Genesis 32 – When God Leads Us From Trial to Triumph

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis 32 is where we’re at together today, Genesis 32 and a rather confusing, interesting, strange chapter. This is, uh, we’re going to talk about someone wrestling with God in a minute. That’s kind of, uh, bizarre in itself to even think. Is it possible that I can wrestle with God? Um, but that’s what you’re going to see in Genesis chapter 32. But it’s this chapter that is very pinnacle in the life of Jacob. Up until this point. I would tell you, Jacob knows of God, but he doesn’t have a personal connection to God. And this is the chapter where all of it goes through transition for him, where he doesn’t just know about the idea of God, but but he he develops this life changing encounter with the Lord that leads him from the struggle he has found himself in over the last couple of decades to now suddenly triumphant, victorious before the Lord. And through his story, we’re going to learn the same thing for our lives, because Jacob really, in many ways becomes a character, a symbol of really what all of our relationships with God look like. Uh, to some degree or another. Hopefully you get through all of this chapter and be like, yes, I’ve walked this journey, this connects to me, and you’re not somewhere in the middle. But if you are somewhere in the middle, let’s get to the end of what this chapter talks about, because this is what God’s desire is for you.

And so we’re talking about today in chapter 32, how God leads us from from trial to triumph. This his story, Jacob’s story teaches us really about our own. And point number one in your notes, if you grab notes this morning, is this jumping right into it today? We each need a personal relationship with God. We each need a personal relationship with God and life’s unique experiences, and even the challenges that we endure have this incredible way of opening our eyes to knowing there is more. And the Bible tells us that God has written eternity in our hearts, that in the brokenness of this world, we we can reflect, even in our own soul, that we really aren’t made for this, that we were made for something greater. It’s why we long for for things that are good. And no one had to really tell you right from wrong. I mean, you learn that as a child sometimes, but intrinsic within every human being is this desire for good to win over evil. And I would say it’s a it’s a reflection of the longing in our heart for ultimate good to triumph that we were. We’re made for more. And and the struggles of life become this continual reminder of, of needing to discover what that is. And you see this play out in the life of Jacob. He keeps looking in the wrong places.

But but what he ultimately discovers is all of it really is, is found in a personal relationship with God. So we each need a personal relationship with the Lord. And Jacob has certainly intersected with with God. But it’s not until this chapter that his walk with God becomes personal. And when we talk about a personal walk with God, we mean at least a couple things and could mean more than this. But I just want to highlight a couple of things. One is we need an individual walk with God and not just community, right? I don’t want to say community isn’t important. It certainly is. I don’t want to devalue God’s community. Right? In Hebrews chapter ten, verse 23 to 25, it tells you, don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together, that this is Jesus’s bride. Jesus gave his life for his bride. If you want to honor Jesus, love Jesus. One of the best things you can do is encourage and love on his bride to become who God has called him to be. So certainly there is. There is community and community encourage you and spurs you in your relationship with the Lord, but you don’t live your relationship with God completely on community. In fact, God’s desire for you is that your relationship with him would be would be personal at some point. You can’t live your faith through others or you know, on on the the backdrop of your parents.

It was one of the criticisms Jesus gave of the Pharisees. They found their identity on their father Abraham, but they still didn’t have a personal walk with the Lord. In fact, you saw this in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28. If you remember in Genesis 28, this is the chapter where, um, Jacob has has made his brother Esau angry. Esau wants to kill him. Jacob goes on the run, and as he is running in Genesis 28, it tells us, God comes down this ladder from heaven or this staircase from heaven. We talked about the the Hebrew word there is more like a ramp than a ladder, and oftentimes it translates as ladder. But it’s a bigger than that. And he sees angels ascending and descending and and God introduces himself to Jacob there in a personal way. And this is what he says. He says, behold, the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, your father, and the God of Isaac. So he’s saying to Jacob, look, I’ve had this personal connection with your grandfather and your father, but he never says, And I’m your God. To Jacob, showing this, this distinction, this need for, for for Jacob to have. This same relationship with the Lord in which his grandfather and father have, you know, many of us raised in maybe a a faith tradition, maybe found our identity through that community. But God’s ultimate desire for all of us is to find our identity personally with him to, to to know him, to walk with him and to connect with him, not with just simply community alone.

God desires to intrude your your personal life and really with God. There’s nothing private between you and the Lord. He sees everything but but his hope is for you to connect with him in that way. So we need an individual walk with God, and also we need to walk with God. That is selfless. You’ll discover in the story of Jacob that anytime he talks about God or talks to God in any fashion, it’s it’s always about what God can do for him. And can I tell you any relationship that any of us have that is that is considered I’m in this relationship simply because what I can get out of it is a toxic relationship. That’s not going to be a healthy relationship. The health of relationship is seen in in how two people give of themselves for the benefit of the other. It’s not a selfishness. In fact, that’s really no relationship at all, but rather selflessness. The surrendering of yourself to delight in the relationship that you have with another. And in Genesis 32, we’re reminded through through Jacob’s life how much we we need the Lord. We we see in this chapter the fruits of his selfish labor, Jacob’s whole life. He is. He has been driven by this idea of he wants blessing, and he’s pursued blessing in his own strength, and he’s pursued blessing in the things of this world.

And what he comes to find out is he is left in absolute bankruptcy. In fact, in Genesis chapter 32 and verse one, as the story starts, it tells us, and I highlighted this for us, so we could go through this rather quickly. But in chapter 32, verse one, it’s the same way. It starts the same way that chapter 28 was introduced to us. Chapter 28. Uh, Jacob intersects with with angels. He experiences angels as he’s running away from the Promised Land, as if these angels are guarding the perimeters of the Promised Land, and he’s running away from Esau. And now he’s coming back into this promised land. And again he finds his life engaged with with these angels. But something interesting happens in verse 32. It tells us, and Jacob saw that he said, This is God’s camp. So he called the name of that place Mahanaim, which means two camps. And so what he’s saying in this passage is his his journey, his experience in life has an interconnected with with God’s. Yet that the spiritual that is God is separate from he and his family. There is his camp and there is God’s camp. And they are not one of the same. Even though the Lord wants to be involved in Jacob’s life. So Jacob returns.

And if you remember the reason he experienced these angels in Genesis chapter 28 is because in Genesis 27 he deceived his brother and stole from him. He took the blessing of the family. And in Genesis 2741 his brother said, I’m going to kill. I’m going to kill you. And so Jacob runs for two decades. He’s on the run. He’s coming back now to this land. After two decades, he sees these angels. He sees this camp. So God’s presence is still there. But Jacob is separate from this connection to the Lord, these two camps. And then in verse 32, you see Jacob now coming to this land. He tries to smooth things over with his brother. It says in Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau, his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, thus you shall say to my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now. I have oxen, and donkeys, and flocks, and male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my Lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight. So you see, Jacob, now trying to smooth things over with his brother, who two decades ago wanted to kill him. And just just reading these verses helps you begin to understand what Jacob has wrestled with in his life over these last couple decades. Because coming back to this land the first time, by by not saying certain things, we’re learning about where the state of his soul is.

I mean, he’s coming back and he has no idea what the state of his mother and father are. And you would think coming back to that land for the first time, you might be asking the question, how’s Mom and dad doing? Or I’ve got a pretty big family. We should probably find a house to live in, right? But rather than either of those things, his primary concern is the state of his relationship with his brother. So much so that when when Jacob’s returning, he has received the family birthright and the blessing which means he has authority over his brother. But rather than take that position of authority over him, rather than just take a position of equality with him, you see his language highlighted in these verses that he’s taken the position of a servant, referring to Esau as his lord, and Jacob referring to himself as as Esau’s servant. And not only that, he’s letting Esau know, look, I’m not coming here to claim anything. I don’t want the birthright. I’m not coming to get the blessing. In fact, I can take care of myself. And here’s how Jacob makes it known. He talks about all the things he possesses. So he’s saying, I’m coming back to this land not because I need anything from you, but rather he’s coming back to this land because of what God has told him.

It was time to go back. And so Jacob is is journeying back to this land. But what he discovers is exactly what he feared. In verse six it goes on and says, and the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, we came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are 400 men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed, and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels into two camps. Thinking of Esau comes to one camp and attacks it. Then heal the camp that is left will escape. You know, how terrible is this situation, that Esau has made some decisions for his own selfish game, and now he’s he’s having to confront that that created conflict in his relationship with his brother. And now it tells us passage he’s he’s afraid and distressed. And the reason is because his brother sent 400 people. And Jacob knows when someone sends 400 people to greet you, that this is typically not the welcome committee. Right. Um, and Genesis chapter 18, when Abraham went to go rescue lot, who was captured by a king, Abraham took 318 men. Even in your in your sermon notes this morning, there’s a couple other verse references under point number one in first Samuel that talk about how King David, when he went into battle, he would go to go to battle with 400 men in.

The Old Testament. This is a mark of an army. And Jacob realizes my brother is exactly where I left him two decades ago. He’s going to kill me. And so Jacob becomes afraid. All of this he has fought for in his own strength, and now all of it crumbling before him to the point he’s had to divide his family and he’s seriously considering. What if I lose half of my family just trying to preserve and hold on to what he’s built in his own strength? Oh, God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac. Oh, Lord, who said to me, return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do good. Do you good? I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love, and the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant. For with only with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Verse 11. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau. For I fear him, that he may come and attack me. And the mothers, mothers with the children. But you said, I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. So you see in this passage, Jacob is so concerned now, worried about losing what he has, that he wants its protection to the point.

Now he’s praying to the Lord. He’s he’s asking God for this, this preservation. But but here’s what’s interesting. When when Jacob quotes this in verse nine and in verse 12, what he talks about, what he emphasizes is, is, is very interesting. He says in verse nine he gives this phrase God. He says that God will. God says to him, I will cause good to happen to you. So he’s saying, God, I’m coming back to this land. I remembered what you promised me. You said you’re going to be there with me. God, you said that you’re going to do this, that you will cause good to happen to me. And then in verse 12, when he repeats this, he becomes very emphatic in the Hebrew. He doesn’t just say, God, you said, this will happen to me. He says, God, you surely said this good will happen to me. And so what he’s saying in this passage, he’s, he’s, he’s identifying with, with the Lord that, uh, that he thinks God has promised that he is going to monetarily bless him, that God is going to monetarily create provision for him. And so you’re seeing in this that Jacob’s focus has continued to be what it is that he’s going to get. In fact, he’s even leveraging God in order to serve him, to please him with the things of this world that God you said to me that I’m going to I’m going to financially gain because of what you’ve given to me.

And so, God, don’t let me lose what I have. I’m going to cling to your promises. But here’s what’s interesting. When you look at these chapters or these these these statements that Jacob gives, Jacob is taking God’s promises, and he’s really restating it in what he heard. But what’s interesting is what he heard isn’t truly what God actually said. In fact, if you were to look at Genesis 28, verse 15, and all the way back in Genesis 31, verse three, you see what God said, I’m going to read to you Genesis 31 verse three. What God said to him isn’t that God is going to monetarily give to him. But listen to this. Then the Lord said to Jacob, return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred. And look, I will be with you. What God promised to Jacob is not monetary gain. Perhaps Jacob, if we’re being very gracious to him, could infer that, uh, perhaps Jacob could have thought to himself that, uh, you know, because God is with me that God is going to monetarily bless me. But, Christian, come on up. Just go ahead. Sorry. He’s getting the TV back on for me. So I know where we’re at in this verse as I appreciate it. Sorry, but but what what God is promising to to Jacob. There we are. That may do good to you. You see it there in the bottom.

I will surely do good to you. We’ll come back to the staff in a minute. But look at this verse 15 and verse three. He says in both passages his promises, I’m going to be with you. And the point of this is to think, to, to recognize there is what God says. And there is often times as people, what we want to hear. But what we want to hear is not often what God says. And we tend to treat God that way as if he’s here to serve us. We we can easily fall into what I think is a sin on Jacob’s part. Where on Jacob’s heart, where we can get so wrapped in our thinking that we believe what we want and what we desire is what God wants and what God desires. Or we we can believe. God exists to give me what I want, because what I want is what’s best for me. And in so doing, we treat God as if we’re his Lord and he’s here to serve us. And so we spend our life. If we have any relationship with God at all, it’s just to say. Simply tell God what he can do for me. And I think this is more of what’s happening in Jacob in this prayer, and it’s indicative of his life. But the solution to to both of these problems is to is for us really to stop talking about what we want and start listening to what it is that God desires, that our life would be surrendered to him, to hear his heart rather than proclaim our own.

In fact, in Romans 12 verse two, it says this do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And that transformation, the renewing of your mind, happens in the truth of God’s Word, that we’re not conformed to the things of this world, telling God what we want to make us happy. But our lives are completely transformed by the truth of who he is, letting him speak into our lives rather than us speak to him. And it says, then you will prove in Romans 12 two the will of God. But you see in this passage Jacob again just striving in his own effort over and over and over, never connecting to God personally in a relationship, only using God for his own selfish gain. And it tells you in this passage where he ends up that it’s just him and his staff the same way he started this story. Genesis 28 on the run is the same situation he’s come back to now. Two decades have passed, but he has come full circle in his life and he ended up back where he started. In his own selfish desires. He finds himself broken. And again in in Genesis 32 verse 13, look at this. So we stayed there that night, and from what he had with him, he took a present for his brother Esau 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, and 30 milking camels and calves, and 40 cows and ten bulls, 20 female donkeys and ten male donkeys.

He instructed the first servant, When Esau, my brother meets you and asks you, to whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you? Then you shall say they belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau, and moreover, he is behind us. So here’s what he’s saying. Um, in this passage, they want you to recognize similar again to Genesis 28, in Genesis 28, when when Jacob was on the run, it was dark. And now when Jacob’s returning once again, it’s dark. And it’s not just trying to acknowledge the time of day for you and me, it’s also metaphorically creating a picture of the state of a soul. Here he is desperately fighting to cling on to these things, only to recognize he could lose it all. And here he sits now, back in in utter darkness. And we find in this passage he’s now trying to buy off his brother so he can appease his brother so his brother doesn’t kill him. And not only that, in the midst of all that’s happening in this journey, what we discover is he’s traveling at night.

I mean, just personal experience teaches us if you’re ever going to go on a walk, let alone a journey, the worst time of of life to do it is in the darkness, right? It’s not safe if you’re going to walk in the woods at night, and especially during Jacob’s day, you’re not only susceptible to being robbed by people, but you can be attacked by animals. And here’s Jacob walking at night, and not just the night. He’s doing this with his family. So here he is in the midst of darkness. And it’s just showing the the brokenness of, of his life and where he is in this position. And then it goes on and says to us in verse 22, the same night he arose and took his two wives and his two female servants, and his 11 children, and he crossed the floor to the Jabbok or the Jabbok river. And he took them and sent them across the stream and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. Not only is he traveling a night, but in the middle of the night, he decides that that’s when he needs to cross a river. And this is not a a huge river that he’s crossing, but nonetheless, it’s crossing a river with women and children in the middle of the night. And this speaks to, in his cultural context, just how unsafe his situation is. People wouldn’t choose to travel this way.

And then it says to us, verse 24, Jacob was all alone the same way. He started this journey after two decades of laboring, and he finds himself in the same state. If you remember, in Genesis 28 at dark, he’s sleeping on a rock, just showing the emptiness of his life. And here again, in desperation, he is completely alone. 20 years Jacob has been chasing his own desires, dreams and blessings. He took advantage of his father in Genesis 27 to do it. He took advantage of his brother twice as how he got the name Jacob right heel grabber in Genesis 25 and Genesis 27, robbing his brother in those failures, he runs away from his life, and in Genesis 28 he thinks to himself, well, maybe if I just get married, that’ll make me happy. Then I can be blessed. And he discovers the challenges in his own marriage relationship. Not only that, he battles with his his father in law, Laban. And so everywhere he went, no matter how much he pursued this blessing, he just kept finding a contentious moment after contentious moment, thinking that life was all about his own personal pleasure. And yet he finds himself absolutely alone. And at the end of the day, right back where he started. Because Jacob’s life becomes a symbol, really, of all of ours, that we we think there are certain things that will make us happy. And if we just pursue them, then then when I get that, then I’ll have all I need.

But in the book of Jeremiah chapter two, God says it like this. In verse 13 he says, my people have committed two sins. They have one forsaken me. The spring of living water, and two have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. What God is saying is, you were made for me. You’re made to find the joy of who you are and who I am. To live for my glory. I am the living water, the life giving water that you were created for. But not only have you abandoned me, but you’ve gone and created cisterns. But those cisterns are full of holes. And no matter how much you fight to fill up that cistern, it just leaks out of the out of those holes. And you can struggle and continue to try to fill it and fill it and fill it. But in the end, one day you’re going to stop and all you’re going to see is nothing. The the cistern is going to be empty because it was never intended to hold what God has created you for. We all need a personal relationship with God and this wrestling with God. What I want us to recognize is we often don’t realize that we’re not on the same page with the Lord. We often mistake God’s permission for his approval. That just because God allows something to happen or lets me, you know, follow up a path that’s contrary to him, that God approves it.

And it’s important for us to see just because God might give us permission, it’s not the same as God saying he gives us approval. And what happens in this passage, then, is that Jacob, in these verses, he wrestles with God. He wrestles with God. And we can ask the question like, why would why would God wrestle with anybody? Right? But you see in this verse he wrestles with God and it says at the end of verse 24, and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. Um, God’s wrestling with him. Why would God wrestle with Jacob? Well, what you discover in these verses is this is the angel of the Lord. And when you read about the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, it’s really a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. This is Christ’s appearance in the Old Testament. And when the angel of the Lord appeared, there are instances where he appeared where he matched his circumstances. Meaning in Genesis 18, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Abraham, the angel of the Lord appeared as a traveler. Abraham himself being a traveler. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joshua in Joshua chapter five, he appeared as a warrior because Joshua was a commander of the army. And now when the angel of the Lord appears to Jacob, he appears as a wrestler, because all of Jacob’s been doing his entire life is wrestling with God.

So the reason God is coming to Jacob in this way is because Jacob has always thought his battles have been with the things of this world, but Jacob has never connected the dots that ultimately what his true battle has been with has been with God. That Jacob has thought the the things that he was created for was to find his pleasure and the things of this world, not realizing that ultimately where he was intended to find himself is exactly in who God is. That’s why God intervened in his life and introduced himself. That’s why God gave promises to Jacob. Jacob has been wrestling with the Lord all along, and this is why God wants wants to interfere in Jacob’s life in this way and wrestle with him. So that awakens Jacob’s eyes to the true battle he’s been he’s been fighting against. Now, some of you may ask, well, why didn’t he just say that? Right? Like, why do you have to wrestle like, God? Just show up and say, Jacob, I need you to. I need to tell you something. Right? You’re wrestling with me. Why can’t he just say that? Well, the answer is, is because God has been saying it to Jacob all along. Jacob has heard God say it, but he’s never truly listened to what God said. And because of that, Jacob comes into this battle with the Lord, the Lord wrestling with him to to open his eyes to how great his need is.

And Jacob doesn’t realize the fullness of what he’s doing until you get to the next verse. And in verse 25, look what happens 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. So here’s what I’m saying in this verse. You find out in verse 30, he finally identifies himself as as the Lord. But in this verse it’s Jacob fighting, fighting, fighting with God. And finally God just reaches out with his finger and goes, in the Hebrew, it literally is like this Bink, that’s all God does. He just he just taps Jacob and all of a sudden his his hip goes out of socket and Jacob’s in incredible pain. And Jacob now begins to realize that what he’s struggled with all along has, has, has been the Lord that his battle has, has truly been against God, and God has been holding back on him that while God has may have permitted Jacob to go on this journey, that has never been what God has approved for his life, and that all along, as he’s wrestled with this stranger, this stranger has been holding back. But now Jacob begins to realize his picture of who God is has been incredibly small.

That all God had to do was just tap. And Jacob’s an incredible pain. And Jacob realized his picture of God was has been incredibly small, and his picture of himself has been incredibly great. And all along Jacob has has been mistaken what he thought would bring him true blessing. But now Jacob suddenly begins to realize. That the one before him has all the power. All that he has worked for in his own power. Jacob, in these moments knows he can no longer save himself. 20 years of running. 20 years of avoiding who he was and the way he treated his family. And now all of a sudden, he’s come back to confront it all, and he’s about to lose everything, and he doesn’t have the power to save himself. He doesn’t have the power to save his family. He doesn’t have the power. In this moment, Jacob’s hip completely out of socket. He has no strength at all. This is what we often refer to in our culture as rock bottom. And this is exactly where Jacob is. But it’s also the beginning of change in his life because he realizes and trusting in all of his strength, it’s gotten him nowhere. And now he begins to see the strength of of the Lord, who has always been by his side. That’s what God said to him, I will be with you. And it’s then in this moment in verse 26 And Jacob said, let me go.

For God says, let me go, for the day has broken. But Jacob said, I will not let you go unless you bless me. Jacob. Even though he has no strength, he’s saying he realizes who God is and he’s just clinging to him. In fact, in Hosea chapter 12, God says to him, or it says in Isaiah chapter 12 that he cries out to God for a blessing. He realizes finally, in chasing all of these blessings, the one who truly blesses him is is the Lord. And it’s it’s not what God gives to him, it’s God Himself. God is the prize. And Jacob in this place has finally surrendered. And you see it in verse 27. I think verse 27 is the verse that unlocks all of this chapter. And he says, this God said to him, what is your name? And he said to him, Jacob. The reason I think that this passage is so important, this this Jacob naming of himself is so important is because the only other time Jacob was asked, what is your name as in Genesis chapter 27? And the one who asked it was his father. And the reason he asked it is because his father was blind and Jacob Jacob was deceiving his father into thinking he was Esau. And so when, when, when his father asked him, what is your name? Jacob. Rather than confess his name, he says, my name is Esau.

He lies. But now, when he’s been brought to rock bottom, Jacob finally confesses his name. It’s Jacob. When you look at this passage, what makes it very unique and it’s underlined in these verses, that word jabbok. The word Jacob in verse 24, and then the word wrestled in the Hebrew. This is a play on words. It’s the idea of jabbok. Jacob. And the word wrestled is abuk or avec. It’s this play on words. In fact, this word wrestled is the only time that it exists in the entire Old Testament. It’s used twice in this passage. It’s the only time this Hebrew word is used. And it’s because of this play on words. And here’s what it’s saying Jacob and his rock bottom state God saying, look, Jacob, I have been with you. You have been on the jabbok on the verge of the Promised land all along. You God has been so close to you, but yet you’ve been so distant from him. And finally, in the desperation of losing everything, when Jacob’s eyes are finally opened that he can’t really do anything in his own strength, he comes face to face with where true strength is in the living water. Who is the Lord? And Jacob finally confesses who he is and Jacob’s name. If you remember in the beginning when he was named in Genesis 25, it’s attached to the word deceiver. And Jacob is honest. I am the deceiver. I am the one who pursued things for my purposes to get what I want, for my pleasure, using other people in the process as tools.

And he’s honest with God and desperation. And in verse 28, something incredible happens from here. And this is point number three in your notes. God brings salvation to our brokenness. God brings salvation to our brokenness. Look at this. Then he said, your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and have prevailed. Um, let me say this I gotta be a little quicker on this section. But when when God, when God comes to Jacob and Jacob confesses, God now gives Jacob a new name. And name in the Bible is often associated with identity. What it’s saying is, when Jacob hit rock bottom and finally came to God honestly with who he is, and confessed to the Lord not to find things in his own strength, but in God’s strength. Jacob’s life was forever changed and he was never the same again. He goes from the deceiver to Israel because he has wrestled with God and he has prevailed. Now here’s what’s interesting in this verse. Like it’s some may read this and think, wait, Jacob is stronger than God. He beat up God, right? That’s not what it’s saying at all, because we’ve already looked at it. This verse where God just simply touches Jacob and he’s rendered incapacitated. And so he just clings to God for desperation.

Now what it’s saying, rather in this passage, is in in Jacob’s weakness, in his brokenness, God became weak so that Jacob could become victorious. Do you see that? I mean, it’s got gospel connections all over it. In Jacob’s weakness, God became weak so that Jacob could prevail. And this is what happens with this name change, this idea of identity. You see this happen in Scripture multiple times. Remember Abram and Sarai, which became Abraham and Sarah. This name change with related to identity in the New Testament, Simon Barjonas, who is called Peter the Rock. Jesus gives him a new name related to identity. I mean even Jesus’s name. Some people think Jesus his name. His first name is Jesus, and his last name is Christ. Um, that is, his name is not first name Jesus, last name Christ. His name is more of a title of his identity than it just simply a name. It means the saving anointed One. The saving Messiah name has to do with identity. And here in Jacob’s story, you see, as it goes on, it says. Then Jacob asked him, please tell me your name. But he said, why is it that you ask me my name? And there he blessed him finally, the blessing that Jacob has been looking for or that Jacob needs in his life. And verse 30. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, for I have seen the face of God, or seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.

And when Jacob knows God could have ended him at any time, and rather than use his strength to destroy him, he used his strength to bless him. And the sun rose up upon him as he passed penuel limping because of his hip. And this sun literally happens. And metaphorically it’s it’s showing a new day and it goes on verse 31 or verse 32. Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because it has touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of his thigh. Jacob walked away with some battle scars. But those scars became this reminder of the great healer who touched his life. He never walked the same again. That’s the same is true for us. We’re made for a personal relationship with God. But we wrestle with him and we don’t even realize who wrestling against. But God brings salvation to our brokenness. And you see the life of Jacob really becoming this, this demonstration for all of us. And when all of us come to this place of brokenness, to surrender to realizing what we’ve been fighting for, ultimately we can’t hold on to any of it. That we in ourselves don’t have the strength within ourselves to to create in those things what God ultimately desires to create.

But it’s not until we completely surrender. And that when we come to that, that place of utter, the utter giving of our lives to who God is. That we truly experience the transformation for which we were created for not because of our strength, but because in our weakness he became weak, that we could be made strong. So I think one of the most beautiful ways to. To share that story with us is the idea of what today is historically for the church, and today is Passover Sunday. Can you think of the beauty of Passover Sunday? It’s this day in which Jesus went into Jerusalem as the triumphant king. Zechariah nine nine said prophetically that Jesus would come on the back of a donkey. That donkey was symbolic of a king who was coming in for peace. Jesus comes into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and they shout. They chant in John chapter 12, verse three, with palm branches in their hands. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to King David! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord is to celebrate the King. But. But here’s what they thought of the king. They thought that king was coming to serve what their agenda was. And in so doing, they completely missed to the point when when Jesus was put on trial to be crucified rather than continue to celebrate him as a king, they chanted Crucify in John chapter 19.

But what’s what’s incredible about Jesus? We know after the resurrection in John chapter 20, he comes before Thomas and he tells them to touch. Touch my wounds. Stick your hands in this, Thomas, and see what I’ve done. Because in your weakness I became weak, so that you become strong. So we bear the scars of this world. But when it comes to the terms of eternity. What’s incredible about the Lord? When you read John chapter 20 or or revelation chapter five, the only scars that are bore in eternity are the scars of Christ on our behalf. He became weak. So that in him we could become strong. It’s not until we stop wrestling, and we just confess before him that we find the identity for which we are created through him, and we realize that the things of this world aren’t the prize, but it’s God himself. And knowing we got the first Passover wrong. One of the most beautiful passages, I think, in in all of Scripture, in revelation chapter seven, gives this picture of God’s people in eternity. And it says this. After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count from every nation on all the tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands. And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb.

Eternity will be this opportunity of praising God in the right way, not because of what we want from him, but because of the glory of who he is. We get to spend eternity celebrating this. You know, it’s incredible when you read a story like this. As you see the struggle of Jacob, how we as human beings often want to respond to it. I heard someone say this, you know, reading this chapter, they said this, you know, if it if it were up to me, I would have rescued Jacob from the struggle. I would have pulled Joseph out of prison. I would have stopped David from having to fight Goliath. I, like Peter, would have pulled Jesus off that cross. But in all of those struggles, as they were played out, you see the beautiful hand of God made known, and what God did through it was far greater than anything I would have done in my own strength. The beauty of Genesis 32, as you reflect on the life of Jacob, is to help us recognize we were all made for that relationship with the Lord. Yet in and of ourselves we war against him, not even realizing the ultimate battle is truly, truly with the Lord. But when we surrender and cry out to him, God brings his salvation to our brokenness.