Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Hos. 11:7-12:12, Oba. 1:1-21
Memory Verses: Gen. 32:30, Oba. 1:21, Heb. 11:20
Have you ever unexpectedly walked by a mirror and saw your reflection and for a split second didn’t recognize yourself and gave yourself a scare? Or, have you ever saw a stranger in a particular station or situation in life and saw yourself and said, “That was me a few years ago,” or “That could have been me if it weren’t for the grace of God.”? Or have you seen someone you admire and succeed and saw yourself and said, “That’s going to be me in a few years!”?
The first Wrestlemania occurred in our Torah Portion at a little place called, Peniel, which means, “Face of God.”
No one can encounter God face to face without being obviously and readily apparent, changed! Moses too spoke with God face to face and as a result it was clearly evident. Moses was in the Presence of God and changed by that encounter.
And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Exd. 33:11
And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. Exd. 32:29-35
Interestingly however in our Torah Portion its clear Jacob wrestled with God (32:30) but in the form of a man (32:24). Hmmm, who do we know that is God in human form? YESHUA! No one can come face to face with Yeshua and not be obviously and readily apparent, forever changed!
But why the wrestling match? Well, because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and because we are God-Breathed (Gen. 2:7) we have a spark of divinity within us. So when we wrestle with God in a sense we are wrestling with ourselves.
One, we wrestle against our fallen selves, the part that doesn’t measure up to the divine reflection, the part that shames and scares us (James 1:23-25), the part we want to beat down and overcome. Two, we fight against the greatness of who we are to become in Messiah because we feel unworthy or such a change, though good, scares us. Just like Messiah seeing Peter as a Rock (Matt. 16:18), but Peter only saw himself a lowly fisherman (John 21:7)!
Jacob walked away with a limp, his walk forever changed. After one has a life changing encounter with the divine, your walk with Him is forever changed.
To be fixed, Jacob had to be broken. It’s no different with us.
In Hebrew the word for angel can also mean messenger. But because of Gen. 32:24-30 it is obvious Jacob wrestled with God. It is a well-known established fact in theology that whenever we see the “Angel of the LORD” in Scripture that this is actually God taking on human form, or Yeshua prior to His birth through Mary in Bethlehem. So here too we can see assuredly this messenger, this angel spoken of in this passage was Yeshua, the God-man.
This is the forever change Jacob the Heel Catcher, to Jacob/Israel the Overcomer, the one who wrestled God and won! Jacob went from wet, weak, grabbing hand to a wild fire!
We all get our shot at wrestling with ourselves and wrestling with God. Not everyone grabs that opportunity. Some are scared to face not only God, but themselves! With change comes pain and alterations. Jacob had his hip thrown out of socket and he never walked the same again.
When I was young and going through growth spurts I had what was known as growing pains in my legs. They ached and hurt so bad, but I got through them and now I am 5 foot 11 inches instead of 5 foot. The pain was necessary for my growth.
God didn’t hate Esau as a person, but hated his ways. He was weak and stubborn. He gave up his birthright, his blessing and ran from God, ran from his Peniel. He wasn’t ready for the pain and change like Jacob was. He wasn’t hungry or desperate for that change that he knew he needed.
“Abba YHWH Elohim, may we meet You head on when You bring us to our Peniel. Through it is painful, may we not let You go until we are forever changed. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”