So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared'” (Gen 32:30).
Every believer in Jesus Christ must have a defining moment in their lives. Jacob is about to meet his brother Esau in the desert after years of separation. The last time he saw him was when he manipulated the birthright from him years ago. He assumes Esau is going to try to kill him. He sends gifts ahead as a peace offering. And he spends a restless night in prayer asking God to spare his and his family’s life.
Jacob has lived a life of control and manipulation. Yet, there is something in Jacob God finds worthy of redemption. He has a heart that genuinely wants to serve and be used of God. But God must do something in him to chisel away the bad traits in his life.
He sends an angel in the form of a man to wrestle away the striving in Jacob. The only way to remove the striving in Jacob is to injure his physical abilities. “When the angel 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'” (Gen 32:25-26). Jacob’s natural abilities were so great that God literally had to make Jacob a weaker man physically in order for God’s power to be manifested in his life. When this happened a turning point took place in Jacob. A new nature was birthed in him that required a total trust in God. His name was changed in recognition of this defining moment. “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome'” (Gen 32:28).
Bob Mumford once said, “Beware of any Christian leader who does not walk with a limp.” If a leader has not wrestled with God over their natural abilities and come to a place of total dependence on God, that leader will live a life of striving and manipulation.
Let go and let God do the work needed in you. When this happens even your enemies will be at peace with you.
Source: Os Hillman | Photo: Jan Chester Lema