The Spirit of the Lord has been speaking to me daily over the past month about Jacob’s wrestling match recorded in the book of Genesis. This story could be described as Jacob’s wrestle with his flesh, in order to surrender, so that he would “prevail with God!” Remember, at the end of the wrestle God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning, “The one who prevails with God.”
Here is the story in Genesis 32:22-28:
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
This wrestling occurred in a place called “Jabbok.” For the past month, I have felt that the body of Christ, both corporately and individually, are at a spiritual “Jabbok.” We can no longer go forth and overcome in the ways that we have in past seasons. This is a time to wrestle down our flesh with the Lord until full surrender comes upon us. It is as though there has always been a mixture of God’s power and our human strength that has overcome past battles but no longer is that the case! God will touch our hip socket so that He will prevail, leaving us with a fleshly limp but a spiritual victory.
It is time for our name to be changed from Jacob (Jakob) to Israel. Jacob means supplanter and supplanter means “someone or something taking the place of another, as through force, scheming, strategy.” As I said earlier, Israel means the one who prevails with God. The Lord is removing any attempts of our flesh to usurp the glory, strength, and honor that rightfully belongs only to the Lord. Every desire within us to force or scheme our way to victory will be surrendered so that we can truly prevail with the truth of Zechariah 4:6,
So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Armies.
When Jacob fully surrendered—after his flesh/hip socket was weakened, and his name was changed to Israel—he changed the name of Jabbok. Jabbok, meaning “to empty itself” or “a place of passing over” was now named Peniel, which means, “The face of God” or “he who strives with God.”
I believe that this is a prophetic picture of where we are at as God’s people. We are Jacob at Jabbok, and our wrestle will result in both names being changed to “Israel at Peniel.”
I love the way the late David Wilkerson describes Jabbok,
“Jabbok is the place where Jacob wrestled with the Lord. It is where he made his total surrender to God. It is where he got his new character, and new name – Israel. It was the place where he cast down his last idol, and won his greatest victory.
‘And he rose up that night… and passed over the ford Jabbok…’ (Gen. 32:22).
Jabbok means ‘a place of passing over’. It also stands for struggle; to empty and pour out. What a glorious truth is revealed in this place called Jabbok. It has everything to do with us today. It is the place where God’s people discover the secret of power over every besetting sin. It represents a life and death crisis – one that leads to absolute surrender.” (David Wilkerson)
Absolute surrender! We may have to wrestle with God in order to receive absolute surrender because our flesh and the sins of our flesh can be strong and overcome us. But, in mercy, God caused Jacob’s hip socket to be wrenched, thus causing a physical inability to continue to wrestle in the flesh. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and gives stability needed to bear body weight. This is why he walked with a limp thereafter. We may walk with a limp to wrestle down our flesh and the sin that has prevailed, but afterward, we will “prevail with God!”
Do not shy from this place or this wrestle because it is the greatest victory you will ever experience in becoming “one with God.” It is where you will learn to dance with God according to His steps and His lead. It is where sin will no longer prevail in your life but you will prevail with God. No more force— “by His Spirit” will be your victory song and it will bring you into a Shalom (rest) that is greatly needed.
Now is the time—
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Inscribe Ministries