Genesis 32:22-32 (NRSV)

22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.
24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”
27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28 Then the man a said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, b for you have striven with God and with humans, c and have prevailed.” 
29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, d saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 
31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.

Genesis 32:26 (NRSV)

26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”                            

DEVOTION – Nwakuche Emeka (Imo, Nigeria)

In my second year in veterinary college, one of my courses was a particular branch of anatomy.  But because my course load was so large, I was not able to devote the study time that the anatomy class required.  As the day for exams drew nearer, I became desperate.  For four days, I immersed myself in thorough study.  I felt as if my brain were steaming in a hot oven, but I learned what I needed to pass the exam.  God often works through our desperation, calling us to put forth extraordinary effort to respond to the urgencies of the moment.

Jacob also became desperate for a new and better life.  After putting forth extraordinary effort wrestling with an angel of the Lord one night, Jacob cried out in desperation, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me!

People who put forth extraordinary effort often get results.  God wants us to put forth extraordinary effort to bring about the dreams God has for us:  to start on a new career path, to help people in need, or to participate effectively in local church.  Maybe it’s time for us to say with Jacob, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me!”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fulfilling God’s dreams for us requires our extraordinary effort.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to put forth the extraordinary effort needed to fulfill the purpose you have for us.  Bless us, Lord, with courage and determination.  Amen.