Genesis 32* Jacob's vision at Mahanaim, His fear of Esau. (1-8) Jacob'searnest prayer for deliverance, He prepares a present for Esau.(9-23) He wrestles with the Angel. (24-32)1-8 The angels of God appeared to Jacob, to encourage him withthe assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs hispeople for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts.While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hardservice, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showingthat he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifiesgreat offences, #Ec 10:4|. We must not refuse to speakrespectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacobreceived an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him,and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickeningfear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidencein God's power and promise. 9-23 Times of fear should be times of prayer: whatever causesfear, should drive us to our knees, to our God. Jacob had latelyseen his guards of angels, but in this distress he applied toGod, not to them; he knew they were his fellow-servants, #Re22:9|. There cannot be a better pattern for true prayer thanthis. Here is a thankful acknowledgement of former undeservedfavours; a humble confession of unworthiness; a plain statementof his fears and distress; a full reference of the whole affairto the Lord, and resting all his hopes on him. The best we cansay to God in prayer, is what he has said to us. Thus he madethe name of the Lord his strong tower, and could not but besafe. Jacob's fear did not make him sink into despair, nor didhis prayer make him presume upon God's mercy, without the use ofmeans. God answers prayers by teaching us to order our affairsaright. To pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a present. We must notdespair of reconciling ourselves to those most angry against us. 24-32 A great while before day, Jacob being alone, more fullyspread his fears before God in prayer. While thus employed, Onein the likeness of a man wrestled with him. When the spirithelpeth our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires canscarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more thanwe can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God.However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailingwith Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies thatstrive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasingexertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit offaith and prayer. Jacob kept his ground; though the strugglecontinued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence hisprayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have all hisbone put out of joint than go away without one. Those who wouldhave the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial. Thefervent prayer is the effectual prayer. The Angel puts a lastingmark of honour upon him, by changing his name. Jacob signifies asupplanter. From henceforth he shall be celebrated, not forcraft and artful management, but for true valour. Thou shalt becalled Israel, a prince with God, a name greater than those ofthe great men of the earth. He is a prince indeed that is aprince with God; those are truly honourable that are mighty inprayer. Having power with God, he shall have power with men too;he shall prevail, and gain Esau's favour. Jacob gives a new nameto the place. He calls it Peniel, the face of God, because therehe had seen the appearance of God, and obtained the favour ofGod. It becomes those whom God honours, to admire his gracetowards them. The Angel who wrestled with Jacob was the secondPerson in the sacred Trinity, who was afterwards God manifest inthe flesh, and who, dwelling in human nature, is calledImmanuel, #Ho 12:4,5|. Jacob halted on his thigh. It might serveto keep him from being lifted up with the abundance of therevelations. The sun rose on Jacob: it is sun-rise with thatsoul, which has had communion with God.
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