Jacob: He Wrestled with God
by Michael A. Woldt
Jacob enters Pharaoh’s court, a cloud of dust following him. His son has briefed him on how to approach the most powerful man in the world. And as Jacob draws near to the great king of Egypt, he reflects on his life, and how God’s faithfulness has saved him so many times before.
Jacob is another book in the God’s People series (I’ve previously reviewed Noah and Abraham). Just like the other two, this is a bite-size book that doesn’t seek to write historical fiction, but to show us God’s faithfulness to his people in a narrative way. This particular book focuses on the trickster Jacob.
I greatly appreciated author Michael Woldt’s way of making each person come alive. Rebekah, Jacob’s mother, has more of a personality than I think I’ve ever seen before. He shows her telling Jacob the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah, and Jacob learning of God’s promises and his faithfulness. Jacob’s reasons for tricking his brother and running, and his guilt, all come to life. Woldt stays loyal to scripture even while showing us the grand scope of Jacob’s story.
Unlike previous entries in the series, though, I found the sidebars to be less useful. They certainly weren’t bad – for instance, one sidebar on Edom showed where Esau’s descendants settled – but I just didn’t feel they were as necessary as they were for Noah’s or Abraham’s entries in the series.
I also really enjoyed how Woldt began his telling of the story at the end of Jacob’s life. It not only placed things in context well, but made me consider Jacob’s life from a different perspective. Usually Jacob’s arrival in Egypt is told from his son Joseph’s perspective; not in this book! Opening there helped me set aside what I knew and enjoy the story of God’s people anew.
Like the other two entries I’ve read in the series, I highly recommend this. The entire series is shaping up to be a great addition to my library!