A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

20 years had passed since Jacob left home, on the run for lying his way into more than his share of the family inheritance. Now he was coming back, with 2 wives, 12, children and large herds of animals. As the sun set, Jacob would once again try to fall asleep with his head full of worries. Some things hadn’t changed. He was still afraid of being killed by the twin he had defrauded so many years earlier. But now, as he struggled with his fears, Jacob found himself wrestling with mysterious man who had shown up in his darkness. This was no ordinary man. By the time the sun came up Jacob was convinced that he had wrestled with God and survived. As reminders of this night he came away with a new name– and a limp. (Gen 32:24-3). From this day forward he would no longer be known as Jacob (lit heel-grabber and supplanter). Now his name would be Israel (i.e. God struggler). According to the one with whom Jacob struggled, this new name would be a reminder that Jacob had struggled with man and God—and prevailed. But how could a mere mortal struggle with God and walk away with nothing more than a new name and a limp? Was this just about Jacob and his role in the story of God’s plan of rescue?  Or could his wrestling match with God– and his sleepless night– be a picture of how our Creator condescends to us in our darkness to let all of us struggle with him, before giving us a blessing, and our own distinctive “limp”, that reminds us of who we are—and who He is…

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