maybe you can forget it for a while, but when you meet God, you will find the record of all your sins is there! What will you do?
God knows how you feel, and He cares. When Jesus was on the cross in total darkness, God punished Him for my sins - all of them - even the ones I have forgotten. And when Jesus said, “It is finished,” the necessary punishment for my sins was completed and gone forever, and I can meet Him with joy  .  .  .  not with fear. But what about you? Did Jesus bear the punishment for your sins? Can you join us in thanking Him now and forever for taking the punishment that we deserved?
Jacob, who was worried about meeting Esau, sent his family on ahead while he stayed alone by the brook that night. That’s where the Angel of God met him and wrestled with him. The struggle lasted all night, for Jacob was determined to win and not to give up.
Then the Angel touched Jacob’s hip, and suddenly it was out of joint. If the Angel had power to do that, He could have done a great deal more, but God’s way is perfect. His will is to bless and not to destroy.
Let me go, said the Angel. It’s almost sunrise.
Jacob was crippled now, but he was ready to ask for what only God could give. Are you ready too? Are you ready to give up and ask instead of arguing? Are you ready to receive God’s blessing instead of fighting for your own way?
I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me, said Jacob.
What is your name? said the Angel.
God knows your name very well. God is asking right now if you will tell Him that your name is “sinner.” Will you tell Him? “Christ Je-sus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:1515This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)). If you will tell Him right now that you are a sinner, then He is ready to save you. That’s what Jesus came to earth to do!
Jacob told the Angel of God that his name was Jacob, and immediately the Angel gave him a new name - “Israel.” This new name means “prince,” and it covered up the old, deceitful name of “Jacob.” What a nice new name.
Did you know that if you are born into God’s family, you have a new name too? You won’t know what it is until you are in heaven with the Lord Jesus.
Then Jacob asked the Angel of God, What is Thy name? But he never got a clear answer, perhaps because God has many names, and each one of them fits our need and yet is far beyond our thoughts. One of His names is “Wonderful,” and He is wonderful today and for all eternity!
Jacob got the blessing that he wanted from the Angel of God, and so he was the winner in the wrestling. He was also a cripple for the rest of his life, but in his old age he worshipped God, leaning on the top of his staff. You can be a winner too, and God will give you more than you ever thought of asking for. If your life ends in true worship, your eternity will be joyful worship too. “Thanks be to God, which giv-eth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:5757But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)).
Think About God’s Word!
1. What did Jacob’s new name “Israel” mean?