We see the first mention of the Place of Jabbok in Genesis 35:22 – “But he got up that same night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and waded over the ford of the Jabbok.”
Jacob had left the house of his Uncle Laban with His entire household: his wives, sons, maids, his livestock and all his belongings and they were on their way to Canaan.
In this particular chapter in Genesis, Jacob was on his way to meet Esau but due to his fear of his brother, he divided his camp into two and sent gifts ahead of them – herds of cattle (to try and appease Esau) while he remained alone (vs 7-21).
While he was left alone at the place of Jabbok, a man came and wrestled with Him till daybreak (vs.24).
Meaning of Jabbok
Now, the word Jabbok means pouring out, wrestling or emptying, and Jacob had come to the place of Jabbok, a place of pouring out.
Jacob, the Supplanter.
If you read the previous chapters before Genesis 35, you see that Jacob lived a life of deceit. His name, ‘Jacob’, means “supplanter,” [supplanter means someone or something taking the place of another, as through force, scheming, strategy, or the like] which is often interpreted as someone who seizes, circumvents, or usurps, and that is what Jacob had been all his life – one who takes, who seizes; who deceives.
We see this right from the time he was born- he reached out and grabbed Esau’s heel trying to pull him back (Gen 25:26).
He then deceives Esau and asks him to sell Him his birthright in exchange for a bowl of soup (Gen 25:29-34), and further deceives Isaac to receive Esau’s firstborn blessing (Gen 27).
After this, Jacob fled his home country because of the wrath of his brother (Gen 27:42-45) and he lived with his uncle, Laban, whom he stayed with and worked for, for 21 years, yet Laban dealt him a bad hand which led Jacob to secretly leave his uncle’s home (Genesis 31).
He was on his way back to his home country; back to Canaan, but God was about to meet with Jacob and change His life.
The Wrestle at Jabbok
We mentioned that Jacob had been a man of deceit; scheming and using cunning ways to get to the top, but that was not who God desired Jacob to be. God had greater plans for Jacob and Jacob needed to crossover and step into something better.
That’s where we see Jacob wrestle with God at Jabbok.
It wasn’t just a physical type wrestling involving the tackling one another to see who would win.
It was a wrestle between God and Jacob for Jacob to let go of his old ways. For 21 years, Jacob went through difficult times at the hand of his uncle Laban, which was meant to grow him and change Him. But at this place; at the place of Jabbok, it was time for him let it all go.
It was time for Jacob to let go of his cunning ways, of his malicious and deceitful ways, pouring it all it out and letting God truly deal with Him.
And they wrestled the whole night, and as daybreak approached, God did the remarkable: He changed Jacob’s name.
27 So He asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”
Do you see that?
Jacob’s name was changed. He was no longer the supplanter, or the trickster, but Israel, which means Prince of God.
He allowed himself to let go of who he was, his old ways in exchange for a new name and a new identity.
Come to Jabbok
Beloved, we need to get to the place of Jabbok.
We need to get to the place where we let go of what we’re holding onto: our pride, ego, our self-sufficiency, the bitterness and offence, our brokenness, our addictions – whatever it may be!
We need to let go of it all, because until we surrender and let it all go, we will not be able to experience God fully; we won’t be able to step into another dimension of God.
Neither will we be able to become the women God desires us to be nor will we fulfill our purpose! We need to get to the place of Jabbok.
Today, I urge you, go to Jabbok. Surrender.
Set aside anything and everything that you’re holding onto and that is holding you back and give it to God. Surrender yourself to God, aligning your life and will with His.
Empty yourself out and let Him fill you up with this Holy Spirit. Let Him lead you, guide you and help you walk in His ways and in His truth.
Let us know in the comments below wat the Holy Spirit is impressing on your heart as He calls each of us to the place of Jabbok.
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