In Genesis 32 and 32, we see Jacob, the son of Isaac returning to Padan-Aram, his father’s land. Though Jacob, the son of Isaac, had left in obedience to the divine direction, it was not without many misgivings that he retraced the road that he had trodden as a fugitive twenty years before.
On his return trip, Jacob was terribly afraid of his brother, Esau’s revenge. As they reached river Jabbock, as night came on, Jacob sent his family across the ford of the river, while he alone remained behind.
He had decided to spend the whole night in prayer, and he desired to be alone with God. He wanted to plead with God to soften the heart of Esau.
It was in a lonely mountainous region, the haunt of the wild beasts and the lurking place of robbers and murderers. Solitary and unprotected, Jacob bowed down in deep distress upon the earth.
It was midnight. All that made life dear to him were at a distance, exposed to danger and death. Bitterest of all, was the thought that it was his own sin which had brought his peril upon the innocent.
With earnest cries and prayers, he made his prayers before God. Suddenly, a strong hand was laid upon him. He thought that an enemy was seeking his life and he endeavoured to wrest himself from the grasp of his assailant. In the darkness, the two struggled for the mastery. Not a word was spoken but Jacob put forth all his strength and did not relax his efforts for a moment.
While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of his guilt pressed upon his soul; his sins rose up before him to shut him out from God. But in a terrible extremity, he remembered the promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for his mercy.
The struggle continued until near the break of the day, when the strangers placed his finger upon Jacob’s thigh and he was crippled instantly.
Jacob, now discerned the character of his antagonist. He knew that he had been in conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this was why his almost effort had not gained victory. Jacob was now disabled and in great pain but could not loosen his hold on the heavenly messenger.
Penitent and broken, he clung to the Angel, he wept and made supplication, pleading for a blessing. He must have the assurance that his sin of obtaining the birth-right of his brother Esau was pardoned.
Now the Angel tried to release himself from the grip of Jacob. He urged, “Let me go, for the day breaketh”. But Jacob answered, “I will not let Thee go, except, thee bless me”.
As an evidence that he had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. “Thy name,” said the Angel, “shall no more be Jacob (the supplanter) but Israel: for a prince hast though power with God and with men, and hast prevailed”.
And whoever is fighting Professor President Peter Mutharika will not prevail. Mutharika could be the heavenly messenger sent to break the curse of Jacob (Malawi) and bless thee with all development in the next six years. Don’t be surprised when your knees break like Jacob’s for fighting with the heavenly messenger. But the good news is that like Jacob who held the God’s Angel until he blessed him, Malawians will not leave Peter until he blesses them from 2019 and beyond.