“God cannot bless us until he has us. When we try to keep within an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, he claims all. There’s no bargaining with him.” – C.S. Lewis

He blessed him there. So Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For,” he said, “I have seen God face to face, and I have been delivered.”
– Genesis 32:29-30

Jacob was a master at maneuvering himself out of tight corners. All his life he was known as a schemer, hustler and supplanter.

I’m not a wrestling fan but I find myself drawn to the first recorded wrestling match in history, located in Genesis 32. Jacob never had a chance; it was a fixed match. There was no doubt who was going to win this one. Jacob wasn’t slick enough to slip out of Gods hold. God met him and pinned him until he cried out in desperation.

And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank. – Genesis 32:22-32

The sad truth is, in many ways we see too much of ourselves in Jacob Often when we look in the mirror, we are looking at Jacob. Like Jacob some of us insist on learning things the hard way as well.

Jacob is the one who says he wanted to serve God but tries to do it in his flesh The one who uses carnal methods and strategies in hope of attaining the blessing and promises of God. The one who sees life as one extended negotiation process, constantly looking for loopholes in lordship, obedience, and holiness.

Jacobs’s life is the biography of a man in conflict between his flesh and the spirit. Theodore Epp wrote, “Believers [grow] weary of the conflict between the flesh and spirit, and some wonder when there will no longer be the inner struggle. As long we are in these earthy bodies, there will be the struggle of our two natures. As we walk with God we will learn what to expect of our the old nature and how to cope with it, but the conflict will always be there…As God worked with Jacob, little by little, He was able to instill in his heart the realization that the old nature is totally depraved and nothing good can be expected of it.”


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