Thirty-Two – The Encounter

Yesterday, I turned thirty-two. By design, I was off work – I definitely like to take some vacation days around my birthday to rest and reflect on the past and the future. So, once again, happy birthday to me! For the past few weeks, I have been reading from the book of Genesis, one chapter a day. It has been quite insightful journeying with ancient Bible characters and standing in their shoes as they tried to make sense of their lives and purpose. Yesterday, it was time to read chapter thirty-two, and I thought that was an interesting coincidence.

Genesis chapter 32 tells the story of Jacob’s return home after several years of sojourn in a foreign country. Interestingly, that foreign country was originally his grandfather’s home, but Abraham had moved out by divine instruction and made home in another country God led him to – a country that would later belong to his descendants. Jacob had deceived his brother to get the blessing – a spiritual inheritance belonging to the first born. Now having wives, children, and wealth, he was returning to face the man he supplanted to get blessed.

Naturally, Jacob was anxious and fearful, not knowing how Esau would react after all those years. He sent messengers ahead, but they brought back message that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. He feared the worst. He split up his family and herd into two companies, so one could escape if Esau attacked the other. He prayed to God for mercy and sent gifts ahead, strategized so the gifts could come to Esau in several batches, and sent all of his family ahead, staying back alone a restless man. Then something unusual and life-changing happened.

A “Man” came and wrestled with Jacob all night. Having had previous divine encounters, he knew this was a lifetime opportunity, and he was determined to have this “Man” pronounce a blessing over him. This greatly typifies prevailing prayer – a determination to petition God on a specific issue until a divine decree changing the situation is received. In Jacob’s case, the decree was a change of name – from Jacob (one who ousts/displaces) to Israel (one who struggles with God). Jacob moved from supplanting men to contending with God.

This transition for Jacob started with being alone. Great things often happen when people spend time alone, especially in times of difficulty. In addition, I personally believe the visitation was a response to his prayer for mercy, and God needed to address a foundational issue setting him at odds with others – he always contended with men. His focus needed to switch from men to God. And in contending with God, he could receive his own blessing without manipulating or displacing another man. This blessing left him with a mark, but it was more than worth it.

Are you in a desperate and life-threatening situation? Does it look like everything you worked for might be going out the window? Is a sin or mistake from the past coming back to haunt you or threaten your future? Then, be like Jacob and cry to God for mercy. Stay in prayer until you are convinced in your heart that the battle is over. God would often give a word or message that sets your heart at rest even if the situation has not changed externally. But you cannot afford to pray just once and walk away. Like Jesus said, men ought always to pray, and not faint. Blessings!

Author: thetoyintaiwo

My name is Oluwatoyin J. Taiwo – a Christian, an Engineer, and a Writer. I enjoy reading, travelling and watching football + lawn tennis. I love working with young people, especially teenagers. I believe that people are shaped by the words they hear or read, and our most important decisions are those we make in the first three decades of life.

20 thoughts on “Thirty-Two – The Encounter”

  1. Happy 32nd birthday Sir, this shall mark an era of greater glory and grace in your calling. Importunity in prayer and in all spheres of your endeavour will avail much for you in Jesus name. Greatness smiles on you!

  2. Happy birthday Jolly Good Fellow.

    The Good Lord will grant you more reasons to celebrate.
    Amen!

    This was a nice read to start the weekend with.
    Thank you.

  3. Nice write up Toyin. Happy belated birthday to you. Wishing you many more fruitful years on earth in sound health and mind in Jesus name.

  4. As you continue in the journey of grace… God will make you A VOICE to that must be heard and cause you to finish well…
    Bro, hApPy bIrThdAy…Cheerio

  5. Happy Birthday my Brother! I commend you for your inspiring words here. May God increase His grace upon your life.
    One is more likely to have a personal divine encounter when alone as you rightly mentioned.
    One cannot receive the blessing via fraudulent means or by deceiving others as Jacob desperately did for Esau and his father.
    He did not receive the blessing until he encountered God and his name was changed to Isreal.
    God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s