Jacob, whose name means supplanter or deceiver, met and wrestled with the Lord one night. (Gen. 32:22-32) Fear of his brother Esau had driven him to be alone. In this aloneness, God came and engaged Jacob…a battle of supremacy ensued. The Lord, after an all night wrestling match, touched the hip socket of Jacob, causing it to shrink and come out of place. Jacob would be a man who limped the rest of his life. It was a constant reminder of this night of wrestling and the change wrought by it. He had met God, and God had won. Jacob looked weaker, but now, he was actually stronger.
We need men in leadership who have Jacob’s Limp! That is, men changed by intense and faithful wrestling with God in prayer. Men changed from their old ways of manipulating circumstances to a new way–God’s way. We need marked men…men with a limp.
What do we see in this story? What changes do we see in Jacob? Briefly, we see several important lessons, here are a few salient ones:
1. God changes Jacob’s name - Jacob, who had displayed his conniving and deceptive ways toward his brother and father, received a new name–Israel. Israel means wrestler or prince with God. What a change. From supplanter of men to prince with God.
The Lord wants to display a changed name in our life. From carnal, self-centered and silly leaders, to men who know how to engage with God in prayer and display His character. Our new name is Christian. May our character and actions, by God’s grace, properly represent this.
2. God changes Jacob’s confidence - Instead of being a man of fear, Jacob was now a man who could fully trust God in the midst of adverse circumstances. He could rise up and meet his potential adversaries without the driving force of the fear of man.
Our confidence should rest in nothing except our identification with Christ and Him crucified. He is our strength, wisdom, righteousness and confidence.
3. God changes Jacob’s walk - Jacob would no longer be the fast moving man who would send others to do his bidding or run from his enemies. Now, he was a man slowed down by God and demonstrating his constant weakness as he limped from place to place. A constant reminder before himself and all who would meet him, that God was superior.
Do others know and see our weakness? If they meet us, do they quickly recognize that we have been touched by God in prayer? Is our walk distinctly different from the strut of pride we see in the world? Many times, I’m afraid not. We become so busy trying to reach the world that we walk, talk and act like the world.
We could bring many other points out, but these three are the foundational ones. When looking for men to place in leadership or men to network with, look for men who walk with Jacob’s limp. They will be time tested and broken. They will be proven and yielding. They will walk free of fear and manipulation. Their weakness will be undeniable as they glory in their infirmities. They will be men of prayer…they will limp.
Picture the morning after Jacob’s encounter with God. The sun is rising and his family is looking to see who is coming. As the mist of the morning dew and fog is lifting next to the river Jabbok, there appears a man with an unfamiliar walk; a man with a limp. Who could this be? As he gets closer they notice it is Jacob. However, he is different…different in name, confidence and walk. Jacob had been with God. His limp proved it!
Because of Grace,