Jacob had in the past struggled with maintaining character and integrity. He tricked his father into giving him the blessing of the firstborn son, which belonged to his brother Esau. Esau made a plan to kill him and Jacob ran away in order to escape death (Genesis 27). Jacob lived with his wives and children among their relatives, until the servant of his father in law complained that Jacob was prospering more than his uncle Laban. Again Jacob decided to run away from this situation in order to save his life (Genesis 31).
It was at this time that God instructed Jacob to return to his home country, in order to make peace with his brother Esau (Genesis 31). He was worried for his life and that night he prayed and wrestled with the decision that God had asked him to make. Jacob wrestled with an angel until daybreak. When the angel saw that Jacob would not release him, he touched touched his hip and put it out of joint. “Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me””
(Genesis 32:26). In the end the angel asked Jacob his name. He was given a new name, Isreal, because he contended with God and prevailed.
It is never easy to face our fears and to go back to deal with an unresolved issue from our past. Running away doesn’t always solve the issue and you may find similar problems appearing in other relationships, if that old issue has not been resolved. Jacob’s wrestle led to his blessing and this changed his character. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and his brother Esau could see the difference in him and instead of taking his life, embraced him.
We cannot outrun our past and issues left unresolved will surface in future relationships. God will sometimes require us to return to the place where relationships were broken. There are times when we will have to make amends and demonstrate our ability to change who we are. There are some relationships that God will ask us to walk away from and other times when resolution and restitution is necessary. We trust God to help us to know the difference and to sense his leading. “he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong” (Numbers 5:7).