The Men of Iron Minute
by Chad Zueck | Director of Content Creation
Embracing Life’s Wounds
Life is brutal. No one escapes this life without a limp. Just ask Jacob.
Jacob’s story is one for the ages. His life was plagued with deception and conniving. He twisted and turned to get what he wanted. He was the guy who looked out for number one, and as his name implies, he was a known deceiver. Most of us stay clear of men like Jacob because they tend to come out on top even if they are stepping on us to make it happen. After some wheeling and dealing, he robbed his brother, Esau, of blessing and birthright. God’s grace shined upon Jacob despite his deception and lies. Jacob’s life would be defined by a remarkable event in an ancient land called Peniel.
“That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.” Genesis 32:22-31, NIV84
This divine smackdown was not spurred by a malicious god trying to prove a point in an Ancient Near East Wrestle Mania. Rather, this wrestling match was from a malevolent God who loved Jacob and knew that his future could be better than the past. Furthermore, Jacob couldn’t talk his way out of this one with slick words, and God knew that Jacob could not slither out of this match as a snake sheds its skin. Jacob shuffled away from this match and right into reconciliation with his brother, Esau. So, it is with our spiritual growth. We have a sin we need to turn from, and if we hold the prideful line, we may find ourselves in a battle against God.
God’s wounds are not a sign of abandonment but an invitation to transformation. Jacob’s journey from deception to divine encounter teaches us that God wounds us to heal and grow us. Embrace the wounds, for they are the marks of divine grace and the catalysts for spiritual growth.
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 When God appears as a man in the Old Testament, he is usually called the Angel of the Lord, a title interchangeable with ‘God’ or ‘the Lord’ (28, 30; cf. Hos. 12:3, 4).