In Genesis 32, we encounter a story where Jacob, returning to his father’s lands in Palestine, engages in a cosmic wrestling match as he prepares to face his brother Esau in what seems surely to be shaping up into an epic battle between the brother of privilege and the brother of promise.
As the story goes, Jacob spends all day preparing to meet Esau, sending gifts out ahead, dividing his company into smaller parts in hopes some would be able to flee should a battle break out, and finally sending his family and household possessions away, leaving him alone in the night.
It’s there that the text tells us he wrestles with “a man” all night (some translations identify the man as an “angel of the Lord”). As daybreak nears, neither combatant is able to gain an advantage. It’s then we read in verse 25 that the man “touched the socket of his (Jacob’s) thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him” (NASB). Jacob, still unwilling to concede, begs his opponent for a blessing…at which point the man tells Jacob, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed” (Gen. 32:28, NASB).
Is there something in our struggle to know and be known by God that dislocates us?
This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll dig a little deeper into Jacob’s story and explore our own stories of struggling with God and what holy dislocation might look like.
Join us Nov. 5 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to share your story and hear from others!
Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm
Conversation Begins: 7:00pm