This poem is based on Psalm 119:49-64 in which I came to imagine its expression through the account of Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord at Peniel in Genesis 32.

The artwork is Rembrandt’s painting of the same event which I find intriguing. The angel is not struggling, but is merely laying Jacob down. The angel’s left hand rests on Jacob’s hip which he will dislocate and his right hand holds Jacob’s neck as if to lay him down gently. I wonder what you see?

In the account from Genesis 32, Jacob eventually surrenders to the blessing that the Lord would give and releases the blessing he imagined he needed to wrest from Him. Of course, he was always better off clinging to the Lord rather than merely grasping at his gifts.

If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

In the house of my sojourning, this wrinkled tent
Which I fold into bed after the day,
As I lie down to sleep, my mind replays
My regrets and all I resent.

I’d chased after blessing tried to wrest from the Blesser,
A frowning father who’d not freely give—
A miser to be tricked so to get from him
The gift, I’d possess the possessor.

I awake in the night angry at cheaters who lie,
Show contempt for the truth, shamelessly mock
Others who trust whom they’ve beat and knocked
With their fists to break and divide.

But affliction throws me, in a hold, pins me in strife;
Left with a limp, I lament all night long;
I recall a verse from a children’s song
You promise to save and give life

Light comes in dayspring, wisdom full and free from above,
I see: all I have You’ve given by grace,
My portion is You, what I hold, Your embrace–
The fullness of your steadfast love.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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