Faith Should Not Retreat

Pentecost 22 Thursday

Genesis 32:26

“And the Man said: Let me go because the day breaks. Yet he answered: I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

If the Man who wrestles with Jacob is Christ, what does he care that the day breaks? Answer: He assumed the appearance of the man; he retains the same until he reveals himself. This is why the day broke on him in such appearance. And in the manner of all nations he must now go about his usual work. The Man asks Jacob: “Since your hip joint has been dislocated, why do you not want to let me go? You have now become paralyzed, what do you want to do now?” “I do not feel weakness,” Jacob says. My friend, who strengthens you? Answer: Faith, the promise–the very weakness of faith. And in this way God is overcome, namely, when faith does not cease, does not get tired, but always keeps going, urging God. Just as we see in the Canaanite woman who struggles with Christ when he tells her: “You are a dog; you do not deserve the children’s bread.” She does not retreat but goes on the offensive and says: “The doggies eat the breadcrumbs falling off their masters’ tables,” Matthew 15:27-28. This is why she prevails and hears quite a glorious praise when the Lord says about her: “Woman, you faith is great.” Such examples teach us that faith should not retreat, that it should keep going, even when it feels God’s wrath and not only death and sin. And this is the power and strength
of the Spirit. Now, while Christ wrestles with Jacob, hiding his omnipotence, and wants Jacob to let him go, Jacob replies: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “Why, dear Jacob?” Answer: “Because you said I am cursed and condemned which is why my soul was distraught–therefore, revoke this judgment and bless me instead. You must say the opposite or I will not let you go. I have overcome you in physical strength; I also want to overcome the words of your mouth. For my soul–which you called lost and condemned–struggled somewhat harder than my body or my arms. This is why I do not want to let you unless you say the opposite and witness to me that I am blessed before God.”

Walch ed., 2:1160-1162.

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