Most of us love before and after stories. We are inspired when we see the before and after pictures of someone who has lost a significant amount of weight. Sometimes we are startled by the before and after pictures of devastation like a tsunami, fire, or tornado. However, the before and after image that I enjoy the most is when someone encounters Jesus Christ and his or her life is changed forever. They move from darkness to light and from death to life.
- When you reflect on your story, is there a before and after with Jesus? Is your life noticeably different because of Jesus?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 32:22-32 (ESV)
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 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. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What does this passage tell us about the identity of the man who wrestled with Jacob?
- What did Jacob want from the man (vss. 26, 29))?
- God got Jacob’s attention when he was alone. How does God typically get your attention? When are you most in tune with hearing from him?
- How badly do you want God’s blessing in your life? What would that look like?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jacob was never the same after this encounter. It is a classic before and after story. This battle brought Jacob’s life-long wrestling match with God and his family to a head. Jacob is like many of us who want to do things our way rather than God’s. We value control, independence, our wisdom and plans above peace with God. It seems much easier to try and make something happen rather than allowing God to bring about his will for our lives. If you are like me, I often know the right thing is to trust God, but I don’t always want to. I doubt his love, grace, wisdom, and provision for my life.
- Take a few minutes and tell God the things you are wrestling with him about.
- Pray and ask the Lord for the strength to trust him and allow him to work out his plan.
- Reflect on Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”