For the week of November 27, 1999 / 18 Kislev 5760
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 32:4-36:43
Haftarah: Hosea 11:7-12:12
The Blessing of Pain
When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man (Bereshit / Genesis 32:25).
Jacob strove after the things of God. He may not have gone after God's blessings in the best way, but he did want them. This is in contrast to his twin brother Esau who couldn't care less about these things.
Whatever his circumstances, Jacob worked hard at getting his way. Not accepting that God would take care of him and fulfill his promises to him, he relied heavily on himself.
Many years after running away from Esau's wrath, Jacob was about to meet him again. He was very afraid. It was at that time that God in the form of a man came to Jacob and wrestled with him. Jacob didn't give up easy. No matter what he would not let go. He wrestled with God in the same fashion he dealt with everything else in his life. He insisted that he would benefit from this, demanding that "the man" would bless him, which he did.
Prior to this interchange, God touched Jacob in the hip socket, leaving him with a limp for the rest of his life. And so while he held on for God's blessing, he also became slightly crippled as a result.
As we observe how he related to Esau following this incident, we see that he had been changed. A new humility before people and a trust in God was now his. He no longer strove as he once did.
God will often oppose us. He will bring difficult circumstances into our life to break us. But due to our self-dependency, we don't always know how to humbly trust God. As a result we strive in all sorts of unhealthy directions, hurting ourselves and others in the process.
But God loves us too much to let us ruin our lives that way. He will often introduce pain to help us realize what life is really all about.
What may have made the biggest difference for Jacob is that he never let go of God, even after he was injured. Many people react badly to God's harsh treatments, not understanding his loving discipline. They have recoiled in fear and anger, not receiving the benefit that God desired for them.
So if you are undergoing difficulties, hold on to God until he blesses you. He will. He wants to.
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