Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wrestling with God

Wrestling with God
Feb 7, 2011
Genesis 32:24 "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak."

Jacob wrestled with God. He literally endured a true wrestling match, a physical struggle. While the actual identity of Jacob's wrestling opponent is not known, it is clear he was a representative of God, a heavenly being. What makes Jacob's wrestling match an interesting tale is the story line found in reading just a few Bible verses before the match. In the verses preceding Jacob's wrestling, we find Jacob in emotional distress and intense prayer because he feared for his very life (due to a bad relationship with his brother Esau--Genesis 32:1-23). Jacob took his dire situation before God in prayerful earnestness. After Jacob took his situation in prayer before the Lord, he was not given an answer or promise from God, but instead was "attacked" by a man who became Jacob's wrestling opponent. This physical wrestling is the only time in Scripture where this happens and it is quite bizarre. We have to wonder: why would God not simply talk back to him through Jacob's established prayer line? Why would God send a man to physically fight with Jacob?

If you read the Bible from an historical point of view, Jacob did not have any Scriptures to turn to for spiritual guidance to his problems. In fact, there probably wasn't a single written account of God that Jacob could open up, read, ponder, or use to discover truths. Jacob had to discover and learn things about God first hand. He could not turn to the pages of the prophets for promises from the Lord. Oftentimes, when we as Christians go through tough times, we turn to the pages of the Bible for answers. And rightly so, that is what God intended. He gave us the Scriptures for our spiritual wrestling, our search for truths and solutions to life's situations. We have the luxury of seeking Godly council from educated men and women who can help us use Scripture to wrestle with the answers to life's tough dilemmas. But Jacob, he had nothing to rely on, not even a friend. In fact, the very words preceding the initiation of Jacob's wrestling match read, "So Jacob was left alone."

Jacob's wrestling match is significant because of the outcome. The end of the wrestling match did not result in a winner and a loser. The end of the wrestling match was simply a realization by both parties (Jacob AND the other man) that Jacob was not going to give up; he was not going to quit. Jacob continued to fight the entire time; He never relented and wasn't willing to back down. There is a huge spiritual significance to this as it is representative of Jacob's character. Jacob was not a quitter; he proved that through his wrestling. Whatever it took, Jacob was going to continue to fight, continue to wrestle through things. Jacob proved to God that day a resolve in his character that demonstrated his willingness to work through life's tough situations. You can sum up this story of Jacob's wrestling in a few words: Jacob prayed and then Jacob fought for his life.

Christian, tough times are an opportunity for you to demonstrate the resolve in your character. Are you going to back down or are you going to wrestle through life's tough situations without giving up? It is your opportunity to pray and then wrestle through God's Word for the answers and solutions. Tough situations are not the time to quit or be beaten down, they are an opportunity to come out a survivor and with a blessing from the battle. If you read Jacob's story, towards the end of the wrestling, the angel of the Lord wrenched Jacob's hip, giving him a permanent reminder of the struggle. But Jacob also walked away with a blessing. Jacob was granted a blessing from wrestling through the tough situation, the situation in which Jacob was not willing to quit. Christian, don't back down. You might end up with a few battle scars from this life, but when you come through as an overcomer it is a tremendous blessing. You will then live as a victor over your problems; open God's Word and don't be afraid to wrestle for the solutions.

Jacob wrestled all through the night and only at dawn was the match complete. Wrestle through the darkness, the light is coming.

1. What situations in your life seem like a wrestling match?
2. Are you wrestling through it with the Lord or are you giving up?
3. How can you demonstrate to God your willingness to be an over-comer, allowing your Christian character to shine through?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Gen 32

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