Gen. 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. 32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.
According to Strong’s Exaustive Concordance, the word “Jabbok” means “pouring forth.” It is a river that flows from the east to the west some 60 miles to empty into the Jordan. It is second of all the streams east of Jordan in the area it drains. The Lord has instructed Jacob to Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: (Gen. 32:9). And to fulfill the Lord’s command he must cross the Jabbok and enter into the “pouring forth” of his natural man! It is always, without exception the way of the cross that leads home! “If I ne’re get sight of the gates of light, it will be the way of the cross that I missed!”
Our Lord also emptied himself to come among us and fulfill the work that the Father laid out for him. For the words, made himself of no reputation as found in Philippians 2:7 mean to make empty! He left the richness of his eternal glory and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin to come among us for our salvation! (Rom. 8:3).
And even though Jacob was a grandson of God’s friend Abraham, he still had to cross Jabbok! And of the Lord Jesus we read in Hebrews 5:8, Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; For God had only one Son without sin, but he will have no sons without a cross!
Jabbok marked a strong border with the children of Ammon! Num. 21:24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. There is nothing like the cross to bring forth the clear distinction of our identities. For it is that cross by which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. It distinctly sets forth the boundary between that which is born of the flesh and that which is born of the Spirit! And the birth of the Ammonites was accomplished in incest between Lot and his daughter (Gen. 19:38).
It was at this time in Jacob’s life that he received kisses from both Laban, his father-in-law, and from Esau, his brother. (Gen. 31:55, 33:4). But he here received a smiting from the Lord! See verse 25 listed above. And it was at the time of the cross that Judas kissed the Lord! (Matt. 26:49.) But we read that it pleased the LORD to bruise him! (Isaiah 53:10).
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Prov. 27:6) I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (Psa. 119:75) It is at the point of our God-appointed afflictions that the true reality of life is experienced. For the world, even with its kisses, loves us not to any degree as God, our Father with his smiting rod! For the world is full of inordinate affections which change as the wind! The crowd that cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord, was soon to cry, Crucify him! Crucify him! Those whose tongues were loosed by his miracles used them to cry out against their Healer!
But the true reality is clearly set forth by God at our crosses! There sin is seen as sin, and is dealt with according to his righteous judgment! Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
And it is his cross applied that is the great evidence of our salvation! 1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
Although it cost Jacob his natural walk, he persevered to obtain the spiritual blessing! See verse 26 above. This is the pattern given to us by our Lord! He did not call 10,000 angels to relieve him of his sufferings at Calvary! He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2).
And none of his true believers love their limbs more than they love God’s favor! For they would rather lose hand, foot, or even an eye, rather than be separated from his loving approval! Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Although Jacob was previously conscious of the supernatural, he still had to cross Jabbok! Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. Many religionists rely on their visions and heavenly awarenesses to prove their standing with God. But it was still required that Jacob wrestle with God for his spiritual power. Hosea 12:3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: 4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed:
The true believers power with God is with the wrestlings of his faith in an awareness of his spiritual weakness, and not in whatever supernatural awarenesses he may have experienced. Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
For the true believer’s power lies in his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
And both Jacob and the Lord Christ have physical marks to witness of their power with God. In verse 31 listed above, we read that Jacob halted upon his thigh! He had a new walk in the spirit which was evidenced in this impediment in the flesh! And who among us have not sang in thankfulness of how his flowing wounds supply? For it is by the torn veil of his flesh through which we enter by the new and living way to worship! (Heb. 10:20). And it was by the revelation of those wounds that power was afforded Thomas to overcome his doubt and proclaim, my Lord and my God! (John 20:27, 28). And it is still by the spiritual revelation of His wounds that true believers are caused to be not faithless, but believing! The Apostle Paul proclaims, From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (Gal. 6:17). And the Amplified clarifies this by stating of those marks, that they are [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions]. – These testify of His ownership of me!
And we should also note the content of verse 32, listed above, of how Jacob’s wound began a tradition in Israel that, the writer states, continues unto this day! Would to God that the wounds of Christ were the exclusive directive to govern the church in our land regarding the matter of the traditions which she maintains! The gospel, effectually applied, causes us to obtain the glory of Christ, and we are therefore commanded to maintain the traditions we have been taught thereby! Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thess. 2:14,15).
Once Jacob had seen God face to face (v.32, above), he now says to Esau, for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. He did not mean that he saw Esau as God! He meant that he saw the kindness in the face of one who had sworn to kill him as a mercy of God! For Esau being pleased with him could only be attributed to a mighty work in this apostates heart! Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. 7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
We must always remember, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17). And that anyone’s face reveals kindness to us must always be received in spiritual thanksgiving to God’s glory having been revealed to us in the glory of his Son’s face! (2 Cor. 4:6).
Pastor Gene Breed
Marcj 7, 2010