Friday, August 30, 2019

Wrestling with God

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man 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. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
(Gen 32:24-30). 

One of the striking features of this encounter is how the Angel of the Lord lets Jacob imagine that the patriarch has a winning chance. And even if he can't win, he can hold his own against the stranger. The Angel of the Lord strings Jacob along until daybreak, then defeats him with a sudden show of overwhelming force, thereby revealing that Jacob was no match for his enigmatic opponent. The opponent effortlessly subdues  him. It was never close. 

The ruse might shed some light on God's providence in our lives. Things are not always what they seem. Preliminary impressions may be misleading. There's a plot twist at the end

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