Listen:  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

These are two different questions, so let’s start with the first one.  Genesis 28:10-15 says, “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.  And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”  This dream of Jacob’s is very significant.  Just when this servant of the Lord needed encouragement, the Lord gave him this dream.  The Lord showed Jacob a way of access to Himself.  Surely this is a type of the Lord Jesus, Himself, who is the one mediator between God and man as we read in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  With this access to the Lord, Jacob was encouraged by the promises of the Lord to always be with him and to bless him with land and offspring.  It is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that we have access into His marvelous grace as we read in Romans 5:1-2 which says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Jacob’s ladder is a wonderful lesson in type for us.

Now let’s read Genesis 32:24-28, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  In contrast to what we read concerning Jacob’s ladder, this incident is real, not a dream.  Still, it is given to us for our learning as we read in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

In this portion, the man that Jacob wrestled with is referred to as God, yet in Hosea 12:4 this man is referred to as an angel.  That says, “Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us.”  Most recognize this man as an angel of the Lord.

How is it that this angel could not prevail against Jacob, yet he could knock his thigh out of joint with just the touch of his finger?  One simple, yet important lesson for us in this is that we need to wrestle, or be persistent in our prayers.  Jacob did not give up as he wrestled and neither should we become discouraged and give up in our prayers, just because we don’t receive the answer we desire in the time frame we desire.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Pray without ceasing.”  Colossians 4:2 tells us to, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”  The fact that Jacob’s thigh was taken out of joint is to show us that in our weakness, we can find and rely upon the strength of the Lord.  The Apostle Paul learned that important lesson and wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  (80.1)