I will not let thee go. —Genesis 32:26
Read Genesis 32:24-32
Jacob remained behind alone after giving instructions to his family, pleading for an answer to his prayer while he struggled in his unbelief. He had to continue onward, but did not dare to. This impossible situation was coming to a climax. Until that very moment, he had battled against people, against Isaac, Esau and Laban. It had been an unholy battle, filled with sin. But now the battle was with the Lord. Jacob received an answer to his prayer, not through a vision or dream, but by a visit from what he thought was a man. Jacob’s faith had faltered, but after so much doubting and weakness, his faith was victorious at the decisive moment. The Lord allowed Himself to be overcome. During the struggle with his Adversary, Jacob declared, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Jacob’s Adversary had asked him his name, and he had to admit that it was Jacob, the deceiver, the sinner! He bowed under the Lord’s verdict and confessed his guilt. But then Jacob experienced a miracle; his name was changed to Israel, meaning prince or warrior of God. He declared, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (v.30).
The Lord works in the same manner today. He first opens our eyes to reveal our guilt so that we see our need, namely, that we be reconciled to God. The miracle of God’s saving grace can only occur through the blood of the Lamb. The “chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Is.53:5). How often the Lord worked in Jacob’s heart, and yet each time again he sank down in sin and unbelief! Peniel became the place of his deliverance. Do not rest until you know that you too have been delivered.
What did Jacob learn at Peniel?