Reflection on Genesis 32:22-31


Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”) for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”


Jacob prepares to meet with his brother Esau, sending his wives, sons and possessions across the river ahead of him.

During the night, a man comes and wrestles with Jacob until dawn. The man touches Jacob’s hip, dislocating it, but Jacob holds on to him.

Jacob demands the man’s blessing. The man responds by changing his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (“God fights”) because Jacob has fought with God and man.

From that day, Jacob walks with a limp. The people of Israel do not eat the tendon near the hip, in memory of this.


Jacob was a trickster and a deceiver. Here, he wrestles with God to secure a blessing from Him. Ironically, Jacob already had all the blessing he needed from God, so his struggle is in vain.

Jacob needed to stop fighting and scheming and learn to trust the Lord and submit to Him.

Many people spend years struggling against God only to find that it wasn’t necessary. We don’t need to fight against a God who has given everything for us.


Father God, forgive me for resisting your purposes in my life. I surrender myself to you now and declare the fighting is over. Amen.

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