Genesis Lesson 21 Day 4

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Genesis Lesson 21 Day 4

Genesis 32:22-32

Jacob encountered God at Peniel which means Face of God [Elohim]

10a) A man wrestled with Jacob until daybreak.

Wrestled or struggledStrong’s Hebrew 8280: To persist, exert oneself, persevere

As the following verses show, this was no mere man. This is another special appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament before His incarnation in Bethlehem. This was God in human form.

i. “I suppose our Lord Jesus Christ did here, as on many other occasions preparatory to his full incarnation, assume a human form, and came thus to wrestle with the patriarch.” (Spurgeon)1

For me, the reason it can be a challenge to think of this Man as a manifestation of God is the nature of their encounter. It doesn’t sound like something Elohim would do, especially since Jacob prevailed. Also, Because we know Jesus lived on earth in human form for years, it’s a little easier for us than perhaps for the Jews.

Jacob said to the man, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (vs. 26)

The man said, “for you have striven with Elohim and with men, and have prevailed.” (vs. 28)

“And there he blessed him.” (vs. 29)

Jacob said, “For I have seen Elohim face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (vs. 30)

Elohim—Hebrew word masculine plural the Supreme God (Strongs)

“In the traditional Jewish view, Elohim is the name of God as the Creator and Judge of the universe (Genesis 1:1-2:4a)” (

Yahweh brings charges against Judah and punishes Jacob
    because of the way their people act.
    He will pay them back for what they have done.
Their ancestor Jacob held on to his brother’s heel
    while the two of them were in their mother’s womb.
    When Jacob became a man, he struggled with Elohim.
He struggled with the Messenger and won.
    Jacob cried and pleaded with him.
        Jacob found him at Bethel,
            and he talked with him there.
Yahweh is the God of Armies.
    Yahweh is the name by which he is remembered. (Hosea 12:2-5 Names of God Bible)

b) Jacob admits he needs God’s blessing.

It’s hard to imagine wrestling for hours. Surely the Lord or even an angel could have overcome Jacob at any point but kept it evenly matched until the Man touched Jacob’s hip socket.

When the Messenger asks Jacob, “What is your name?” by answering, ‘Jacob’ he is saying “My name is deceiver, schemer, trickster, swindler. (AMPC)”

“How did Jacob ever manage to keep up his struggle throughout the entire night? I do not know. But I do know that his determination to hang in there was no greater than our frequent determination to have our own way and eventually win out over God.” (Boice)1

“It was brave of Jacob thus to wrestle, but there was too much of self about it all. It was his own sufficiency that was wrestling with the God-man, Christ Jesus.” (Spurgeon)1

Jacob’s tendency was to scheme and deceive. By wrestling with God, he learned to fight for his blessing instead. As a result, his name was changed.

Jacob’s story displays the process of our sanctification—becoming holy, less of our selfish, self-reliant nature.

11) The purpose of Jacob’s hip injury

The hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint.—The hollow is in the Hebrew the pan or socket into which the end of the thigh bone is inserted, and the verb more probably signifies that it was sprained from the over-tension of the muscles in the wrestling. But, in spite of his sprained tendons, Jacob still resisted, and could not be thrown down, and the angel, unable to gain any further advantage, at last acknowledges Jacob’s superiority, and at sunrise craves permission to depart.

I wish I knew. Bible scholars offer a variety of answers. Jesus healed the sick and instructed His followers to do the same. He didn’t cripple them.

Ephesians 6:12 also comes to mind—

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

That’s why we need the armor of God.

Proposed reasons for Jacob’s hip injury—

So Esau won’t feel threatened.

Since Jacob will encounter Esau the next day, being weak from wrestling all night and limping from the hip injury, it’s doubtful Esau will feel threatened. And Jacob feels physically and emotionally humbled. He was already feeling terrified before this injury, so that doesn’t seem like a good reason. Also, this injury left him with an ongoing limp.

The Apostle Paul wrote about similar discouragement and fear—

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. (2 Corinthians 7:5)

To reduce Jacob to a sense of nothingness. (AW Pink)

To teach him humility.

God’s way of preventing Jacob from fathering more than twelve sons. (From Bible Hermeneutics message board)

The argument refers to a medical description of this hip injury. Apparently, the injury would damage the sciatic nerve which leads to sexual dysfunction. However, Jacob fathered another son, Benjamin, some years later (Chapter 35:18).

Jacob’s loss of physical ability will force him to be more dependent of God and others.

Aging would have a similar effect.

An ongoing reminder of the encounter.

Jacob responded by saying, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

12) Dependence on God

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t know how desperately I needed God. So was I born with a limp?

I wrestle with God for understanding, answers, and direction, for my family’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, and for blessing.

I’m not sure it’s related to this question, but the following quote about Brother Lawrence won’t go away.

That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss. That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.

Ah, I needed the reminder not to obsess about my failures and shortcomings. To do so is prideful.

I hope you found this lesson is helpful.

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1 used by written permission.
2 AWM Living Commentary used by written permission.
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from *The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4 Strong’s Concordance, public domain.
5 *Spirit Filled Life Bible®copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (The Holy Bible, New King James Bible) copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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