Genesis 31-32; John 11:28-57; Psalm 20-21
In a sense what follows next in the story of Jacob foreshadows the Exodus. Jacob has entered the territory of Laban under one set of terms and found himself indentured. Yet as the Israelites plunder the Egyptians who first gave them hospitality and then enslaved them, so Jacob plunders Laban and makes off, only to be pursued. The story parts company with the Exodus at this point, and in one other key respect – for in the story of the Exodus that is to come, God is more clearly to the forefront of the liberation. And in coming to the water, it is not the advancing Egyptians that strikes fear into ‘Israel’, but the angel of the LORD.
In the same way that the crossing of the Red Sea will irrevocably mark Israel as God’s chosen people, so Jacob is marked as he crosses the ford of the Jabbok at Penuel ‘ as the sun rose upon him . . . limping because of his hip’.
It is in this encounter with the Living God – which turns death to Life – one is encountered in the darkness of night – a voice breaking through into our consciousness like the sound of many waters – “Lazarus! Come out!”
How then can we ignore so great a Salvation – for we have seen the face of the Lord and Lived