Wrestling with the Angel

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 32:1-32; Genesis 33:1-16

INTRODUCTION:  Jacob reaches great heights of spiritual maturity in this lesson.  He wrestles with the angel of God and prevails.  His name is changed form one that means supplanter to one that means prince of God.  He faces his greatest fear (Esau) and comes out victorious.  He is touched by God and is never the same again.

  1. JACOB PLANS (Genesis 32:1-8)
    1. Mahanaim (Genesis 32:1-2)
      1. Means two hosts or two camps
      2. Refers to his camp and the camp of angels (see 2 Kings 6:15-17)
    2. Messengers Sent (Genesis 32:3-5)
      1. To the land of Seir in the country of Edom (Genesis 32:3)
      2. Seeking grace in the sight of Esau (Genesis 32:4-5)
    3. Messengers Received (Genesis 32:6-8)
      1. Esau comes with 400 men (Genesis 32:6).
      2. Jacob is greatly distressed (Genesis 32:7).
      3. Jacob divides his people for safety (Genesis 32:7-8).
      4. NOTE: God revealed that Jacob already had two camps (Genesis 32:2).  It was therefore unnecessary for Jacob to divide his group.
  2. JACOB PRAYS (Genesis 32:9-12)
    1. He Reminds God of His Relationship (Genesis 32:9a).
      1. Through Abraham – God of my father Abraham
      2. Through Isaac – God of my father Isaac
      3. Now through him – the LORD which saidst unto me
    2. He Reminds God of His Command (Genesis 32:9b).
      1. Return unto thy country.
      2. Return to thy kindred.
      3. I will deal well with thee.
    3. He Declares His Unworthiness (Genesis 32:10).
      1. Jacob was not worthy of the least of all the mercies.
      2. Jacob was not worthy of the least of all the truth.
      3. This is the proper state for any servant of God (Matthew 3:11; Matthew 8:8; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8; Philippians 2:3; 1 Timothy 1:15).
    4. He Prays for Deliverance from Esau (Genesis 32:11).
    5. He Reminds God of His Promise (Genesis 32:12).
      1. God would surely do Jacob good.
      2. God would make Jacob’s seed as the sand of the sea.
  3. JACOB PREPARES (Genesis 32:13-23)
    1. He Sends a Present for Esau (Genesis 32:13-21).
      1. Jacob’s gift for Esau (Genesis 32:13-15)
        1. 200 she goats (Genesis 32:14)
        2. 20 he goats (Genesis 32:14)
        3. 200 ewes (Genesis 32:14)
        4. 20 rams (Genesis 32:14)
        5. 30 milch camels with their colts (Genesis 32:15)
        6. 40 kine (Genesis 32:15)
        7. 10 bulls (Genesis 32:15)
        8. 20 she asses (Genesis 32:15)
        9. 10 foals (Genesis 32:15)
      2. Jacob’s command for the servants (Genesis 32:16)
        1. The servants were to pass over ahead of Jacob and his family.
        2. The servants were to divide up the gifts into droves and put a space between each drove.
      3. Jacob’s instructions for each drove (Genesis 32:17-20)
      4. Jacob sends the present ahead (Genesis 32:21).
    2. He Sends His Family across the Brook Jabbok (Genesis 32:22-23).
  4. JACOB PREVAILS (Genesis 32:24-32)
    1. Jacob’s Wrestling Match (Genesis 32:24)
      1. He wrestled alone (see Matthew 26:56).
      2. He wrestled with the Lord (see Genesis 32:30; Hosea 12:3-5) –we often fight God without realizing it.
      3. He wrestled until daybreak (cp.1 Kings 18:42-44; Luke 18:1-7) –how often have we stopped right before we received the answer from the Lord?
    2. Jacob’s Unusual Encounter (Genesis 32:25-29)
      1. The Lord touched Jacob (Genesis 32:25) –he was never the same again.
      2. The Lord blessed Jacob (Genesis 32:26, 29).
      3. The Lord renamed Jacob (Genesis 32:27-28).
        1. His name – Israel: a prince of God (2 Timothy 2:12)
        2. His fame – power
          1. With God (Galatians 1:10; James 5:16-18)
          2. With man
    3. Jacob’s Changed Outlook (Genesis 32:30-32)
      1. His new confidence (Genesis 32:30; Philippians 4:13) “my life is preserved.”
      2. His new vision (Genesis 32:31a; Proverbs 29:18; Philippians 3:14)
      3. His new walk (Genesis 32:31b-32; 2 Corinthians 5:7)
  5. JACOB IS PRESERVED (Genesis 33:1-16)
    1. Jacob and Esau Meet (Genesis 33:1-7).
      1. Jacob’s fear (Genesis 33:1)
        1. Jacob lifted up his eyes and beheld Esau and 400 men coming.
        2. Jacob divided up the children between the women for their protection.
      2. Jacob’s favoritism (Genesis 33:2)
        1. The least favorite - handmaids and their children in the foremost
        2. The next-to-least favorite – Leah and her children after
        3. The favorite – Rachel and Joseph hindermost
      3. Jacob approaches Esau in reverence (Genesis 33:3).
      4. Esau runs to meet Jacob (Genesis 33:4).
      5. Esau meets Jacob’s family (Genesis 33:5-7).
    2. Jacob Insists on Esau Accepting His Present (Genesis 33:8-11).
    3. Jacob Insists That He Needs No Protection (Genesis 33:12-16).
      1. Esau offers to journey ahead of Jacob for protection (Genesis 33:12).
      2. Jacob must travel at a slower pace for the young (Genesis 33:13-14).
      3. Esau offers his men to travel with Jacob for safety, but Jacob refuses (Genesis 33:15-16).

CONCLUSION:  The changes in Jacob’s life brought him to the victories that he experiences in this chapter.  How is God working in your life?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 16:32

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.