Bible Discussion Thread

  • GiGi on Genesis 32 - 2 years ago
    Jacob has been traveling south along the east side of the Jordan river. As he approaches the land of Seir (Edom) where Esau lives, Jacob considers what may become of meeting up with Esau after all of these 20 years. Although Jacob holds no animosity towards Esau, he figures Esau is probably still angry with him, perhaps remembering how Esau was when they grew up together for 40 years. Jacob's group was very large. He wanted to make sure that Esau knew that they are a peaceful group, not hostile or warriors. He also wanted Esau to know who he was. This gives time for both of them to prepare for a meeting. Jacob is anticipating problems, so he sends droves of livestock ahead with servants to give to Esau as a gift, hoping to soften Esau's demeaner toward Jacob and his family. That final night, after the livestock are on their way, he send his wives and children.

    I have always wondered why he sent family ahead of him. Did he think Esau would see his family members and feel family affection? Did he send them away so he could be alone with God in prayer? The night Jacob wrestles with a strong man all night. Perhaps this can be likened to persevering in prayer until one gets an answer. I wonder at what point Jacob realized he was wrestling with God and not a human adversary? By the morning neither had prevailed over the other. Jacob would not stop wresting God until God blessed him. God did, changing his name from Jacob to Israel which does indicate a change in character for him. Now he would be a prince among men. At the end of the encounter, he asks God to tell him His name and God does not grant His request. I wonder why? Maybe Israel was not yet ready to know God by Name yet.

    It is interesting that when he prayed to God before this event that Jacob admits his need for God's help an that any blessing he has received is undeserved and he is unworthy of being so blessed. He is humbled and finally realizing he is not the force or strength behind his successes.

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