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“Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Genesis 32:28 NIV

This message was given to Jacob after he had spent the night literally wrestling with God. He’s on his way home to make amends with his brother Esau, who he had wronged years ago.  On his journey, he makes peace with God as well. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines peace as: Heavenly rest; the happiness of heaven.  In other words, Jacob has found rest from his struggles with God and man. 

Jacob as found rest by taking responsibility for his actions towards others and acknowledging, God is in control.  Jacob and Esau are twins. Years before this verse, he had stolen Esau’s birthright, as well as his blessing from their father.  Esau was born first, which meant he was entitled, by birth for both of those things. Jacob stole them from him by lying and stealing.  When Jacob fled his hometown, it was for his life. Esau wanted to kill him. Now he’s taking responsibility for his actions, facing up to what he has done, and through it, finding peace with man.  As he nears the day of actually seeing Esau again, he wrestles with God through the night. God humbles him further by hindering him. He touched Jacob’s hip, causing him to walk with a limp the rest of his life.  A reminder for Jacob of who is in control. Peace comes with a humble heart.

Peace Comes with a Humble Heart

Jacob’s journey is one of peace and humility.  Whether we like to admit it or not, we have all wronged someone.  We may not have stolen our siblings birthright, but we have snapped at our spouse.  We’ve lied to a friend, or done some other wrong. Admitting it, asking for forgiveness can be a hard road to walk.  Recently my husband and I had a heated debate. I said some things I shouldn’t have said. Acknowledging that I was out of line was difficult, but necessary to restore our relationship.  I learned from the experience. I don’t ever want to hurt him with my words again. I probably will at some point, but hopefully not the same way as I did that night. My relationship with God helps me to humble myself and say I’m sorry.

Our relationship with God begins when we say, I’m sorry.  When we tell God, we’re sinners in need of grace, we have found the starting point of new life.  When we receive the grace God gives us freely, we can find His peace. When we begin to accept our own human limits, we will be able to say I’m sorry easier.  We’ll accept our imperfections. We’ll do the best we can. And we’ll say “I’m sorry” when we need too. When we humble ourselves before God and man, we’ll find peace.

Question of the Day:

Who do you need to say “I’m sorry” to today?

Further Reading: Genesis 32:13-34:31 NIV, Matthew 11:7-30 NIV, Psalm 14:1-7 NIV, Proverbs 3:19-20 NIV

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