- Born with a twin brother, but when Jacob came out he was grasping on to Esau's heel. This was a prophecy about how these two brother's would struggle with each other their whole lives. Even in the womb Jacob and Esau struggled with each other.
- Jacob's name means "deceiver". What a horrible name to give to your child, but apparently it will fit his life very well.
- When the boys were becoming of age, Esau came in to get food since he was hungry from his work. Jacob deceived his brother into forfeiting his birth rite. And when it came time to get his inheritance he deceived his own blind father by pretending to be Esau. Would a man of God use deceit like this just for an inheritance?
- When Jacob went to go work for his uncle and to find a wife he tried to deceived his uncle as well. It failed this time but he still tried to use his skill as a liar.
There are other passages that can be used to see the true character of Jacob, but when it comes down to it, Jacob had no idea who God really was. Jacob was a man who knew what he wanted, but it was not God. God uses him however to start the nation of Israel.
When Jacob meets his wives he is well into his 70's. He agrees to work for her love for 7 years but is tricked by his uncle into working 7 more. By this time he is an older man but God still had not unleashed His plan completely to Jacob. Sometime God does not move because it is not the right time yet. Or it is because we have chosen to move in another direction away from God. Jacob was good at fleeing. He fled Esau after tricking him. He fled his uncle after obtaining his wives. But most of his life he fled from God. Each time he fled he needed to reconcile with the one he fled from. But to reconcile a man so stubborn, a man needs to be broken.
When we read the story about Jacob wrestling with God it's hard to understand why God couldn't overpower him. This is a translation problem. When we read this we are probably thinking more on the lines of physically overpowering him. But, it is probably more on the lines of breaking Jacob's stubborn will. We know Jacob now as being bull-headed, deceiving, and out-spoken. Apparently he had not learned that God should be in control. So God gave him something to remind him for the rest of his life, a torn hip socket. God will get through to us one way or another. The question is will we let Him do it the easy way or the hard way?
Often in life we think that our struggle is with a situation or another person when it is ultimately with God. The only time our struggles end is when we completely surrender to God. Jacob's name was changed to Israel, which means protected by God. Jacob should no longer live like a man of deception but live like a man who is protected by God.
It took him his whole life but when he finally recognized his struggle was with God, he changed. The promise of Israel and a Messiah was now finally ready to move ahead. Great things can happen when we let God do what He can do without our stubbornness getting in the way.