Connecting to the Larger Story
Jacob fled to the land of his mother Rebekah and there was tricked into marrying two sisters, Rachel whom he loved and her older sister Leah. Through them and their servants, he became the father of many children. Continuing his own ways of trickery, he became rich in livestock at the expense of his father-in-law Laban who had forced him to work many years to earn the hands of his daughters. The time came for Jacob to return to his own homeland. As the journey came to a close, Jacob grew worried about how Esau would react upon seeing him again.
Important to Note
1) On the eve of his reunion with Esau, Jacob is worried and decides to prepare a lavish gift to appease his brother's anger. After many years, there finally seems to be in Jacob a realization of how he has wronged his brother and a willingness to humble himself seeking forgiveness.
2) As Jacob wrestles with the stranger, he asks for a blessing and receives a new name - Israel. The name means something along the lines of "struggles with God." This blessing becomes not only his name but the name of the people he is the father of. Thus, God's chosen family are a people who not only follow and worship God but also wrestle with God.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) Have you ever worried about whether someone would forgive you or continue to hate you?
2) How do we today wrestle and struggle with God?