Genesis 32:22–31, Grabbing Life

Verse 26: “Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”

I once heard a sermon about what a scoundrel Jacob was. Jacob had a way of going after and getting what he wanted even when it meant cheating and taking from another. The presenter stated that in Hebrew Jacob means “one who grabs; a usurper.” I immediately thought about Prometheus. In Greek Mythology, it was Prometheus who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. Both Jacob and Prometheus saw something they valued and wanted, and they grabbed it.

In this scripture, Jacob wanted the blessing of the angel with whom he wrestled. He was not willing to let go until he had it! Prior to this incident, he had wanted his brother’s birthright. Jacob demanded the birthright from Esau in exchange for a meal. Esau readily agreed. What Esau saw as meaningless in the moment, Jacob grabbed! Jacob also craftily tricked their father into passing the firstborn blessing to Jacob, rather than Esau.

Prometheus and Jacob went for the spirit (fire) that would carry and sustain them. They intentionally and consciously pursued what created more consciousness and life. With their actions, they valued what had energy and grabbed what carried the life force/libido. Esau did not. He sold his birthright for a meal! He did not hold onto what mattered–an inheritance that would sustain him and those closest to him.

Symbolically, fire is consciousness. The Divine Spirit is often depicted as tongues of fire. “A fire that requires no wood” can describe the creative life force pulsing through our bodies and souls. The creative fire just burns! I believe this is what Jacob felt and sought as he grabbed for the blessings of his father and the angel.

Carl Jung described consciousness as contra naturem (against nature). For our ego/self to have choice, and not just respond automatically and reflexively from instincts or learned patterns of experience, requires effort. We have to work to build a relationship between what is known about our self and what is not known but felt and experienced. We have to want and seek something more than we have in our consciousness.

Only when we value increased consciousness will our ego/self struggle to grab and hold onto the fiery energies of our heart and soul. We claim the blessing of “fire” that is our birthright as we wrestle with whatever comes to us.

Inner Reflection
Where are you wrestling within yourself? What sensations, feelings, thoughts, intuitions, perceptions, etc. surround the struggle? Track what has the greatest fire or energy. Seek the blessing of consciousness that is present and let it give you the needed resources from within to create life-sustaining relationships and environs.

Return to list of meditations.