Walk 12 – Read Genesis Chapters 32 through 36. The Theme is: Jacob encounters God; Jacob encounters Esau; Deceit in the next generation; Bethel; the account of Esau (Edom)
Tell Me Your Name
In great fear Jacob prepared to face Esau; who was approaching with 400 men. At the ford to the Jabbok River Jacob sent gifts ahead to appease his brother and then divided his camp so that some might survive if Esau attacked. Jacob met a man and they wrestled all night.
At the conclusion of this match Jacob was asked to confess his faulty character; basically needing to say, “I am the deceiver.” The One contending with him accepted his “confession” and changed his name to Israel, he struggles with God.
In turn, Jacob asked his assailant’s name and was answered with a blessing. Jacob’s assailant did not reveal His name until the time of Moses.
Is not this scene indicative of the struggle each of us face in life? As is stated in Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” To do things as simple as exercise and proper eating; the real battle is not at the gym or the dinner table. The real battle is the battle with the spiritual forces that are assigned to destroy us. To truly walk a journey of faith; we actually have a triple struggle. We must struggle with our own spirit to bring it into submission to God. We have struggles with the temptations of the devil. We struggle with our minds so that we will understand the will of God for our lives.
All of these struggles were represented as Jacob wrestled. Because he became the bearer of the promise to Abraham; and thus the bearer of our faith; his struggle is indicative of the life struggles of each of us as we contend with God.
How can we account for Esau; what can be said of Edom? Brothers who were against one another in the first generation became nations at odds through the years. Eventually, Edom mocked as Judah was taken into captivity and laughed when Jerusalem fell. They are no more; they have fallen from the pages of history. We can learn from the actions of others. Meditate.
The revenge upon Shechem for raping Dinah was enacted by her brothers, Simeon and Levi. This action prompted Jacob’s words when he blessed his sons, “Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” (Genesis 49: 7 NIV) The tribe of Simeon was given territory within Judah’s and Levi became the priestly tribe, having no territory of its own.
Jacob returned to the place where he had first encountered God and received the promise of Abraham. God appeared to him again and confirmed his name, Israel, and confirmed the promise of Abraham to him.
The mention of the death of Rebecca’s nurse (35: 8) and the death of Isaac (35: 27 – 29) indicate that they were living as one community. God’s promises sustain us through life’s events.