• Tony Birkhead

Dream a Little Dream Week -5

Examine Every Experience until you see God!


Each of our lives are made up of many experiences. Some of our experiences are difficult while others are more pleasant. But each experience is part of our story and how God has brought us together uniquely. What experiences were used to SHAPE you into who God wants you to be?


Genesis 32:22-32

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.


Share an experience from your life that brought you closer to God or took you further from Him?

What does a “wrestling with God” moment look like in your life today?

During the night, Jacob wrestled with God in the form of an angel. As a result, Jacob was given a new name, Israel, and a hip injury that caused him to limp. Verse 28 explains, “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

What did Jacob gain as a result of his struggle with God?

What do we stand to gain from our struggles with God? What about our struggles with others?

What is one struggle that you’ve had that led to spiritual growth?


  • How can we approach struggles in a way that honors God?

  • What step of obedience is God calling you to take while you want to resist? How will you bend your will toward His?


Close your time in prayer, thanking God for always knowing what is best for us and for His glory. Ask Him to deepen your trust in Him so that you’ll not have to fear when struggles come, but can wholeheartedly rely on Him.


Genesis 32:22-32

32:22-23. As a final measure of self-protection that night, Jacob put one more barrier between himself and Esau, moving his family and possessions across the “Jabbok,” a westward-flowing tributary emptying into the Jordan River 15 miles north of the Dead Sea. Perhaps Jacob believed that Esau would have compassion on his wives and children, and so end his pursuit.

32:24-30. Now Jacob experienced his third and final encounter with God while on a journey (cp. v. 1; 27:12-15). A man, understood by later Israelites to be God or an angel possessing the authority of God (Hos. 12:3-4), wrestled with the elderly patriarch until daybreak. The fight ended when the divine being dislocated Jacob’s hip. Jacob, injured but still unwilling to release his grip on the being, demanded that He bless him. Asserting His authority over Jacob (see note at Gen. 1:5), the man changed Jacob’s name to Israel, linking the name with the fact that the patriarch had struggled with God ), as well as with men, and had prevailed.

Jacob was the third person to be renamed by God, joining Abraham and Sarah (17:5,15). The patriarch’s inferior status is reflected in the fact that, unlike the divine being, who asked for Jacob’s name and got it, Jacob was unable to learn the being’s name. The renamed man now renamed the place Peniel—or Penuel—lit “the face of God,” because he had seen God face to face and yet was spared from death.

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