God might be described as a Sovereign who will not allow His purpose to be crossed or thwarted. God has a Plan! Like a great and awesome river, He is going somewhere. Can we remain friends if our wills are momentarily wrangled like Jacob and the Angel of Jabbok? The man proceeded with a limp and that is no light matter. As some saint of old might comment from his heavenly bleacher, “I served with Jacob. I knew Jacob but you… You, my fellow saint are no Jacob!”
The patriarch also came away with a name change but no one seem to immediately notice not even Jacob, aka Israel! What was noted was seemingly, a loser’s limp.
Reading the passage from Genesis 32, the imagery is of a believer, uncomfortably bent over on his knees struggling in prayer due to his own evident shortcomings and self-inflicted problems. Back and forth he mentally weighs the issues of faith; His God appointed calling, his unworthiness compared to his predecessors, his lack of confidence; his fear. Jacob invited God to the tete-a-tete and as a Gentleman, when it was time to leave, God made it clear that He would be going only at His host’s release. God allowed Himself to be bound, in a sense, by decorum. This polite allowance is limited when He is likewise asked His name, just as He previously asked Jacob his name. With condescension, the angel replied with a royal snub. “Why do you ask?”
God is both Friend and Lord. As Jacob’s battle within transcended into the spiritual, God willingly joined the fray. Scripture reveals three areas that marked significant change as Israel, formerly Jacob continued his life’s sojourn. First, he prevailed spiritually speaking and the evidence is recorded and validated by a name change: Cheater to Prince of Power. Next, his *hurple, a war wound. God goes from being Friend to serious Enemy when His Sovereignty is questioned by unbelief. That wound was not gained by friendly fire! And yet, perhaps only eternity revealed to Jacob what he as Israel accomplished, seen on this side of the veil as that earthly limp. Finally, putting the man’s fears and doubts to rest, the Holy Ghost interchange went from mere dialogue, a tete-a-tete to a vis-a-vis. A face to Face encounter with the living God, at times a Foe but also, a Friend and forever the Lord.
*Contrary to popular English literary legend, the word, purple does have a rhyme.