I’LL BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW that Jacob was almost 100 years old when he wrestled all night long with what seems to have been a celestial being—possibly God.
It’s one of many strange and mysterious stories in Genesis. Some wonder if it ever really happened, or if it was a dream Jacob had, or perhaps a vision of the night.
I’m working on a Q&A leader’s guide and atlas to accompany the Casual English Bible’s paraphrase of Genesis. I’m nearly done with the leader’s guide and should be able to start on the atlas this week.
Genesis is a whopper of a book. Fifty chapters. My guide is over 150 pages. I haven’t figured up how many maps I’ll need to create.
Here’s a sample Q&A from Genesis 32. It’s question 10 for that chapter.
LIFE APPLICATION. If Jacob wrestled God in this story, he was somehow able to tie up God in a wrestling hold all night long. Do you think we can actually tie up God, spiritually speaking, and at least temporarily keep him from doing the work he wants to do for us? If so what are some techniques for tying God up?
The image of tying up God in a camel clutch wrestling hold—or any other hold—is hard to imagine. It’s a whole lot easier to imagine tying ourselves up in a knot, perhaps by making a series of bad decisions. Jacob certainly made a lot of bad decisions: exploiting his brother, stealing his brother’s deathbed blessing from their father, robbing his father, Isaac, of Isaac’s last wish, not checking under the veil to see which woman he married. He could not undo any of that. He had to live with all of that. But through all of it, God stayed with him. Maybe one of the take-home messages from the story is that no matter how badly we trip up or fall down or tie ourselves up in knots, we’re never alone and we’re never beyond the reach of God’s kindness.