Jan 23 (Daily reading: Genesis 32-34) Today’s commentary is on Jacob’s second dream, or vision, from God. Two decades had passed since his first dream that we discussed yesterday. Much had changed for Jacob. He had become wealthy and he returned home with “his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons” (32:22). But one thing remained the same. His fear of Esau had been postponed for all that time, but it returned to him bringing with it all the anxiety he had known years earlier! Before he had his vision, God sent angels to him, and Jacob said about that place: “This is God’s camp.” When he heard that Esau was coming with 400 men, “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed,” and he prayed, “Save me, please, from the hand of my brother” (32:2,7,11).
In this state of mind, Jacob spent the night alone, and God sent an angel: “A man wrestled with him until daybreak.” Jacob insisted upon God’s blessing, and the angel told him, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have contended with God and with men, and have prevailed … Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face” (32:22-30). Meeting God can bring a second chance, and a change of name! Jacob means supplanter, or taking someone else’s place, in Jacob’s case, by deceit. He became Israel, because “he contended with God;” it can also mean, “triumphant with God.” If we seek him faithfully, God will meet with us, He will write our name in the book of life (Rev. 21:27), and He will give us a life of victory!