This incident in Gen 32 about Jacob fighting God was to impress Jacob with two great facts:
- That his lifelong efforts at control of his worldly affairs, primarily using deception, were futile
- His complete dependence of God because God has everything we need.
In short, it illustrates in a concrete story, the principle spoken by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 12:9, 10 -
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is
perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in
my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is
why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in
hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then
I am strong.
It was this idea that Jacob took almost a lifetime of hard knocks to learn. It was perfectly illustrated when he met Esau - Esau had intended to murder Jacob for his earlier duplicity and deceit. But Jacob, despite his best efforts at appeasement, finally realized he was powerless to change the situation and begged God for a blessing.
God granted his wish and Esau's murderous intentions vanished. But, to remind Jacob of his weakness he was crippled and from then on, he depended on God for all things.