Face to face with me.
Jacob had accompanied his wives, their maids – his maids and their eleven children across the Jabbok ford. He sent everyone ahead in his plan to win over his estranged brother Esau whom he had cheated. Jacob’s shrewdness had served him well thus far; even though shrewdness alone would not have saved him from Laban’s fury.
With everyone gone ahead, Jacob was left with Jacob alone- face to face with himself, to think and to dream.
Dreaming was nothing new to him. He had dreams like the one he reported in Chapter 31, one that leaves the lines rather blurred between dream and reality. Now here is another. He wrestles all night alone with this man at Peniel.
After a life of wrestling, Jacob has a wrestling match to end it all. He will not give up. That is too unlike him. He wrestles with this man until the break of day. His night is coming to an end and day approaches when he’ll see, and he’ll see things differently. “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
“What is your name?” That is all he really must to answer. Who are you?
In Hamlet, William Shakespeare had Polonius say, “To thine own self be true; and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”.
So Jacob answers. It is an admission. Indeed he is Jacob. That’s who he’s always been. He asks too, “What is your name?” only to get an answer in abundant blessing. He had met the One who truly knew him the schemer and accepted him and loved him so completely as to make him better than he had ever been. In facing his true self, he had faced God; and in acknowledging his flaws, he acknowledged his need of God. All would be well.
Search me, O God, and know my heart today.
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me.
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free
Edwin Orr- (Psalm 139)