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Jacob sends messengers to Esau to tell him he is arriving and that he has prospered much in his time with Laban. When the messengers come back they have news that Esau is coming with four-hundred men.

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau  1 [a]Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.[b] 3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’” 6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” 7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,[c] and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group,[d] the group[e] that is left may escape.” 9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’” 13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.” 17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’” 19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
Jacob Wrestles With God 22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 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. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”   But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”   “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”   But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

    Jacob heads toward his brother Esau’s place. Near what today is Jordan an army of angles appeared. Whether they were there to protect Jacob or to encourage him is unsure. Jacob sends messengers to Esau to tell him he is arriving and that he has prospered much in his time with Laban. When the messengers come back they have news that Esau is coming with four-hundred men. Jacob takes this to mean that Esau plans to slaughter him and his fellow passengers. He splits the came in two hoping that if they were attacked at least some of them could escape.
    Jacob prays a prayer of deliverance to God. This is much in contrast to the original covenant the two made in which Jacob makes demands before he commits to following God. This might be the moment of his true conversion.
    Jacob was left alone and wrestles with a man until daybreak. Jacob says he has now seen God face to face, so this man was apparently a manifestation of God. God could have easily won but limits his strength. He does touch the hallow of Jacob’s thigh displacing it. In the morning God asks Jacob to let him go. Jacob asks to be blessed first. God says that Jacob will now be known as Israel. Israel means “prevailing with God.” Jacob won’t let God go until he is blessed. So, God blessed him. Jacob would no longer eat the tendon of the thigh of any animal.
    Before I came into God’s flock I had a debilitating disease known as trichotillomania. For those of you not familiar with the disease it causes a person to obsessively pull out their hair. As the disease progressed I wouldn’t leave the house. I was half bald, had no eyebrows, and no eyelashes. I was filled with shame and near the point of taking my life. I tried everything I could think of to conquer this disorder. I shaves my head in hopes that I wouldn’t have any hair to pull. That didn’t work. I pulled out the short stubs of hair that grew back. Then I began to pick at my face. I wanted to die.
    Then my friend Kayla invited me to a Live Out Loud Christian camp. I really wanted to go but just couldn’t see how I could bring myself to leave the house. Kayla convinced me to go, so I put on a pink wig and left the house full of fear that these people would judge me. Everyone loved the pink hair and I became so depressed because I thought I was a fraud since it was not my own. I couldn’t bear to tell them I was wearing a wig. That is until I finally confessed to Kayla about my disorder. She was nothing but understanding. Her and another good friend, Jamie, prayed over me right then and there for healing. To this day I haven’t pulled out a signal hair.
    I wrestled with demons and with God I prevailed. There is nothing God can’t accomplish. I’m not to worried for Jacob, or now Israel, because God is with him. I have a feeling things will work in his favor in the next chapter. How has God prevailed on your part?

2/16/2011 10:04:57 am


Your courage to share your story is wonderful! I am so proud of you and happy that you have found your deliverance.

I love you.

2/17/2011 03:58:38 am

Thank you for sharing this with us, Julia. It's an amazing story, and I am thankful to Kayla for helping you to end the nightmare you described. I'm so glad you found something that could help you.

2/17/2011 10:57:28 am

Thanks Lizzie and Bill! I was a bit nervous to share something so personal.


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