Wrestling with God

Scott Stevenson 

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.”  Genesis 32:24

As you read the life of Jacob, it was an interesting life to say the least.  Jacob relied on his cunning and physical prowess to obtain his blessings up to this point.  Jacob’s name means “heel catcher”, but his name sounds like the word "cheat" in Hebrew.  In the Old Testament, a name is linked to a person’s nature.  At the time of this event, Jacob was not sure of who the man was that provoked the attack.  How many times have you had unprovoked attacks come into your life?  God is trying to tell us something.  Are we seeking his face? We tend to think that God is far off and is not listening to us. Well, this time God came to Jacob in a personal way.

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”” (Genesis 32:24–30, ESV)

Jacob’s using God’s blessings for his purposes were about to come due when he would meet with his brother. Jacob’s cunning and physical prowess was not going to work this time.  In fact, Jacob had already received a blessing when God warned Laban, not to harm him.

“But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”” Genesis 31:24

Have you ever heard the term, “We had a coming to Jesus meeting?”  Well, that’s what happened in this wrestling match.  God wants us to rely entirely on Him for our blessings.  During this wrestling match, God did two things with Jacob.  One, He changed his name to Israel, which means “God fights.”  Two, Jacob realized that he was not fighting with a man when he displaced his hip and indicated he needed to leave before daybreak.  Jacob finally used his God-given talent to cling to God for his blessing.  We all have fought against God on different issues in our lives.  We need to remember that God fights for us, even if that means fighting you.  Spending time with God and knowing His plans will allow you to see when you are negating your own blessings from God.  Israel finally stopped trying to do things under his steam and clung to God.  Let us do the same.

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