Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)
It is fascinating to me that the man — who most believe to be an angel or some expression of the pre-incarnate Messiah — could not prevail against Jacob. The struggle was so intense, in fact, that Jacob’s hip was pulled out of joint, causing him to limp. As a memorial of this encounter, the people of Israel have always removed the sciatic nerve from a slaughtered animal. More importantly this lets us know that, after at this encounter, Jacob would never walk the same way again. He received a distinctive walk from God that identified him for the rest of his life.
Later God would tell his descendants, gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai:
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” – Exodus 19:5-6
After bringing them out from under the servitude of the Egyptians (just as He delivered Jacob from Laban), He instructed them to “keep my covenant,” which is to say, “Walk the way I am instructing you.” If Israel were to walk according to His ways, that would identify them as His “special treasure” and the “holy nation” they were called to be. Consequently, the nations would know who they were and who they served.
Likewise, you and I are to walk in a distinct way, meaning that we are to live our lives in such a way that everyone knows who we serve. Specifically, we are to be following in the footsteps of the Messiah as we bear our cross in His service. It shouldn’t be difficult for others to determine whether or not we are a believer; it should be abundantly clear to all by what we do and don’t do, what we say and don’t say. For the rest of his life, Jacob was identified by his distinctive walk; so let it be said of us and may it always bring glory to our Father.
Blessings and Shalom,