Love Under Fire


The Time of Jacob's Trouble

Because Jacob had deceived his father in order to get the blessing intended for Esau, he had to flee for his life to escape his brother's deadly threats. After remaining an exile for many years, he had set out to return to his native country. When he reached the border, he was filled with terror at the news that Esau was coming, no doubt intending to get revenge. Jacob's only hope was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer. LF 249.2

Alone with God, he confessed his sin with deep repentance. The crisis in his life had come. In the darkness he continued praying. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. He thought an enemy was going to kill him. With all the energy of despair he wrestled with his attacker. When the day began to break, the stranger used his superhuman power. Jacob seemed paralyzed. He fell, helpless and weeping, on the neck of his mysterious enemy. He knew then that it was the Angel of the covenant with whom he had been struggling. For years he had endured remorse for his sin; now he must have the assurance that it was forgiven. The Angel urged him, “Let Me go, for the day breaks,” but Jacob exclaimed, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Jacob confessed his weakness and unworthiness, yet he trusted the mercy of a covenant-keeping God. Through repentance and self-surrender, this sinful mortal received what he wanted most from the Majesty of heaven. LF 249.3

Satan had accused Jacob to God because of his sin, and he had moved Esau to march against him. During Jacob's night of wrestling, Satan tried to discourage him and break his hold on God. Jacob was driven almost to despair, but he had sincerely repented of his sin. He held the Angel tightly and urged his request with earnest cries until he prevailed. LF 249.4

Just as Satan accused Jacob, he will bring his accusations against the people of God, but those who keep the commandments of God resist his supremacy. He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he concludes that their sins have been pardoned. He has an accurate knowledge of the sins he has tempted them to commit, and he declares that it is unjust for the Lord to forgive their sins and yet destroy him and his angels. He demands that God give these people into his hands to destroy. LF 250.1

The Lord permits him to test them to the limit. Their confidence in God, their faith, will be severely tested. Satan tries to terrify them. He hopes to destroy their faith so that they will yield to temptation and turn from their loyalty to God. LF 250.2