Jacob's 20 years of servitude end in chapter 31, but he must still go back to Bethel and make things right with God. The next several chapters record several crucial experiences in Jacob's life, as he makes his way from Laban's house to Bethel. In them we see illustrations of the conflict between flesh and Spirit, the old life and the new.
Esau was coming, and Jacob was about to meet his forgotten past! Would Esau forgive him or fight him? Would Jacob lose everything he had schemed for? How tragic it is when the past catches up with a man. But before Jacob met Esau, he experienced three other meetings.
In chapter 32:1-20 Jacob met God's angels, and in verses 21-26 he actually met the Lord and wrestled with Him. The battle lasted all night, and only after wrestling with the Lord could Jacob say, "Not my will but thine be done." In verses 27-32 Jacob finally faces himself, confesses his sin, and yields himself completely to the Lord. It was here that God gave him his new name, "Israel," which means "a prince with God," or "a God-governed man.".
To be broken by God is to have power with God. God gave Jacob a new beginning, a new power. Jacob was now walking in the Spirit rather than in the flesh. This was illustrated by a new walk, for now Jacob limped. He had been broken by God, but that limp was a mark of power, not of weakness.
Verse 31 indicates the dawn of a new day, as the sun rose and Jacob, with God's help, limped out to meet Esau. Their meeting takes place in chapter 33, and resulted in each forgiving the other and each going his separate way.
It is sometimes difficult to understand situations that come into our lives as Christians. But we must believe that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us. If we will totally yield our lives to Him, then everything that happens will bring honor and glory to Him. Give God first place in your life. Satan would have us believe there is not enough time for Bible reading, prayer, and Bible memorization. Don't let him deceive you with this lie! For I have found in my own life that when I give God the priorities of my life, there is time for everything!
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