Jacob struggled with God and with people all of his life. He conspired with his mother to steal his brother Esau’s birthright and blessing. He was deceived by his father-in-law about whom he would marry. He in turn managed to turn the tables and deceived his father-in-law to get his best livestock. Finally it all caught up with Jacob. He fled from his father-in-law only to learn that Esau was coming to find him. One night when he was alone and worried he came across a man. But it was not just an ordinary man. Jacob wrestled with the man all through the night. Finally the man, an angel of God or a theophany, realized that Jacob would not let go so he hurt his hip. But Jacob would still not let go and we read in Genesis 32:
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Jacob, the conniver, the con artist, is nonetheless a model for your faith. He held on to God with all that he had. He understood this is God’s world. Jacob’s story is not one that would be typically held out as a model to follow. But throughout his life, he knew that God was God and he was not. Hebrews 11 lists Jacob as a man who lived by faith.
Psalm 46 reminds us that the God of Jacob is our refuge and our strength. No, Jacob did not get everything right. But he got God right. Jacob is an example to you and to me that our hope lies not in how good we are, but in how good God is. Jacob knew that the most important thing in life is clinging to the promises of a faithful God – no matter what!