Let's Talk About Being Down for the Count

by Kevin Alton

Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.

Today, let's talk about...

Down for the Count

Genesis 32:24-30

But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26 The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

27 He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”

29 Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”

But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel, “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.”

Key Verse:

When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.” —Genesis 32:25-28

Commentary:

What an evening! Remember, this story is in the context of Jacob returning to see his brother Esau for the first time since he tricked Esau out of both his birthright and their father’s blessing. Esau is bringing four hundred men, so the notion of a guy showing up to wrestle all night may not have been that surprising to Jacob.

But the man isn’t from Esau’s company; he is revealed as a divine figure. Jacob manages to match him until dawn, at which point his hip is put out of socket to move things along. Jacob is credited with victory, but surely recognizes how fortunate he is to have come away with his life.

Questions to Discuss:

How do you behave when you win at something? Are you equally tempered in both defeat and victory?

When have you genuinely expressed appreciation for the efforts and talents of someone you exceeded in some contest or skill? How was it received?

How does the way you express yourself spiritually reveal your gratitude for grace?

Add a Comment