In the Old Testament we see that God appeared to different people in different ways. To Abraham, the traveler, God came as a traveler. To Joshua, the military commander, God came as the Commander of the Lord’s armies. And to the fighting, conniving, and resisting Jacob, God literally came as a wrestler.
On this occasion there were unresolved issues in Jacob’s life. He had just left Laban, who deceived him, and now he had to go back home and deal with Esau, the brother he had cheated out of a birthright. Jacob had nowhere to go but forward. Unfortunately, forward was where Esau was. It was time for Jacob to deal with his past and the wrongs he had committed. He was about to find out the hard what God says in Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city”.
That is not to say that we shouldn’t try, for we indeed should. But sometimes it’s just hard to reconcile with certain people. The Bible even tells us: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Please note, “If it is possible…” Some people just don’t want to be forgiven, and they don’t want to forgive. However, we must still seek forgiveness and also offer forgiveness if we want to receive all that the Lord has for us.
The Lord knew Jacob was afraid, so He appeared to him in a special way. Genesis 32:1–2 tells us, “So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is God’s camp.’ And he called the name of that place Mahanaim”.
Protection was Jacob’s need at that moment. He was afraid. He didn’t have an army. He didn’t have any way to defend himself. So God sent him a host of angels to reassure him. “Mahanaim” means “two camps.” There was Jacob’s camp, and there was God’s camp. God was saying, “You are not alone. I am here with you.” (Don’t sing Michael Jackson’s’ song here, lol)
Jacob needed to realize that He couldn’t do it in his own strength, but God was with him. He would be okay. Even so, in an effort to appease Esau, Jacob sent his servants ahead with gifts of goats, sheep, camels, and donkeys. Next he sent his entourage, but Jacob stayed behind.
The Bible tells us, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day” (Genesis 32:24). Obviously an army of angels had not been enough to comfort Jacob. So the Lord himself made an appearance to him. This shows us that God meets us wherever we are in order to lift us to where He wants us to be.
Maybe you can relate to Jacob. Perhaps you recently have come face-to-face with the repercussions of a bad decision you made in life. Now you are afraid of what will happen. Know this: regardless of what you have done, God will help you. I am not saying you won’t reap the consequences, but I am saying that you won’t reap them alone.
Or perhaps there is something you want from God, such as healing in your body, better finances in a tough economy, the salvation of your friends, spouse, parents, or children. Maybe you want to get involved in ministry and are looking for an opportunity. Don’t resort to conniving. God wants to do His will in His way in His timing.
God’s provision comes to us just when it is needed—not too little and not too late. God anticipates our need and provides His grace right when we need it. Whatever the circumstance or emergency, He will be there for you, because He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
So, when caught between a rock and a hard place… just trust God!