|Some of us are wrestling. We may wrestle with current news, for instance, and emotionally react. In reaction, a primal urge arises, that of fight or flight. Thus, when faced with perils, our ancient ancestors had a choice to make. They could confront the menace in their environment. Or, they could flee danger altogether and retreat to a place of refuge.
It is notable that Yaakov (Jacob), in profound emotional turmoil, neither fought nor fled. He wrestled with faces. Ten times in Genesis 32, the Hebrew word paniym is translated as him, me, and before – as well as faces. Paniym, however, specifies faces, signifying that Yaakov was renewing his intimacy with the Faces and Presence of the Almighty. He knew Him as HaElohim, the Judge. Now, in the throes of wrestling, he rediscovered Yahweh, a Name which proclaims Mercy.
His prayerful words kept perfect rhythm with Yeshua’s prayer, indicating how an ancient Hebrew leader understood the Messiah’s teaching in Matthew 6.
“Oh Elohim,” Yaakov began by naming His Name. “May your Name be set apart,” Yeshua instructed in Matthew 6:9.
Yaakov needed to return to the land because the Almighty told him to return – the word shuv for teshuvah or repentance. The Messiah said, “let your Kingdom come (not mine), let your will be done (not mine) on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
“I do not deserve…” Yaakov continued, confessing his unworthiness and impotence. “Give us today our daily bread,” Yeshua continued, pinpointing our dependence on the Almighty due to unworthiness and impotence. “Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who wronged us” (Matthew 6:11-12).
“Deliver me… from the hand of Esav,” Yaakov cried. “Deliver us from the evil one,” Yeshua taught in Matthew 6:13.
“I shall certainly do good to you…” Yaakov cited God’s abundance. “For kingship, power and glory are yours forever,” Yeshua cited God’s abundance.
With the rhythm of Yeshua’s prayer, Yaakov the Patriarch was ready for Esav.