Gen 32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.
We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.
What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, "Not my will, but Thine." We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing. -- J. R. Miller
An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating "soul-cling" as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): "My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.
"One day I stood watching him as he lay in his cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, ’’O God, I have given much time in prayer for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him, I choose Thy will-- I surrender him entirely to Thee.’’
"I called in my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.
"He said, ’’God has given me faith to believe that he will recover-- have you faith?’’
"I said, ’’I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ’soul-cling’’ in my prayers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy would be with me today.
"Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ’’our father Abraham,’’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice." (See Rom_4:12.) Streams in the Desert
Rom 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Commentary Aide from B.W. Johnson:
Cometh this blessedness upon the circumcision only. The next question is, Who shall enjoy this blessing of forgiveness? Shall it be Jews only, or shall the uncircumcision, the Gentiles, enjoy it? Abraham's faith was counted for righteousness; will this be true of all, both Jews and Gentiles?
How was it then reckoned? To settle the question, whether this blessedness applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, the inquiry is made whether Abraham was a Jew or Gentile when it was said of him, "His faith was counted for righteousness." He was not circumcised for at least fourteen years after this statement was made of him. Compare Gen_15:6 with Gen_17:25. He was then justified, without circumcision, while yet a Gentile.
He received the sign of circumcision. The outward mark in the flesh.
A seal. A seal is often appended to a legal document as a proof. The covenant is made before the seal is annexed. Circumcision was not the covenant, but an outward mark of a covenant that before existed. The righteousness, of which it was a seal, had been acknowledged many years before.
That he might be the father of all them that believe. Both Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised. The righteous, uncircumcised Abraham belonged to the latter class.
The father of circumcision. Of the circumcision described in Rom_2:29. Abraham is the "great father," the father, not of the circumcision only, but of all who have such faith as he had before he was circumcised. When Abraham was "counted righteous through faith," there was no difference between Jew and Gentile. Christianity, by its revelation of "righteousness through faith," leads back to the same condition.
Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.