Jacob wrestling with God

Q. In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestled with a man and asked him to bless him, and he changed his name from Jacob to Israel. Who is he? What does it mean?

A. Skeptics laugh at the Bible claiming it is full of contradictions e.g.
V 24-25 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.
• V 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”

They say Jacob obviously wrestled with a man according to v 24, for how else can God not prevail against him. But in fact they do not understand and presupposed many wrong ideas.

First let’s observe what the passage said:
V 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
• V 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Jacob obviously knew that his opponent was someone higher than him, for he asked Him to bless him, buy probably did not know His identity until His self-disclosure in v 28, after which he realized that He was God. But didn’t the Bible say no one has seen God? Yes, in:
Jn 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
• Jn 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.

No one has seen God the Father at any time. Who Jacob saw was God the Son, the only begotten God, the One who is from the Father, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, and He allowed Jacob to prevail against Him in order to bless him. There is no contradiction. Skeptics do not know God, and presumed the Bible to be wrong, when actually they are the ones who are in error.

Are You Smarter than a First Grader?

numbered parking a

Received a quiz in my email yesterday. It is supposed to be a Hong Kong Elementary School First Grade Student Admissions Test Question, “What parking spot # is the car parked in?” Please answer within 20 seconds.

My mind kicked into hyper-drive right away. “16, 06, 68, 88, ?, 98” Hmmm … what might the missing number be? I immediately think of possible relationships between one number and the next, scanning first from the left and then from the right. No success. The seconds ticked away. No clue! How hard can it be, if it is a grade one problem? Then all of a sudden time’s up. Still no answer.

I am not as smart as a first grader, until I looked at the picture as if I were driving and looking for a parking space. Since I am north of the parking spaces and looking south, reading the numbers from my left to the right, the sequence is a simple “86, ?, 88, 89, 90, 91”! The missing # is 87! Elementary! My dear Watson! Why didn’t I think of that!

numbered parking b

The problem is one of perspective. When I first looked at the picture, I automatically assumed “me” as the point of reference, since I am at the center of my universe. I therefore read the numbers from left to right, which did not make any sense. I was reading them upside down! However, once I put myself into the picture as a driver, I am to the north of the numbers. Now all the numbers are in sequence and made perfect sense.

Life is often like that. We looked at things from one point of view and can’t make heads or tails of it. Sometimes we even argue with others who looked at it from another angle, and have a different set of assumptions or presuppositions. What if we are humble enough to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and looked at things his way? May be it will start to make sense and the problem is solved! Wouldn’t that be nice?