We are a wounded nation not yet fully at peace with each other. Some of us still carry the scars. Looking at social media, we are still at war with each other. In Genesis 32, we find a similar wrestling match. God initiates different kinds of wrestling matches with each one of us in the light hours, wrestling until the day is broken. As the morning breaks, God says “let me go”. Jacob replied “no, I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob, unimaginably, has been strong all night long but he learns the hard way that the created beings can’t be strong enough for the Creator.
And with one touch He broke Jacob in his hip and wounded him. By breaking Jacob, God is initiating a process with Jacob.
First lesson: although Jacob is wounded, he is still wrestling. Jacob gets wounded, but he continues to wrestle. Jacob got a hold of God, and God got a hold of Jacob but neither won’t let the other go. And the Bible says, although wounded Jacob kept on holding on to God. Although wounded he kept on wrestling with God. Although wounded, Jacob won’t shake off the God he is holding on to. I am with Jacob on this one. We may be hurt, rejected and disappointed sometimes. I am wounded and know I am not going to win this battle but please Lord don’t let go of me. A prayer of dependency.
Second lesson: although Jacob is wounded he still has worth. This is a meditation about any reader today, called and serving God and wounded in action: Jacob is wounded but he still has worth. Some of us when we get to our wounded places, we allow others to de-value us, if we don’t de-value ourselves. When we are wounded we think we don’t deserve good things coming our way, and the mistake we make is to think we are in a place we ought not to be, and that we will never get back to the sense of normalcy. Jacob could have just thrown in the towel. In the midst of this wrestling match, God says to Jacob: “what is your name?” God knew the answer to the question but He needed Jacob to admit something. My name is Jacob. You know what the name Jacob means? – It means trickster, means hill grabber. The name Jacob ties him to his past; ties him to his proclivities; ties him to people who want to kill him.
What’s your name? My name is Jacob: I have got some issues I am not proud of. I am a gangster; I have stolen my brother’s firstborn rights. I have a shady past. All is not well in my life. I am having some stuff with which I am dealing. I have some baggage the people are aware about. There are skeletons in my closet. God says I know your past; I know your proclivities; I know your tricks; I know your shortcoming; I know some people disapprove of your life Jacob and are looking for you to kill you BUT they don’t know you are called to my purpose and that you still have some purpose in my divine scheme of things. So your name is no longer Jacob – I am giving you a new name, Israel. The name Israel means the one who struggled with God and overcame. A new name makes me think about the prodigal son who came home, weary, tired, wounded, and from far off his father recognised him, gave him a new ring, a new robe.
The third lesson is that although Jacob is wounded he is still walking. The psalmist says that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. The text in Genesis 32 says that the sun rose and Jacob walked past Pineal limping. Pineal is the place of his struggle. Pineal is the place where he thought nothing will happen for him. Pineal is the place of devastation but in verse 31 he walks past Pineal limping. Although you are wounded, you are still walking. Yes, walk on, for to limp is an enabling mobilisation. Although you are wounded God doesn’t want you to remain in your place of suffering. You may be sad, but God doesn’t want you to remain at the bitter waters of Mara, and even though you can’t run and you can’t walk normal God wants you to limp on to the sweet waters of Elim. Amen