Taking Hold – Not Letting Go

Written by Michael

December 18, 2019

This week’s Scripture designation, known as the Parsha in Judaism, is a famous one, yet very impacting when we look at our lives as to how we are truly engaging the Kingdom of God.

Genesis 32:22-31 Records – “The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.  Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,  for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.  So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.”

The Rabbinical world even today struggle with this passage.  The idea that God would “wrestle” as a man on earth and to “see” God face-to-face is troubling for their theology.  Many differing explanations in the Mishna and Talmuds have been offered, however, this is the Torah and ultimately authoritative.  What happened here?

Hosea 12:4 says that Jacob struggled with The Angel (Malach Adonai)…

This is THE ANGEL of the Lord – same one who showed up to withhold Abraham from killing Isaac – Melchizedek – I believe it is the Son Of God manifest, before He came in His advent to earth – He is the only one with the authority to change one’s name.  Look in the book of Revelation when He speaks to the seven churches in chapter 2, as to what He promises to he who overcomes (like Jacob did): “I will give the right to eat from the tree of life…I will ensure they not be hurt at the 2nd death…I will give them hidden manna…I will give authority over the nations…I will never blot their name out of the Lamb’s Book of life…

This Man/Angel then had the authority to change Jacob’s name to Israel – from “Supplanter/Schemer” to “One who struggles with God and Overcomes”.  So, then this begs the question: what did this wrestling match look like?

In my younger years, I wrestled competitively.  Weight class is what determined who one would wrestle in a competition.  I do remember one time though being in 5th grade where in one competition, the match directors decided to have the kids compete by age and not weight class.  I was about 85lbs. at that time and had to wrestle someone my age who weighed 142lbs.  He didn’t pin me, but it was a losing effort for me from the beginning because of the difference in attempting to put someone 75% heavier on the mat and to pin them was practically impossible.

Wrestling is about putting someone in a submitted position, gaining physical leverage, and then putting them on their back where both their shoulder blades touch the mat at the same time for a pin.  The wrestling match here between Jacob and The Son of God though, did not look like this.  This was literally, a wrestling match in reverse.  The “Man” kept trying to get Jacob to let him go, and Jacob held on – not allowing the other to break the hold – yet – Jacob wasn’t trying to put him down – in fact the Hebrew understanding here is that he embraced the Man and would not let go… saying, “I will not let you go until you bless me…”

You see – before this happened – Jacob crossed the Jabbok – which means “the emptying of something or oneself” – sending all of his possessions and family away.  Jacob made sure he was alone when he wrestled.  He also held on for dear life, he never broke hold of the one who would bless him with his future.  As a result, the “Man” dislocated Jacob’s hip, as a permanent reminder of their encounter, so that he walked with a limp from that point forward – in Hebrew, to walk is the word Halakah, which is also the word to describe how one carries out the commandments of God.

I believe Jacob realized he had wrestled 3 individuals in his life: Himself – in scheming Esau’s birthright in a moment of Esau’s weakness; Esau – He supplanted the legacy blessing from Isaac, in type – wrestling with Esau and creating a sibling conflict to last for years; and Laban – from the deception in obtaining Leah and having to work double the time for the wife he wanted originally.  He wanted this life of scheming and wrestling to cease, and a different future to begin.  There is no record anywhere of Jacob/Israel ever “scheming” again after this encounter.

I encourage you in this season – it’s the end of the year – make it a vow – a covenant – that you will embrace the Messiah like never before in 2020.  What does that mean? – Well – it means different things to each individual.  What is there in your life, like Jacob, which you see as a pattern, and want to begin a new stage and direction from?  Embrace the Messiah!  Do not let go until He blesses you.  You will know what that blessing is.  Make 2020 a year of acceleration for the Kingdom like never before.

After this event in Jacob’s life, he had to face his brother Esau.  Jacob was so afraid Esau would kill his people and steal his possessions he sent half of his people in one direction and the other half in another.  Because of his encounter with the Messiah – his meeting with Esau was a complete restoration of their relationship.  Jacob experienced reconciliation for the first time.

Do you need restoration? Reconciliation? – something brought back from years ago that was broken or stolen? – It’s time to embrace the Messiah! – Make 2020 different for you and your relationship with Him.

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