Peter Barnes: Genesis 32:22-32
SERMON NOTES: WRESTLING WITH GOD (Genesis 32:22-32)
– Jacob was returning to face the music with his brother Esau. He wrestles with a man who is an angel who is God – 32:24, 28, 30; Hos.12:3-4. This is a pre-incarnation appearance of the Son of God.
- Blessing in suffering.
– 32:22-25, 31-32; like 2 Cor.12:9-10.
– Douglas MacMillan pointed out that when a wrestler’s thigh is gone, he is gone. Yet Jacob prevailed in weakness (v.28).
– Rom.9:30-32; 10:3; also Rom.5:6. In Genesis 28 he bargained with God; in Genesis 32 the helpless sinner rests upon his Lord.
- We must persevere for the blessing.
– 32:26. Hosea 12:4 says that Jacob wept in this struggle. Calvin says that God fights against us with His left hand and for us with His right hand. Luther says: ‘God has a tough mind and a tender heart.’
– Luke 11:8 (the NIV has ‘boldness’); 18:1; Rom.15:30; Col.4:12; Heb.5:7. Jeremy Taylor: ‘We beg tamely for those things for which we ought to die’.
– 1 Peter 1:5.
- New life is in Christ.
– 32:27-28. ‘Jacob’ means ‘he supplants’ or ‘he deceives’. ‘Israel’ means ‘God heals’ (W. F. Albright) or ‘May God strive (for him)’ (Derek Kidner) or ‘the prince with God’.
– Douglas MacMillan and Roger Ellsworth say Jacob was converted in Genesis 28; Martyn Lloyd-Jones says it was in Genesis 32. No man wrestles with the God-man, and emerges unchanged – 2 Cor.5:17.