Genesis 32:24-28 “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.”
Whoever has encountered God has experienced the dilemma of battling their will against God’s will. The stubbornness of mankind has a long history of posing a limited understanding against God’s divine knowledge.
Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
I have had many encounters in my life when I have wrestled with God. Not like Jacob who literally wrestled with Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, the pre-incarnate Christ who came to save us. When I was a young man, trying to understand the direction God was taking me, I came to a juncture in which I realized the path I was on was not the way He wanted me to go. I was in a program that I had joined simply because I liked science, I soon realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do or which direction to go so I quit school and continued working in a very low paying job.
For a year I worked and prayed, asking for direction from God. My wife and I had another child during this time, and I realized this job would not be enough to sustain income for my family. We were meeting weekly with a small christian group of people through our church and each week when we prayed, I would ask if they would pray God give me direction. Each week, I felt like God was silent and my prayers would go unanswered but it turned out God had other plans for me.
I was wrestling with God in being patient with His timing and my patience was wearing thin. As a brash young man, that year of waiting was exactly where God wanted me to be and when He spoke, He spoke quietly and with perfection. I was given a suggestion by one of my church members and I tested it to see if that was where God was leading, turned out it was. The timing was perfect, the program I enlisted in was a perfect fit for me and it has progressed into a career today.
I realize now, after many years of walking with God that He would have supplied my needs regardless of my job. There were other principles He was teaching me that were far more valuable than a career.
Like Jacob, for us to hear God, He often takes us to the end of ourselves. We often have such a high regard of ourselves, we are unable to listen to the One who just might have a better understanding of our circumstances than we do. From a human a perspective, we often think we won’t receive anything from God. If we feel worthless we might limit our ability to receive anything, simply because we don’t ask in faith. The thinking that we are not loved by God is not conducive to growth, it limits our ability to receive.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The battle that is being waged is a spiritual conflict.
When we think we are wrestling with God, we may be wrestling against the enemy. The victory is dependent on how we are equipped. Attempt to battle Satan with good intentions, nice thoughts, or even worldly meditation and you set yourself up for a bitter defeat.
If we try to live according to the worlds standards, we will fall. The world attempts to conjure up all forms of ways to bring about peace, security, or eternal solace. Many of their techniques which have Hindu or Buddhist overtones, are practiced by a tradition in which they have no knowledge of Truth, and these practices are what the Bible refers to as doctrines of demons.
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,”
Meditation is good if it is centered in worship. The Lord delights in our praises and many times the Holy Spirit draws near in the midst of them.
Jacob had been praying for God’s blessing and God answered him.
Genesis 32:9-12 Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’
Isn’t it funny how God answered his prayer?
God met him at the river and a literal wrestling match ensues. Jacob was so caught up in his circumstances, he couldn’t recognize when God was there face to face.
It’s just like Jesus to forsake His glory and get in the mud with His people. He could have taken Jacob out with a word and yet He lets him work out his frustration before finally teaching him the lesson of meekness. The Lord simply touched his hip and the fight was over. Jacob limped for the rest of his life, a continuous reminder of who was really in control.
What has the Lord touched in your Life?
Has God shown you that your strength and understanding is only as good as what He has revealed to you?
We may pray, but do we listen? We may think we have the strength to overcome, then God shows us that by our strength we are helpless. The lineage of Jacob became the standard by which God revealed Himself to the children of Israel. Jacob had such a troubled, deceptive, and brash attitude and yet the Lord brought his pride back into the realm of the righteous.
Jacob’s sons eventually became the patriarchal heads of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Genesis 35:11 “And God told him, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation—even a company of nations—shall come from you, and kings shall descend from you. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”
The Lord blesses those who trust in Him.
After his time of wrestling, Jacob was led by God and God rewarded him for following. Wrestling with God means we are growing. We are learning that His ways are the ways we always desired and just didn’t understand. We grow in trust, in hope, and in the confidence that He will never forsake us. We learn that He is God and we are not.
Wherever we interact with the Lord, we are left transformed by His presence.
Reach out to Jesus and He says you will find Him. He isn’t aloof, He doesn’t play hard to get, just like Jacob at the river, He meets you on your journey and when He does, you will be changed forever.