“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 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. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 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. 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. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. 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 32:24-32
In this encounter with God Jacob was a changed man. He was coming home in more ways than just the physical. He was getting ready to make peace with his brother Easu, and to be a partaker in the promise of Abraham by having his named changed to Israel. After God touched him, he was never the same again. The Hebrew word here for God is ‘elohiym which is the plural form. It is referring to the trinity. He was finished running from his problems and ready to begin his life of service to God. After God touched him he never walked the same again. To this day that is very significant in the Jewish religion that they will not even eat the meat of the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, just to remind themselves of this significant beginning in their history.
Jacob was facing a great fear. He knew his brother was very angry with him and was coming with an army to kill him and all his household. Easu was not bringing 400 men just to hug his brothers neck! So, Jacob wrestles with God the night before this epic meeting with Esau. One Jewish scholar believes that there was a great discussion taking place between Jacob and God regarding his sins and Jacob repenting of all his sins. We don’t know exactly what the conversation was, but we do know it was a great struggle. Anytime we humans are facing a great fear, there is usually a great struggle within our very souls to come to terms with the outcome. If we are Christ lovers it would make sense that we do a heart check and make sure our relationship with the Lord is on the right footing. We are looking for a blessing from the Lord, a confirmation, an acknowledgement that in the morning that joy that is spoken about will come! “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Ps. 30:5 We are looking for that special touch from God that Jacob had that means we will no longer walk the same way again. You see not only was Jacob’s walk different but God changed his name! His new name meant he had struggled with God and with men and have prevailed! This was confirmation that Jacob and his household would not be killed, that joy would come in the morning for Jacob! Our walk with Christ will be different. How we used to see things will be forever changed by our experience with the Lord. Our hearts are clean, our life walk has been altered on a new course, our response to the Lord and others is different. Just like Jacob once we have been touched by God we come away with a different walk. Just like Jacob once we know God we are given a new name!
“The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” 1 John 2:6“
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Rev. 2:17