JACOB’s VISION, FEAR AND HIS WRESTLING AT PENIEL – FROM JACOB TO ISRAEL (G-32-HBS)

CRISIS IN THE LIFE OF JACOB

Chapter 32 is the high point in the life of Jacob and can be called the turning point in his life. However, this is not Jacob’s conversion, by any means. In spite of the fact that he was living in the flesh, this man was still God’s man.

This is the reason that we are told to be very careful about judging folk as to whether they are Christians or not.

There are a lot of people who do not look like they are Christians, but I am almost sure that they are. Whether they are or not is in the hands of the Lord. They just don’t act like Christians—that’s all; they give no evidence that they are.

And this man Jacob gave no such evidence, except in very faint instances when God appeared to him and he did respond in a way.

Genesis 32:1-23 KJV

[1] And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

[2] And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

[3] And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

[4] And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

[5] And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

[6] And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

[7] Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

[8] And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

[9] And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

[10] I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

[11] Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

[12] And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

[13] And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;

[14] Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

[15] Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

[16] And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

[17] And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?

[18] Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.

[19] And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

[20] And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

[21] So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

[22] And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

[23] And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

Genesis 32:1 KJV

And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:2 KJV

And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:3 KJV

And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:4 KJV

And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:


 

 

 

Genesis 32:5 KJV

And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:6 KJV

And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:7 KJV

Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;


 

 

 

Genesis 32:8 KJV

And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:9 KJV

And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:


 

 

 

Genesis 32:10 KJV

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:11 KJV

Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:12 KJV

And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:13 KJV

And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;


 

 

 

Genesis 32:14 KJV

Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,


 

 

 

Genesis 32:15 KJV

Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:16 KJV

And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:17 KJV

And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?


 

 

 

Genesis 32:18 KJV

Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:19 KJV

And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:20 KJV

And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:21 KJV

So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:22 KJV

And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:23 KJV

And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.


 

 

 

 

WRESTLING AT PENIEL

Jacob, who is God’s representative and witness in the world, has been a bad witness, but he cannot continue that way, and so God is going to deal with him. To tell the truth, God will cripple him in order to get him.

The Lord also disciplines us: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth . . .” (Heb. 12:6). That is His method. He disciplines in that way. Lot also did not look like he was a child of God—but he was, for Peter says that Lot “vexed his righteous soul” (see 2 Pet. 2:7–8).

But I tell you, Lot certainly was put through the fire. He escaped the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah, but the Lord put him through the fires of testing. This is Jacob’s experience also. He got his college degree at the college of hard knocks.

Uncle Laban was president and dean of the school. At graduation, this boy Jacob gave a pitiful valedictorian address. It took him twenty years to get his degree, and he certainly worked for it.

Old Laban changed the requirements ten times. Every two years, Jacob had a new contract with Uncle Laban, and it was always to Jacob’s disadvantage. This was the experience of this man.

Genesis 32:24-26 KJV

[24] And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

[25] And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

[26] And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Genesis 32:24 KJV

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:25 KJV

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:26 KJV

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.


 

 

 

 

JACOB’S NAME CHANGED TO ISRAEL

After sending his immediate family across the stream Jabbok (he will empty), Jacob spent the night alone at Peniel for what was to be one of the great experiences of his life.

A Man wrestled with him. That Man was an angel (Hos. 12:4), the Angel of Jehovah, the Lord Himself. The Lord put the socket of Jacob’s hip … out of joint, causing him to walk with a limp the rest of his life.

Although Jacob lost the encounter physically, he won a great spiritual victory. He learned to triumph through defeat and to be strong through weakness. Emptied of self and of confidence in his own cleverness, he confessed he was Jacob, a supplanter, a “con man.”

God then changed his name to Israel (variously translated as “God rules,” “one who strives with God,” or “a prince of God”). Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (the face of God) because he realized he had seen the Lord.

Genesis 32:27-32 KJV

[27] And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

[28] And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

[29] And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

[30] And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

[31] And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

[32] Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.

Genesis 32:27 KJV

And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:28 KJV

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:29 KJV

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:30 KJV

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:31 KJV

And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.


 

 

 

Genesis 32:32 KJV

Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.


 

 

 

 

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