Tom’s Story (Genesis 32:22-32)
Tom had built his reputation as a wrestler by knowing every move. He had studied wrestling books and watched every wrestling video he could fi nd. Tom knew every trick in the book.
Off the mat, Tom also had built a reputation as a Bible expert. He knew the Bible forward and backward. He seemed to know the answer to every Bible trivia question and could explain what the Bible says about any topic, from abortion to the zodiac. Answers from Tom came easily—almost too easily.
One day, Tom encountered a question he couldn’t answer. A late night phone call from the police pinned Tom to the mat. His sixteen-year-old brother had been killed in a car accident. “Why did God let my brother die? I don’t know what I believe anymore. I don’t know if I even believe in God!” Tom blurted out to his family later that night. Like Tom, Jacob knew every trick in the book. Throughout his life, he used his trick moves to cheat his family, friends, and anyone else who crossed his path. After cheating his brother Esau out of his inheritance (25:29-34) and then their father’s blessing (chapter 27), Jacob fl ed out of fear that his brother would catch him and kill him. For many years the two brothers never saw one another and never resolved their confl ict. But one day Jacob learned that their paths would cross again, the very next day, and that Esau would be bringing four hundred men with him. Jacob fi gured that Esau would only bring all those men because he was planning to take revenge for Jacob’s earlier scams. Afraid for his life and his family, Jacob devised an escape plan and sent his family ahead (verses 1-21). Then he spent the night alone and faced an opponent much stronger than his brother. All night Jacob wrestled with a mysterious godlike man (possibly Jesus). He wrestled with God over his past deceit. But he also wrestled with God concerning His promise that he would have offspring “as the sand of the sea”