Jacob's Limp

31 "The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip." Genesis 32:31.

One of my favorite Bible characters of all time is Jacob. His name means “heel grabber” since he wrestled with his twin brother Esau in the womb and had a hold of his brother’s heel when he was born. His name can also mean “supplanter” or “a layer of snares.” All his life Jacob was a trickster, manipulator, and a conniver and was always getting into all kinds of trouble.

I can relate to Jacob. As a hyperactive strong-willed kid growing up, with two older brothers, two older sisters, and a younger sister, I was always getting into trouble. Most of the time it was my fault. Even when it was not my fault, I still got in trouble. I quickly learned to use humor and wit to try to diffuse the situation. That did not always work.

So, when I began learning about Jacob and all the ways he tried to will his way in and out of trouble, I resonated with him. From trading a bowl of beans with his brother for his inheritance, to working all those years for his wives, to scheming with his father-in-law to obtain the best cattle, to wrestling with God, Jacob speaks to me.

In the story found in Genesis Chapter 32 when Jacob wrestled with God, the thing that stuck out to me was that Jacob was not going to let go, until God blessed him. As a kid, I would cry “uncle” any time my brothers wrestled with me. Jacob would not cry “uncle.” In fact, Jacob injured his hip because of the wrestling match. So, the question is “Why make Jacob limp?’

It has been a year since I fell and injured my knee. Obviously, I will always have a “limp” for the rest of my life because of the injury I had by doing God’s work. Even though I would not wish what happened to me on anyone else, my walk with the Lord, even with a limp, became stronger as a result.

Perhaps you too have experienced a “limp.” Jacob was so changed by his encounter with God, that his name was changed to Israel. The limp was a reminder of that “face to face” encounter he had with God. When we wrestle with God, He will change our lives, especially us strong willed people. When we submit and cry out to him, He truly blesses us.

I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


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