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Icons of the Bible: Jacob & Esau, A Study in Opposites

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

Photo of Jacob
Photo of Esau

Images from Icons of the Bible James Lewis

The Icons of The Bible Series will go through all the people of the Bible in chronological order. I will attempt to provide you focused article and videos that will help you become more familiar with those whom God chose to tell us about in His Holy Scripture. - Andy

Will You Wrestle with God?

What do you really need from God right now? What blessing do you want from him? How badly do you want it?

There are times when God only releases his blessings on us after a season of prolonged and even painful wrestling with him.

Strangest Wrestling Match in History

Litho print Jacob wrestling with God
Wrestling with God

In Genesis 32, Jacob is on his way back home to Canaan with his small tribe of wives and children after a twenty year sojourn in Paddan-aram. And he is scared to death, because his estranged brother, Esau, is coming to meet him — with four hundred men (Genesis 32:6). This is no welcome party; it’s an army.

So after splitting up his household into two camps to try and avoid complete annihilation, Jacob, understandably suffering insomnia, intends to spend the night alone — no doubt in desperate prayer.

“All of our struggling with God in faith leads to peace.”

But a strange man who shows up and wrestles Jacob till daybreak rudely interrupts his plans. At some point during this weird contest Jacob realizes that he is wrestling God. And when God decides it’s time to end the match, he dislocates Jacob’s hip and demands to be released. And Jacob, in significant pain, replies, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26).

This response clearly pleases God, who pronounces this blessing on Jacob: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob [deceiver], but Israel [strives with God], for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).

Jacob then limps toward his tense reunion with Esau with a weakened body and a strengthened faith. Having wrestled with God, he knows his prayers regarding Esau will be answered.." from the article: Will You Wrestle with God?

Jacob Wrestles with God or Angel - Michael Heiser

Video from Bible Nerds

"Dr. Michael Heiser explains the hip or thigh being a possible euphemism for genitals. He goes through the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, possibly God incarnate, in the book of Genesis of the Bible. This is also the time God changed Jacob's name to Israel which means "Prince with God". This story has puzzle Christians, theologians, and Bible scholars for centuries. In a future video, we'll cover questions like was this an ordinary angel, was this God, was this Jesus in a theophany?" from video introduction.

Surprising Meaning and Lessons from the Lives of Jacob and Esau

"The relationship between Jacob and Esau is, no doubt, one of the more colorful stories of Scripture. The twins are continually seen at odds, with Jacob winning out over his older brother time and again. In fact, we may wonder why the manipulative and selfish Jacob is even considered a hero of faith at all. The more positive events of his life, such as his vision of the angelic ladder, his marrying of Rachel, and his wrestling with the angel of the Lord, all occur against the backdrop of his constant deceit. Furthermore, where Jacob is duplicitous, Esau is someone who “consoles himself with thoughts of killing Jacob” (Genesis 27:42). One cannot be faulted for questioning what this biblical account may have to teach us.." from the article: Surprising meaning and Lessons from the Lives of Jacob and Esau


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