Genesis 32.24-Daybreak Symbolizes End of Divine Discipline and Fellowship with God
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Sunday September 3, 2006
Genesis: Genesis 32:24-Daybreak Symbolizes End of Divine Discipline and Fellowship with God
Lesson # 198
Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 32:1.
This morning we will continue with our studies of Jacob’s wrestling match with the Lord Jesus Christ, which is recorded in Genesis 32:24-32 and in particular, we will study the significance of the wrestling match ending at “daybreak.”
The wrestling match ending at “daybreak” symbolizes or is a picture of Jacob no longer under divine discipline but rather “walking in the light,” which describes experiencing fellowship with God by being obedient to the Word of God, which demonstrates our faith in God.
This wrestling took place just prior to Jacob meeting his twin brother Esau who he cheated out of the blessing of the birthright twenty years before.
Esau threatened to kill Jacob once their father Isaac had died and this led to his being sent by his parents to his uncle Laban who lived in Paddan Aram (northern Syria).
Jacob lived with his uncle Laban for twenty years who exploited and cheated Jacob, however the Lord protected and prospered Jacob, as He said He would, giving him four wives, eleven children and numerous flocks and herds.
Then, we read in Genesis 31, Jacob obeys the Lord’s command to leave Laban in order to return to his father Isaac who lived in Hebron in the land of Canaan.
Even though Jacob escaped one conflict with Laban, we saw him returning to another conflict, namely, confronting his twin brother Esau.
Genesis 32:1-23 records Jacob preparing to meet his old rival, Esau, and which preparations include wrestling with the preincarnate Christ.
Therefore, let’s pick it up in context in Genesis 32:1.
Genesis 32:1, “Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him.”
Genesis 32:2, “Jacob said when he saw them, ‘This is God's camp.’ So he named that place Mahanaim.”
Genesis 32:3, “Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.”
Genesis 32:4-5, “He also commanded them saying, ‘Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.’”
Genesis 32:6, “The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, ‘We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.’”
Genesis 32:7-8, “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies; for he said, ‘If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.’”
Genesis 32:9-10, “Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you, I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.’”
Genesis 32:11, “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.”
Genesis 32:12, “For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’”
Genesis 32:13-15, “So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.”
Genesis 32:16, “He delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.’”
Genesis 32:17, “He commanded the one in front, saying, ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?’”
Genesis 32:18, “then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’”
Genesis 32:19-20, “Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, ‘After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’ For he said, ‘I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.’”
Genesis 32:21, “So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp.”
Genesis 32:22, “Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.”
Genesis 32:23, “He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.”
Genesis 32:24, “Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.”
Genesis 32:25, “When he (the Lord) saw that he (the Lord) had not prevailed against him (Jacob), he (the Lord) touched the socket of his (Jacob’s) thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.”
Genesis 32:26, “Then he (the Lord) said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.’ But he (Jacob) said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”
Genesis 32:27, “So he (the Lord) said to him (Jacob), ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’”
Genesis 32:28, “He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.’”
Genesis 32:29, “Then Jacob asked him and said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And he blessed him there.”
Genesis 32:30, “So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.’”
Genesis 32:31, “Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.”
Genesis 32:32, “Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip.”
Genesis 32:24-30 indicates that Jacob wrestled with the preincarnate Christ meaning before the Son of God became a man permanently at Bethlehem two thousand years ago, He appeared to Jacob as a human being.
The fact that Jacob wrestled the preincarnate Christ is indicated by the following: (1) Genesis 32:28 says that Jacob had “striven with God” (2) Genesis 32:29 records Jacob saying, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
As we noted this past week in our studies, Jacob’s wrestling match with the Lord was symbolic of his struggles with both God and men, which is why the Lord appeared in human form to wrestle Jacob.
We also studied this past week that Jacob’s wrestling match with the Lord “at night” symbolizes the “divine discipline” that Jacob underwent in the form of fourteen years of hard labor for his deceitful uncle Laban.
As we noted earlier, the fact that the wrestling match ended at “daybreak” symbolized or was a picture of Jacob no longer under divine discipline but rather “walking in the light,” which describes experiencing fellowship with God.
1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
1 John 1:7, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
The divine discipline in the form of twenty years of hard labor for Laban had humbled him and forced him to avail himself of the divine provision of prayer and claiming the promises that the Lord had made to him at Bethel.
When Jacob wrestles the Lord, at that point in his life, he was walking in the light, in fellowship with God.
The question arises, at what point in the life of Jacob did he come out from under divine discipline and begin to walk in fellowship with God by operating in faith?
The turning point in Jacob’s life came when he stopped fighting God and men and began to walk by faith was after the fourteen years of service to Laban.
Jacob’s wrestling match with the Lord and men continued up to the birth of Joseph at the completion of Jacob’s fourteen years of service to Laban, which is indicated by Jacob’s proposal to Laban recorded in Genesis 30 since this proposal demonstrated tremendous faith in the Lord and His promises.
If you recall, the first seven years that Jacob worked for Laban was to marry Leah and the next seven years was payment to marry Rachel.
During these last seven years, God had prospered Jacob by giving him eleven boys and one girl (See Genesis 29:31-30:24) and through the birth of these children, Jacob could see God working in his life and fulfilling His promises to him of numerous progeny, which caused a change in Jacob in that he grew to trust and love God.
Also during these fourteen years, Jacob saw God prospering Laban through him and this too caused a change in Jacob in that he grew to love and trust God even more as a result of seeing the Lord fulfill His promises to be with him and protect him and bless him (See Genesis 30:27).
Furthermore, right after the Lord gave Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel a child named Joseph, we see Jacob’s faith in the Lord manifested in a fantastic way in his proposal to Laban regarding flocks, which is recorded in Genesis 30:22-43.
Genesis 30:22, “Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.”
Genesis 30:23, “So she conceived and bore a son and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’”
Genesis 30:24, “She named him Joseph, saying, ‘May the LORD give me another son.’”
Genesis 30:25, “Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me away that I may go to my own place and to my own country.’”
Genesis 30:26, “Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.”
Genesis 30:27, “But Laban said to him, ‘If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the LORD has blessed me on your account.’”
Genesis 30:28, “He continued, ‘Name me your wages, and I will give it.’”
Genesis 30:29, “But he said to him, ‘You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me.’”
Genesis 30:30, “For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?”
Genesis 30:31, “So he said, ‘What shall I give you?’ And Jacob said, ‘You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock.’”
Genesis 30:32, “let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.”
Genesis 30:33, “So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.”
Genesis 30:34, “Laban said, ‘Good, let it be according to your word.’”
Jacob asks for nothing from Laban but instead proposed to Laban that all the spotted, speckled and striped of Laban’s flock be removed so that only solid colored animals remain, which he would care for.
Jacob proposes that his pay would consist of only those animals yet unborn and so therefore, it would be entirely up to the Lord as to how many animals would become Jacob’s.
Jacob’s proposal put himself entirely at the mercy of the Lord and was a great act of faith in the Lord on his part and was the first ray of sunlight in his life and was the beginning of the end of his divine discipline.
It is at this point in his life that Jacob begins to walk by faith and not by sight and his faith is manifested in several incidents after this proposal with Laban, which are recorded in Genesis 31-32.
In Genesis 31:3, Jacob obeyed the Lord to leave Laban and return to Canaan even though he knew Laban would react in a hostile fashion towards him and that Esau had in the past wanted to kill him.
In Genesis 32:3-6, Jacob initiates contact with Esau by sending messengers to Esau to convey to him his desire to reconcile with him.
In Genesis 32:9-12, Jacob deals with his fear of Esau and his four hundred men by praying to God for deliverance and claiming the promises of protection from God.
In Genesis 32:13-21, Jacob sends 550 animals to Esau as restitution for stealing the blessing of the birthright from him twenty years before.
In Genesis 32:22-23, Jacob sent his family across the Jabbok directly in the path of Esau, manifesting his faith that God would protect them.
In Genesis 32:24a, Jacob desired to be alone with God in prayer before he encountered Esau.
Therefore, we can see that Jacob left Canaan a man who could be characterized as a cheat and a scoundrel and a slave to his old Adamic sin nature that did not trust God to deal with his problems with people.
However, upon reentering Canaan, he had developed into a great man of God who walked by faith and not by sight, who prayed to God for help in adversity rather than resorting to his own schemes to solve his problems.
So therefore, the character of Jacob has changed dramatically since he left Canaan and this is why the Lord changed his name to Israel and which change of name represented a change of character.
Now, if we could we have our deacons pass out the communion elements and let us take a few minutes to meditate upon the Lord and prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Supper.
1 Corinthians 11:23-24, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”
1 Corinthians 11:25, “In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’”
1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”