"The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip" (Genesis 32:31).
Jacob was a man who was a controller. He connived and manipulated his way to get what he wanted. It was a generational stronghold passed down through his mother, who encouraged her son to play a trick on his father, Isaac, by pretending to be Esau. This trick led Isaac to give the family blessing to Jacob, which eventually meant Jacob would inherit the land God promised to Abraham's seed. One must ask which was more ugly in the sight of God; the self-centered nature and worldliness of Esau, or the control and manipulation of Jacob? Jacob also learned control from his uncle Laban who caused Jacob to work for fourteen years to take Rebecca as his lifelong mate.
Control is a problem for both men and women. Many women use sex to control their husbands. Many men use power and force to control their wives. It is at the core of everything that is opposite of the cross -- self rule. What delivers us from this fleshly nature of control? A crisis. Jacob's crisis came when he was faced with the prospect of meeting a brother who said he would kill him the next time he saw him. Now, Esau had built his own clan and was about to meet Jacob and his clan in the middle of the desert. Jacob is fearful. He retreats. There he meets a messenger of God who wrestles with Jacob. Jacob clings to God and refuses to let go of this angel. It is the place of circumcision for Jacob; a new heart is brought forth. But it is with great pain. For Jacob now walks with a limp because God had to dislocate his hip in order to overcome Jacob's strong will.
For business people, God often has to "dislocate our hip" through failure and disappointment. Sometimes it is the only way He can get our attention. Our nature to control and manipulate is so strong that it takes a catastrophic event to wake us up. Yet, God did not reject Jacob for these character traits. In fact, God blessed him greatly because He saw something in Jacob that pleased him. He saw a humble and contrite heart that was beneath the cold and manipulative exterior of his life, and it was that trait that God needed to develop. He did this by bringing about the crisis in his life that led to total consecration. This event was marked by Jacob getting a new name, Israel. For the first time, Jacob had a nature change, not just a habit change. What will God have to do in your life to gain complete consecration to His will and purposes in your life?
"Beware of the Christian leader who does not walk with a limp." - Bob Mumford