21 May 2022
Angry with God?
I will not let you go unless you bless me. Genesis 32: 26
Jacob had reached the end of the line! He had cheated his brother Esau and then fled to save his life. He was a shrewd tough man, capable of driving a hard bargain, yet fearful for his own safety. Now he was about to meet Esau again after many years. He sent ahead the best of his livestock as a gift, to
mitigate Esau’s anger, and then his own family. He waited, alone. Perhaps filled with fear and remorse.
But suddenly a man came and wrestled with him. They sweated, grunted and struggled with each other all night but the man was unable to win. He threw Jacob’s hip out of joint and said ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak’. ‘I will not unless you bless me’ Jacob answered. (Genesis 32: 26) The man blessed
Jacob and gave him a new name, Israel, because he had struggled with God and with men and had overcome. Now it dawned on Jacob that his adversary was God himself. As he limped away he said ‘I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared’. (Genesis 32: 30)
Do we, when we reach the end of our own resources, or when we fail in dealing with difficult cases, also need to struggle with God? It is important to realise that Jacob’s fight with God was not a mild and deferential prayer-meeting. It was in every sense of the word a wrestling bout, mysterious and powerful, perhaps something of a test, which sealed Jacob as a man of faith and from which he emerged with a blessing. There was no arrogance or conceit as he struggled with the stranger, but
rather proper humility and honesty and eventually gratitude as the truth of his encounter dawned on him. Let us think about this today and return tomorrow to take it further.

Read: Genesis 32: 22–32.