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The Trials of Great Bible Characters (3 of 15)
The Trial of Jacob
Clarence E. Macartney
Undoubtedly some great thing happened here to Jacob.
He passed through some great change, experienced some
great blessing. But just what it was we cannot know.
Jacob himself was unable to tell all that had happened
to him, for when he asked his mysterious antagonist,
"Tell me, I pray thee, thy name," the wrestler
answered, "Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my
name?" Yet when the struggle was over and the angel
had departed, life was never again the same for Jacob.
He tells us what he had passed through, what he had
experienced, by the name that he gave to the place
where he had wrestled with the angel. "Peniel," he
called it-"I have seen God face to face."
A man and an angel wrestling! I wonder if that is a
history of every man's life. God wrestling with man,
trying to bring out the spiritual and the heavenly and
the eternal that is in him, and man wrestling with
God, resisting God and His Holy Spirit, until in
humility and weakness he cries out, "I will not let
thee go, except thou bless me!" Michael and the Devil
disputed with one another for the body of Moses. So
good and evil, heaven and earth, wrestle with one
another for the possession of a man's soul.
Sin casts a long shadow, longer than the sinner ever
imagines at the time he sins. It was twenty years,
almost a whole generation as men count time, since
Jacob had fled the land of Canaan after deceiving his
father and defrauding his brother Esau. At Bethel, on
the way down to Mesopotamia, he had had the wonderful
vision of a ladder let down from heaven and the angels
of God ascending and descending. But since then Jacob
had not seen much of the angels. He had, however,
found a human angel. The lovely daughter of Laban,
drawing water for her flocks at the well, immediately
won all the affection and devotion in Jacob's heart.
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