Sunday, March 31, 2019

Is It OK To Wrestle

Is It OK To Wrestle
April 1, 2019
Genesis 32:28  "Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.'"

Jacob was called a deceiver, a supplanter, one who was conniving and always angling to manipulate the situation. He was not known as a humble man or a gentle man but one who was a trickster, at least that was his typical fall-back behavior. Despite Jacob's typical disposition, the Lord still desired to use him intricately in His master plan to start the Jewish people. Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, was the original Jew.  Before the Lord changed his name to Israel, the father of the Jews, the Lord tested his mettle, moreover the Lord wrestled with Jacob, or was it that Jacob wrestled with God?

Browsing Bible stories, you never read of a man who was audacious enough to wrestle with God. Moses was told to take off his shoes or hide his face in fear of the Lord.  Isaiah trembled in fear on the ground before the Lord. The disciples called Jesus "Master" out of respect for the authority, but not Jacob. Jacob was willing to fight, literally and physically. The Bible says that Jacob wrestled all through the night and when Jacob never submitted or yielded in the struggle, he was finally hobbled to end the battle. Jacob was not willing to quit, he never realized his place. No one ever wrestled with the Lord before, at least not in the literal sense; no one has ever been that bold. Was it a wise thing or a foolish thing to wrestle with the Lord? He was never going to win. Many people say the wrestling was a figurative battle, because it was all through the night, that it was really in a dream. Maybe he awoke and had been sleeping wrong on his hip, hence waking up with a limp.  And what were they wrestling about, why? There is never mention as to the reason. A wrestling match between men is typically to prove who is stronger, who is the alpha male, did Jacob really think he would win that match?

No one will ever know why the Lord decided to wrestle with Jacob in the first place, why he even entertained it. Maybe it was to teach Jacob to finally submit, to realize he was not the alpha male, leaving him permanently scared as a result. Some of you have scars on your mind and body, wounds that may have healed but not without leaving evidence of a battle permanently etched into soul. Those battles, they changed you, some for the good and others not so much. Jacob came away humbled from the fight, with every step that he took thereafter, walking with a limp. Did Jacob regret it in hindsight; was it worth it in the end? It changed Jacob, that's for sure; he was left with a limp and a new name, Israel.

Wrestling in life will certainly change a person; we are often mature or grow during the struggle. Sometimes it shows us what we can do and who we really are and sometimes it leaves us with a permanent limp. This is the same with the Lord as well. He is big enough to let you struggle with Him, knowing that it might be a process you have to go through to come out a changed person. But when you wrestle with God, battling through what you believe and why you believe it, be prepared for the Lord to win and be prepared to leave your old person behind. You will not be the same when you decide to wrestle through things with the Lord. If you have a problem, then dive into Scripture, ask the tough questions, have some heavy conversations with the Lord and wrestle through it. It will be a struggle and it may not be pleasant, but the knowledge and wisdom you should come away with could be the turning point for what the Lord has for you next, just like Jacob. It is OK to wrestle with the Lord, as long as you realize you will not win. When Jacob wrestled, it turned out to be a good thing, despite the battle wound.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Gen 32:22-31

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