Jacob was one of the sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Jacob was favored by his mother while his brother Esau was favored by his father. When Isaac was close to death, he asked Esau to hunt and kill some wild game for him to eat with the promise that when he returned, Issac would bless him. The Old Testament blessings of a father included promising words of inheritance and prophesying of the future. While Esau was out hunting, Rebekah helped Jacob disguise himself and he tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing instead. When Esau returned home and discovered that Jacob had received their father's blessing, and the large inheritance, Esau determined to kill Jacob. Jacob fled and lived in Laban for 20 years before deciding to return home and restore peace with his brother Esau. It was on that return journey that Jacob wrestles with God.
The Biblical account of Jacob wrestling with God is a difficult one for many to understand. Jacob was trying to do life his own way. While he tried to run from God, a stranger met him during the night and begins wrestling with him. It is during that encounter that Jacob realizes he is wrestling God and requests a blessing. It is then that God changes Jacob's name to Israel - meaning "strives for God."
Read the full account of Jacob wrestling with God in the Scripture below and find related articles, podcasts, and sermons.