Life at times can leave us fearful of walking into our future. For Jacob it was the fear of rejection and possibly loosing his life in battle with his brother Esau, from whom he had stolen the first born birth right.
While in the womb Jacob and Esau battled in stubborn competition. I can only imagine what their child hood must have been like, in constant revelry with one another which extended into adulthood.
Even in the womb Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God. He wrestled with the angel and won. Jacob wept and pleaded for a blessing from God. Refusing to let go until God blessed him. Hosea 12:3-5
After working for his father in law Laban, for several years and being cheated out of most of his earnings, God told Jacob to return to Canaan the land from which he came, where his brother Esau lived. So Jacob packed up his family and possessions and started on his journey. Genesis 31:3
As Jacob and his family drew near to Canaan, afraid that his brother Esau may take revenge on him for stealing the first born birthright years earlier, Jacob sent his family and possessions ahead bearing gifts for his brother Esau. Thus leaving Jacob alone in the camp, where during the night a man came and wrestled with him. As dawn began to break, the man seeing he could not defeat Jacob, struck Jacob’s hip and put it out of joint. Then the man said to Jacob “Let me go” But Jacob refused to let go until the man blessed him. So the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with man and you have won.” Then he blessed Jacob. After a sleepless night, walking with a limp Jacob continued his journey to meet his brother Esau. Genesis 32:22-33:16
Jacob’s struggle with God and man that night in the camp was symbolic of his struggle with inner self.
God wanted Jacob to admit he was weak and afraid and that although he had spent many years serving his father in law Laban, a deceitful trickster, Jacob himself was a deceitful trickster. Jacob did not win the battle against God that night but against the flesh within himself.
The encounter at the camp that night, where Jacob came away walking with a limp, served only to remind him that he, had experienced the separation of flesh and spirit. Thus giving him clear vision to walk in the true identity of who God created him to be. Israel the father of many nations.