Genesis 32

* Jacob's vision at Mahanaim, His fear of Esau. (1-8) Jacob's

earnest 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 with

the assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs his

people for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts.

While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hard

service, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showing

that he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifies

great offences, #Ec 10:4|. We must not refuse to speak

respectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacob

received an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him,

and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickening

fear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidence

in God's power and promise.
9-23 Times of fear should be times of prayer: whatever causes

fear, should drive us to our knees, to our God. Jacob had lately

seen his guards of angels, but in this distress he applied to

God, not to them; he knew they were his fellow-servants, #Re

22:9|. There cannot be a better pattern for true prayer than

this. Here is a thankful acknowledgement of former undeserved

favours; a humble confession of unworthiness; a plain statement

of his fears and distress; a full reference of the whole affair

to the Lord, and resting all his hopes on him. The best we can

say to God in prayer, is what he has said to us. Thus he made

the name of the Lord his strong tower, and could not but be

safe. Jacob's fear did not make him sink into despair, nor did

his prayer make him presume upon God's mercy, without the use of

means. God answers prayers by teaching us to order our affairs

aright. To pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a present. We must not

despair of reconciling ourselves to those most angry against us.
24-32 A great while before day, Jacob being alone, more fully

spread his fears before God in prayer. While thus employed, One

in the likeness of a man wrestled with him. When the spirit

helpeth our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires can

scarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more than

we can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God.

However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailing

with Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies that

strive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasing

exertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit of

faith and prayer. Jacob kept his ground; though the struggle

continued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence his

prayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have all his

bone put out of joint than go away without one. Those who would

have the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial. The

fervent prayer is the effectual prayer. The Angel puts a lasting

mark of honour upon him, by changing his name. Jacob signifies a

supplanter. From henceforth he shall be celebrated, not for

craft and artful management, but for true valour. Thou shalt be

called Israel, a prince with God, a name greater than those of

the great men of the earth. He is a prince indeed that is a

prince with God; those are truly honourable that are mighty in

prayer. Having power with God, he shall have power with men too;

he shall prevail, and gain Esau's favour. Jacob gives a new name

to the place. He calls it Peniel, the face of God, because there

he had seen the appearance of God, and obtained the favour of

God. It becomes those whom God honours, to admire his grace

towards them. The Angel who wrestled with Jacob was the second

Person in the sacred Trinity, who was afterwards God manifest in

the flesh, and who, dwelling in human nature, is called

Immanuel, #Ho 12:4,5|. Jacob halted on his thigh. It might serve

to keep him from being lifted up with the abundance of the

revelations. The sun rose on Jacob: it is sun-rise with that

soul, which has had communion with God.
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