PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 32
Theme: The Transforming Encounter
Key Text: Verse 30


            In the account before us, we learn of the miracle of Jacob’s transformation. Without question, he had lived a self-willed life. No matter what he had encountered, or where he had encountered it, Jacob, somehow, had always managed to come out on top of things. Instead of allowing people and situations to manipulate him, he had manipulated them! However, as he made his journey homeward, Jacob encountered the living God. And, as is always the case, to encounter God is to encounter change. Of course, instead of Jacob changing God, God changed him!


1. Being Met By God
            Having sent his servants, his family, and his possessions before him, “Jacob was left alone” (32:24) for the night at the brook, Jabbok. And, in this scene of solitude, in this hour of silence, in this moment of stillness, the God of his fathers visited him. Jacob must be conformed to the heavenly design! Thus, as often happens in our lives, he was shut out from familiar circumstances, shut away from family ties, shut in from external influences; and, with nothing left to hold on to, shut up to God, Himself! To say the least, this gives us another incentive to heed the command, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10).


2. Being Mastered By God
            This “Man” who “wrestled with him until the breaking of day” (32:24), none other than the pre-incarnate Christ, was, of course, more than a match for Jacob. Causing his thigh to go “out of joint” (32:25), the Lord’s overwhelming strength reduced the self-made man to a state of helplessness. Jacob was also brought face to face with who he was, admitting when the Lord asked him, “What is your name?” that he was “Jacob,” or “a supplanter” (32:27). Turning from self in humble dependence upon God, he learned the way of divine blessing. “And He blessed him there” (32:29).


3. Being Marked By God
            As Jacob departed the next morning from the place he called “Peniel,” for he said, “I have seen God face to face” (32:30), he was no longer the strong, capable man of the past. Rather, “he halted upon his thigh” (32:31), or walked with a limp, and, from this point on, he needed the assistance of a staff (see Heb. 11:21). Comparatively, all God-marked people walk a little differently than others, and instead of walking in the energy of the flesh, they lean upon the staff of the Holy Ghost! It seems, as well, that as they limp through life, depending only upon the Lord, the sunshine of heaven rises upon them (see 32:31).


           I heard of a man who feels he was not hired for a specific job because of his bad leg. And, although our society is more conscious of the physically handicapped than ever before, his story may have been true. In God’s economy, however, divine strength “is made perfect” in human weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Therefore, those who are broken and sense their inadequacy before the Lord are never passed over. Rather, they are the ones He blesses and uses for His glory. It is an undeniable reality, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jam. 4:6).