Jacob learns the meaning of the expression “no pain, no gain”


Genesis 32:24, Wrestled with him. Why did Elohim wrestle all night with Jacob? Why not just wound him early on and save the time and trouble?

What does this teach us about the long-suffering nature of Elohim who will continue to strive with us and our fleshy tendencies and self-reliances until we finally submit to him and recognize that only through him can we have real strength and victory, though we might end up physically lame in the process?

Why the wrestling all night “till the breaking of the day”? What does night and breaking of day represent metaphorically with regard to our spiritual walk? What does this teach us about faith, the struggles of this life and about not giving up until the very end when the blessings and dawning of a new day are about to break forth?

At the end of his struggle, Jacob received the new name of Israel (verse 28). Through this struggle, he took a quantum leap spiritually and became a new man with a new identity.

Has this ever happened to you? Don’t we progress spiritually only out of crisis? “There is no gain where there is no pain,” as the saying goes.

What were the results of Jacob’s struggle? Verse 32 says of Jacob, “as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.” Penuel means “faces of El.” Taking a little poetic license (at the drash, allegorical or third level of Hebraic biblical interpretation) here, we could paraphrase this verse as follows: “As Jacob emerged out of the darkness of self-reliance, the face of Elohim shined favorably upon him as he no longer relied on the flesh.” Pause to reflect on this for a moment and take quick stock of your spiritual walk in the light of these words.

Who are some other notable Biblical characters besides Jacob who struggled with trying to achieve their divine mission through human means? How about Abraham with Hagar, Moses when he murdered the Egyptian, Samson, or Peter when he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant? Can you think of some others? What did these men learn about walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh?


4 thoughts on “Jacob learns the meaning of the expression “no pain, no gain”

  1. Wrestling “all night until daybreak” foreshadows a believer’s struggles in this world (age of darkness) in which we “wrestle against principalities” (Ephesians 6:12) until a new age (day) dawns (Yeshua’s 2nd coming)!

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