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Jacob Wrestles with God

Sunday I tried to apply Jacob's wrestling match with God to our own struggles to be blessed by God. Here are some of my observations:

We wrestle with God often out of fear and helplessness. (Gen. 32:9-12)

Jacob divided his tribe into two groups and sent his servants ahead with gifts to placate his brother. He then prayed a prayer born out of fear in which he reminded God of his promises. We pray like this; when we are afraid and reminding God what He said He would do. At least, Jacob is now admitting God--not him--is responsible for his wealth and well-being.

We wrestle for a blessing we realize we can no longer acquire on our own. (Gen. 32:22-24)

That night, with the river Jabbok between him and his brother, Jacob wrestled “a man,” “angel” (Hosea 12), “God” (v. 30). He begged for a blessing he had already received but refused to let go of God until he knew it was his. How often to we struggle with God for a blessing He has already given us as His covenant bearers in Christ Jesus? I find most of my desires for blessing is more out of my ego than my desire to live out God's call on my life.

God sometimes ends our wrestling match by giving us a new name and a limp. (Gen. 32:25-29; 2 Cor. 5:17, 18; 1:3, 4)

God dislocated Jacob’s hip to remind him who was the powerful one. God changed Jacob’s name to remind us who we truly are. His limp meant God is powerful, and I am His servant. Jacob needed a reminder his conniving and cheating was no longer needed when he lived in God's blessed presence.God changed his name from Heel Grabber (I'm in charge) to God Wrestler (God's in charge). Jacob did wrestle with others and God, and he prevailed. So, Israel still wrestles with God to this day.2 Cor. 5:17, 18: reminds us we are a new creation and have ministry of reconciliation as Christ's covenant bearers.2 Cor. 1:3, 4 teaches us our limp of weakness is a sign of God’s comfort we can show others.

I concluded:

Brokenness is a spiritual reality we all must experience as we journey with God. Until that happens we live under the illusion we are in control.

How have you struggled with God? How has your limp served as a bridge to share the comfort of God with others? When was your River Jabbok all-night wrestling match with God?