October 17

Genesis 32:22-25

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” vs. 24

Jacob had fled from Esau’s presence when his trickery in stealing his father’s blessing had been revealed, and he had stayed with his uncle Laban for over 20 years. He had married Laban’s daughters and had become a wealthy man, but he yearned for his homeland. After sending word to Esau that he was on the way, Jacob stayed alone at the ford of the Jabbak while his wives, children, and cattle went ahead. That night, not knowing what Esau’s response would be, Jacob wrestled with an unknown man until daybreak. It’s an intense struggle, and we get the idea that Jacob is battling with himself and with God. Occasionally we will have these dark nights of the soul, those sleepless hours when we duke it out with God. Usually these are the momentous times when our whole future seems to hang in the balance. In Jacob’s case the struggle came on the eve of his reunion with Esau–and he didn’t know what would happen. Our sleepless nights probably pale in comparison, but the emotional pressures can be intense, and we can’t always be certain of outcomes. We may even have a deep sense of foreboding at what we are intending to do. It’s not even a matter of right and wrong–we only know that this is something we have to do–and in the struggle we feel terribly alone. And mysteriously, God is there too!

Thought for the Day: Have I ever had a “Jacob moment’?

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