Esau was coming to meet Jacob with four hundred men and Jacob was terrified, fearing that he was coming to kill him. Earlier in the day he kissed his wives and children good-bye and sent them across the brook Jabbok with all his earthly possessions. “And Jacob was left alone!” Confused, helpless, and afraid, he sat down and waited to die by the hand of his only brother. His plotting, scheming, and manipulating was over. He was shut up to the sovereign power and will of God. Like Israel at the Red Sea and Jonah in the whale, Jacob was totally dependent upon God to deliver him, and he knew it.
“Jacob was left alone,” because those whom God is pleased to save, to whom he reveals his mercy, love, and grace in Christ must be brought down and made to know their utter inability. God’s grace and God’s work leaves no room for boasting and glorying in the flesh. Jacob appeared to be in a terribly miserable condition; but he was in a truly blessed condition. To be left alone with God is the only way we can gain a true knowledge of ourselves. No man will ever truly see the corruption of his nature, the depravity of his heart, and the sinfulness of his deeds until he is left alone with God. It does not matter what we think of ourselves, or what others think of us, the great question is: — What does God think of us? We can never discover the answer to that question until we are “left alone.” Away from the world, away from self, away from the thoughts, reasoning, imaginations, and emotions of our proud flesh, and alone with God, — thus, and only thus can we get a real understanding of who and what we are.
Blessed is that sinner who is left alone with God! Isolation is the forerunner of revelation, grace, salvation, and blessing. Before God saves, he always separates. Before God speaks comfort to the hearts of chosen sinners, he allures them into the wilderness alone with him (Hosea 2:14). Before the Lord Jesus spoke pardon to the adulterous woman, she found herself alone with the incarnate God (John 8:9). Before Saul of Tarsus was granted God’ s salvation, he was separated from his companions by light from heaven and the voice of the Son of God (Acts 9:3- 8). Alone with God on the Damascus road, Saul met himself and met his Savior. And when Jacob was left alone, the God-man, his Savior, revealed himself to him and blessed him. Come, Lord, Your grace and power impart, Revive my cold, languishing heart! My heart’s affection, Savior, move, To You alone in ardent love!
ed Sovereign, reign within, — Subdue my native lusts and sin! O Savior, form Yourself in me, And let me live alone for Thee!