A Transformation

Proper 13 (18)
July 31, 2011

 22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.

 24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”

   But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

 27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

   He replied, “Jacob.”

 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

 29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

   “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

 30 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.” 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.

Today we continue the narrative of Jacob.  We find out that Jacob wrestles with an angel all night.  The only way Jacob will let the angel go is if the angel blesses Jacob.  This is really a turning point in Jacob’s life.  We know this because he named the place where this meeting happened “Peniel” and we learn that Jacob saw God face to face and yet did not die.  It is at this place also that Jacob’s name is changed.  Jacob means deceiver – Israel means “God fights.”  Interesting – at this turning point — at this meeting of God — Jacob goes from being the deceiver to being God’s fighter.  It’s a story of transformation and really so is the whole Bible — it’s a story of God transforming people from what they were to what they can be with God working in their life.  The question for us today is how is God transforming you?

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