1.      Introduction

·           Gen 28:1-5  Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him forth.

·           No hint that many difficulties would be ahead.

·           Prophetic word that God would bless him – God also wanted to change him.

·           Jacob met match in Laban: deceived over daughters.

·           Served 7 years because loved Rachel – eye on the reward.

·           God sends people into our life, creates circumstances to change us.

·           Don’t worry about the Laban’s in your life – focus on God/reward of serving.


2.      Conflict Reveals Character – Gen 32:20-23

·           Deut 8:2  Purpose of wilderness (difficult seasons in life).

(i)       Humble – break areas of self sufficiency and bring to new dependency on God.

(ii)      Prove – examine, to test the quality of relationship.

(iii)     Know – deepen relationship by opening up and revealing heart attitudes.

(iv)     Live by Word – teach the reliability and faithfulness of God’s word and provision.

Seasons of difficulty were seasons of preparation prior to possessing promise.

·           Gen 32:20-23  Jacob’s season of conflict

1)   Conflict over unresolved past

·            Jacob had manipulated his brother to get blessing/birthright.

·            He had fled from the conflict.

·            Cannot let past destroy present and steal future.

·            Must face issues of conflict to move forward with God.

·            Must face weakness, vulnerability, iniquity or remain limited in capacity.

·            Jacob prayed (vs 11) but still attempts to bribe his brother (vs 20).

2)   Conflict in his present circumstances

·            Jabok = to pour out, to empty; place of emptiness, no resources to go on.

·            Characteristics of seasons of conflict:

(i)       Pressure – fear, uncertainty.

(ii)      Emptiness – lack of resources to break through, powerlessness.

(iii)     Abandonment – ‘left alone’, no one to support, comfort, strength

                                 - God gets us alone so can work in our life.

                                 - Who you are really appears when you are alone.

·         Important to turn towards God and not away from God.  Eg Saul (1Sam 13).


3.      God Wants To Change You – Gen 32:24-28

1 Cor 10:13  No temptation such as is common to man – God is faithful and will with the temptation make way of escape – able to bear it.


·       Temptation = putting to proof to test quality – others have faced it!

·       You are not the only one to experience pressure like this.

·       Way of escape = an exit comes with the temptation.

·       Gods way of escape – not run away but empowered to walk through.

·       Able = have divine power.  Bear = bear up from underneath.

·       God is determined to shape us to become like Christ (Rom 8:29).

·       Jacob wrestled = hand to hand combat so covered in dust.

·       God came not to comfort but to confront him – wrestle for control of his life.

·       God values our life – wrestles to change us before life expended, wasted.

Hos 12:3-4  Jacob wept and made supplication to him.

·       Jacob poured out soul to Lord – brokenness came into his life.

·       Out of joint Ž strength and confidence in self was broken.


Who Are You? – What Is Your Name?

·       Name = identity, character – who you are apart from people/possessions.

·       Jacob = heelcatcher, one who takes hold of what others have, crooked.

·       Don’t define self by what others say you are – you are what God says.

·       Israel = prince, one who rules with God, one who prevails.


2 Cor 5:17  Any man in Christ – he is a new creation.

·       People come to Christ but still live out of old mindsets about identity.

·       People struggle with rejection, self hate Ž old mindsets.

·       Must change way see self, agree with what God says.

·       Old attitudes, ways of thinking need to come to cross in prayer.

·       Must take hold of identity and destiny in Christ and agree with God.

·       Old ways of thinking may resist change:

                  * Unforgiveness – locks you to offenses of others.

                  * Bitter roots – locks you to your expectations.

                  * Mindsets – locks you into wrong thinking.

                  * Familiar spirits – lock you into old thoughts/habits.

·       Jacob wrestled Ž struggled to get breakthrough with God.


4.      Encountering God Changes How You Live – Gen 32:29-32

Heb 11:21  By faith Jacob worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff.

·       Peniel = Face of God = place of personal breakthrough with God.

·       My life is preserved = saved, rescued, delivered.

·       Touch of God turned his life in new direction.

·       Sun rose Ž new season in his life following encounter with God.

·       Halted Ž no longer self sufficient, new dependency on God.

·       Prov 3:5  Lean not on own understanding!

·       When breakthrough in area of life – enjoy new season of blessing, release, ability to lead others!


·       What areas is God seeking to bring change in you?







Have you ever been in a situation where you were afraid that you would die?


Tell us about that.


How would you describe Jacob’s situation?


What was his state of mind before meeting with Esau? Gen 32:7


Why was he so fearful of Esau? See also Gen 27:41-42


How would you describe the character of Jacob?


How did Jacob respond in his crisis? Gen 32:9-12


In what ways has/is God dealt (dealing) with your character?










What can you learn from Jacob and his crisis?


Jacob wrestled with God for a whole night for the blessing of God on his life.  How desperate are you for God’s blessing?