Times of fear should be times of prayer. Whenever what causes fear drives us to our knees, we engage God to show His power. (v22)
Jacob demonstrated his faith in God by sending his family and all his possessions over the brook across Jabbok so he can be alone with God, and God visited him as an angel wrestled with him throughout the night (v23-24)
God appears to people in ways familiar to them, so as not to frighten them; He appeared as a pilgrim to Abram (Genesis 18), to Joshua, as a soldier (Joshua 5:13-15), and as a wrestler to Jacob (v24)
God wanted Jacob’s reliance to be totally on Him, not his own self-sufficiency, so the struggle lasted the whole night. (v25)
Jacob refused to let the angel go unless he blessed him. God encourages us to persist in prayers relating to all areas of our lives. (v26)
God sometimes gives new names to people when he visited and blessed them. He changed Jacob’s name to Israel; this depicts a break away from the old life that Jacob had lived. It was an indication of a transformation of heart. He is now a brand new creature; Old things are passed away. (v27-28)
Because God sees the end from the beginning, His plan was to transform Jacob’s character from a deceiver to one who wrestled and overcame with God. Throughout his life, God had always been wrestling with Jacob – seeking his submission, obedience, and trust. (v27 – 28)
Jacob had a testimony after Peniel encounter with God. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:28). His situations turned around for good and his life experienced a divine shift. Jacob called the place of his encounter with God “Peniel”.
Jacob left a memorial in the place of his victory, called Peniel, meaning seeing God face to face. (v30).
Jacob had a Peniel experience and his life was preserved. At Peniel, God touched Jacob’s heart and changed the way he lived forever. (v29 -31)
Purpose in trials
God gets our attention when we are alone with Him and focused on prayer and fellowship with Him. Jesus often withdraws so he could spend time alone with God. (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16; Psalm 46:10).
We must learn to go on personal retreats from time to time and have a quiet time with God during challenging times. We need to retire at some points in our lives so as to be able to refire. Time alone allows us to reflect, review and re-strategize in life. (1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 7:17; Psalm 9:1; Psalm 34:1-3; Psalm 92:1; Psalm 103:1-2)
Persistence in prayer, in waiting on God, in following Him, in serving Him develops in us godly character that strengthens our faith in God. (Hosea 12:4; Romans 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:8). Jacob wrestled, throughout the night, with the angel until the breaking of the day. God always wants us to surrender our will to Him although being the Almighty God, he can us, if we refuse to cooperate with Him. (v24-25; Jonah 1:1-17; Acts 9:1-19)
The breaking of the day is the end of struggle for Jacob. No matter how long we have waited, endured, trusted God, and chose no other alternative, on a particular matter, there is a day that God finally grants the answer (testimony). That joy is indescribable. It wipes out all the disappointment of the past. (Isaiah 51:11; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 90:14; John 15:11; Romans 15:13)
If we allow God to take over our battles, He will always win for no one can contend with God. (Isaiah 8:10; Psalm 2:2-5; Psalm 31:14; Luke 1:37)
Jacob vowed not to let God go unless He blesses him because God’s blessing is all he could rely on. He already prayed to God for deliverance from his brother, and God answered him (Genesis 32:9-12) so he would not release the angel until he receives his victory. (Matthew 7:7-8; Jeremiah 29:12; Zechariah 13:9). God, who answered him before, will do it again. (Psalm 68:28)
Jacob had to admit his past, and also allow God to subdue him before his name was changed to Israel. As Christians, we need to trust and surrender all to God. (v27-29; Genesis 17:5; Nehemiah 9:7; John 1:42)
God is intentional in his doings. With Jacob, the place of his trial and testing, very intense warfare and pleading with God, admitting his weakness, seeing God face to face, is still the same place where God blessed him and preserved his life. If we do not give up, He will fulfill all His promises to us too. (Psalm 31:24; Philippians 1:6; 4:12-13; Romans 12:12; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; James 1:2-4)
God ensures that we have certain places we can call our Peniel, so that all the glory is given to Him. Like Jacob, at Peniel, he had a spiritual encounter, had his hip removed, his name changed, his life changed from being a surplanter to a prevailer and he received the blessing. No matter how tough our ‘Peniel experience’ is, God ensures we are spared. (Genesis 32:30; Genesis 16:13; Exodus 24:11; Numbers 12:6-8; Judges 6:22 & 13:22)
Peniel is also a place of revelation, for whatever God teaches you there (sacrifice, knowing Him, trusting, and relying totally on Him) will never leave you.
O Lord, I am grateful and thankful for all you have done in the past and grateful for what you will do for me.
My Lord, you work in diverse ways, help me to be aware of your presence always.
Father, strengthen me so I do not fail in times of challenges and adversity; empower me so I do not give up until my testimony is ripe.
Lord, I surrender to you, to change anything you want in me, so I can know you more.
I want to see you face to face O lord, Reveal yourself to me more and more.
Lord let your grace and mercy see me through every challenge so I can have a testimony that brings Glory and honour to your name.
Father, the encounter that will change my life for good and encourage me, give me now.
Father, let this season mark a turning point in my life. Change my story for the better.
Lord, grant me wisdom to wait on you till all your promises are fulfilled in my life.
Father, wherever our families, and all our members in FA may be, across the world, daily, let your blood preserve and protect them throughout this year.