The Prayer Of Jacob (3 Of 13) by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Prayers of the Old Testament (3 of 13)
The Prayer of Jacob
Clarence E. Macartney
Genesis 32:26, 29

I have often read this story of midnight prayer; I
have studied it, written about it, preached about it,
but always with a sense of complete failure. Nor have
I ever read any exposition of the chapter which helped
me much. Yet we all feel that this is one of the great
passages of the Bible and a classic in the prayer
literature of mankind. It is not the anthropomorphism
of the narrative-God described as an actual wrestler-
that troubles us, for in the prayer of Abraham we had
three men coming down and One of them remaining to
talk with Abraham. It is not the form in which the
history is recorded which perplexes us, but the
meaning of the history itself. The truth is, this
prayer of Jacob brings us to the borderland of the
spiritual-mysteries of our life.

Writing of the ocean, Lord Byron told of how with him
to look upon it was to
Mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

We read this page from the life of Jacob and think
that we are on the margin of high and holy ground; we
feel what we can never express, yet cannot all

Let us recall the events which led up to this midnight
struggle. There were two very solitary hours in the
life of Jacob. The first was when he lay down to sleep
at Bethel, a guilty, conscience-stricken man, fleeing
from the wrath of the outraged Esau. He must have felt
himself the loneliest man on the face of the earth,
the stone for his pillow, the desert for his bed. All
his planning and schemings had brought him nothing but
exile and dread. The second solitary hour was this
night on the fords of the Jabbok, when he had sent his
people across the brook before him, and waited in the
midnight stillness by himself. It was twenty years
since Jacob had cheated Esau out of the blessing and
had trapped him into selling the ...

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