Why did God break Jacob's hip?

March 6th: a good word: be blessed!

Jacob's fight on the Jabbok 

Jacob got up that same night. He woke his two wives, the two maids and his eleven sons. Because he wanted to cross the Jabbok on a flat spot. 24 First he made the women and children cross the river. Then he brought his belongings over. 25 He himself was left alone. Suddenly there was someone fighting with him until dawn. 26 But he saw that he could not defeat Jacob. Then he grabbed Jakob by the hip joint so that it was dislocated while wrestling. 27 He said: “Let go of me! Because the day is dawning. "Jacob replied:" I will only let you go when you have blessed me. "28 The other asked Jacob:" What's your name? "He answered:" Jacob. "29 Then the other said:" From now on your name should no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, 'God-fighter'. For you have fought with God and with people and have remained victorious. "30 Jacob asked:" Tell me your name! "He replied:" Why do you ask for my name? "And he blessed him there. 31 Jacob called the place Penuel, which means: Face of God. For he said, "I saw God face to face and I lived." 32 When Jacob was leaving Penuel, the sun was just rising. He limped because of his dislocated hip. 33 That is why the Israelites are not allowed to eat the muscle above the hip joint to this day. Because there Jakob was grabbed while wrestling.

(Genesis 32: 23-33)

Impulse - from Pastor Annika Schmidt

There are texts or songs that accompany us and appear again and again in different situations, grow with us, gain in importance and develop again and again. A text that has accompanied me for years is Jacob's fight on the Jabbok (Genesis 32: 23-33). Many know the story under "Jacob wrestles with the angel". Countless artists have painted this scene and in one of my Bibles this story is illustrated with the engraving by Gustave Doré. As a child, the story is exciting. Something tangible happens - a wrestling match. But I only really met and dealt with the story in my literature studies, when I dealt intensively with the book "Jacob wrestles with the angel" by the Finnish writer Martti Merenmaa. The farmer and islander Taavetti sees a picture of a fight between an angel and a man on the wall of his neighbor. The picture, presumably a copy of Dorès' Jacob wrestles with the angel, not only becomes Taavetti's motto and hope in life, but also determines the coexistence of the Finnish islanders. Struggling with God for meaning is painful.

Jacob does not leave the fight unwounded either. But it's an encounter that changes everything. Jacob made many mistakes. He is successful and rich and yet his guilty conscience pains him and the fear of how his brother Esau will receive him. He is afraid, he doubts and he is ashamed.

You can quarrel with your own life plan, with your own deeds and mistakes, with your own life story. Almost everyone has their own battle with God in their own way. Even Jesus, before his arrest, throws himself on the ground in the garden of Gethsemane at night and asks: «Abba, my father, anything is possible for you. Take this mug away so I don't have to drink it. " Nevertheless, it is clear to Jesus: "But not what I want should happen - but what you want!" Jakob, on the other hand, only becomes clear in the course of the fight who he is actually fighting with. And me? Often it only becomes clear to me in retrospect: God is behind it. There are adversaries and adversities in life that we only discover later. Not only does life go smoothly, but we can and should wrestle with God. God doesn't break. And even if Jacob's demand: "I will only let you go when you have blessed me" sounds very brisk and obstinate, God blesses him.

The subject of blessings and training has brought me back to this text over the past few days. While the world is struggling with Corona and other small and large crises, it is good to deal with God's special care for his creatures. God gives life, strength and well-being through his blessings. And we don't gamble away God's blessing, not even if we wrestle with God in our own way. One visible and loud - kicking and screaming, the other mute and quiet.



God bless the earth we stand on.

God bless the ways we go.

God bless you with his spirit of strength, love and prudence.



Click here for the join-in blessing video from our advent calendar. The participation blessing is not tied to the Advent season and can be accessed under this link: https://youtu.be/G5mEmMYHSU0


For those interested, there is a blessing video from me in Finnish with German subtitles: https://youtu.be/x8xhGgbz-h0

Pastor Annika Schmidt