JACOB WAS LEFT ALONE
Genesis 32:24 ¶ 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.
Jacob, a picture of the believing, suffering servant of the Lord God, has finally escaped Laban’s employment and is on his way back home to Canaan after twenty years. Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 71:20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
So here we have the picture of the believer having escaped his former worldliness by the Lord’s sovereign application of grace within his soul. He who once was just a Jacob – a liar, a supplanter – is on his way to becoming an Israel – a prince who has power with God! 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And even though he is borned again, the believer, like Jacob, shall have the world, pictured by Laban, pursue him, trying to prevent him from leaving his former lusts. 1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
And Jacob, like every true believer is struggling to get his fruitfulness, (represented by his wives and children), to the more heavenly country of Canaan, where he can have them live there under the purposes of the Lord God. Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
And as Laban strives to keep Jacob from leaving Syria for his own selfish benefit, (Genesis 30:27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.), so the world is behind the believer seeking to pull him back. But there is another influence ahead, as Esau stands between Jacob and Canaan. For as Laban strives to keep him from leaving Syria, so Esau waits ahead to prevent him from entering Canaan.
And Esau is a more close relative, not like Laban, a distant relative, and therefore must be dealt with in a different way. For Esau is his twin brother, born from the same womb, at the same time. For as Laban pictures to us the old world, from whom we are delivered by grace alone, so Esau represents to us our own carnal mind. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Now the believer must contend with this enemy who is worse than Laban. He must now contend with his fleshly, inner nature which has no spiritual appetite! Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Esau had no interest in a spiritual birthright. He rather preferred that which was to the satisfaction of his flesh! Genesis 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
And so our old nature, still alive and well, has no appetite for the spiritual, but only as it can gain the goals of its self interests! Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Esau winds up with a large number of Jacob’s animals in order to appease his wrath! Genesis 32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. And it is so with every believer. When we are ruled by guilt or pity, raised up by the ‘inordinate affections’ of the natural man, we try to appease our flesh by entering in with it into these base animal emotions!
There is a great deal of religion carried on by this situation. Were it not for an unmortified imagination and inordinate affections, there would hardly be any religion among us! For most of what is going on in today’s religion is fueled by the false concepts of the angel of light – Satan! An un-sanctified imagination allows religion to be produced by the images provided by the beast! 2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Today’s evangelistic efforts are not solely controlled by the Holy Spirit! Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. We are given projected images on slides of poor, skinny people in foreign lands, which are designed to motivate us to be controlled by guilt or pity, but not by the Holy Spirit.
So Jacob is left alone, in order to realize that his wrestling is with God and not with Laban or Esau! For scheming Jacob cannot progress in the deeper things of the Spirit until he becomes limping Israel. And one thing we notice is that the Lord God has put into him an effectual desire for the birthright. He first comes to our attention catching his elder brother’s heel from the womb. For the Lord has determined that the elder shall serve the younger. As the first Adam (the physical man), must serve the last Adam, the Lord Christ!
Listen to the Prophet Hosea link this earliest evidence of his determination to have the birthright to his wrestling with the angel, stating, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” 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: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; 5 Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. Please take note in verse three that his taking his brother by the heel at birth is linked with this insistent demand that, as he would not let his brother’s heel go, so he will not let the angel go until he obtains the birthright!
And the next verse in Hosea’s writings relate to us that we are to do the same. Hosea 12:6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. For that word, “Therefore” relates to us that we are to seek the Lord, as fervently as did Jacob. That’s what his example it ‘there for!’ 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. Song 3:4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
And in verse twenty five of our text, listed above, we read that in his wrestling with the angel his thigh was put out of joint. Once we cease to give our attentions to the world and gain some dominance over our carnal minds, and we come to this aloneness of facing God as God, we never walk the same again! 1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. For our flesh must be restricted in order that we only walk in the Spirit! Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The flesh must be crucified, as God will never share his glory with carnality! 1 Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
The Apostle Paul realized that it was only as he was made weak by God’s removal of his dependance on his natural man, that he could be strong in the Spirit! 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 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.
And as it was with Jacob, so it is with every true believer since. For did you ever notice that when Abram and Sarai’s names were changed to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:5,15), their old names do not appear again? But after Jacob was renamed Israel he is referred to as Jacob frequently. For when one uses the word, “Israel,” all minds turn to the nation, and not the man. For although he was “Israel” to the Lord God, yet he remains an example to the believers of all ages as the suffering servant – Jacob!
Consider the words of this Psalm. Psalm 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. For if we have ever used the term, “The Lord of hosts,” we only do so as our example, Jacob did! 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. For our “LORD of hosts” is the very “God of Jacob!”
Then in verse thirty one of our text we read that as Jacob “passed over,” that is, as he went on his way, two things are noted. First the sun rose upon him. There was a fresh, new light for him now! For after one’s personal encounter with the Lord God, one sees life in a brighter light! Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Secondly, we read that he halted upon his thigh. For not only did he have a new light, but also a new walk! He now knew that life now would never be by scheming, as he and his mother had done in order to obtain the right of birth, but it would only be by the work of the Holy Spirit, as he remained weak. Zechariah 4:6 …Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 10, 2016