Updated: Jul 3, 2018
Do you walk with a limp? The Bible says, "Jacob was left alone. And a Man wrestled there with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. " Gen 32:24-25
One of the things God does in our lives to develop us, especially as leaders, is to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that we end up where Jacob did; alone, with our dreams shattered, our future uncertain, and all of our self confidence coming to an end.
Jacob was a very selfish man, and very good at manipulating people to get what he wanted. You could say that Jacob was a great leader, but he had underlying motives that were not right in the eyes of God. So God brought him to a place to called Peniel to break him, and bring him to the end of himself, so that he could have a change of heart, and walk differently, with higher motives and a deeper depth of dependence on God!
Jacob wrestled there, alone with God, and God touched him in the hollow of his thigh, and caused Jacob to have a lifelong limp thereafter. This 'man' that Jacob wrestled with was none other than the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ!
Jacob realized he had encountered God for it says in v30, "So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Before this time Jacob was confident, visionary, selfish, and manipulative. After this time, He was much more attentive to the will of God, to how his actions affected others, and to the underlying motives of his heart. Jacob's confidence had shifted from SELF to GOD, from the flesh to the Spirit, from his Vision, to God's Vision for his life!
Gen 32:31 says, "The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip." Jacob walked away from this awesome encounter with God a different man! He had a limp in the flesh and a changed heart!
At the end of Jacob's life you can see that he had come to rely on a staff to support him as he, "blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff." (Heb 11:21) You and I also, have much to learn about leaning on the staff of God's Word, and doing what we do for the right reasons with a pure heart.
Every godly Leader will be brought into places where He is alone with God and at the end of himself, his dreams broken and his hopes shattered. There he will wrestle with God and cry out to God and God will reveal himself to that man and break off pride and fleshy ambition!
The end result is that you will walk with a spiritual "limp" thereafter, broken before God, having learned to depend greatly on the Lord, and give Him the glory for all things! You will trade one set of motives for another, and your heart will be deeply changed by the grace of God! Do you walk with a limp?