Wrestling with God–God Wins Again!
Scripture Reading for January 13: Genesis 32-36
Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something that you knew had the potential for trouble? You know you heard the Lord but needed reassurance that it was going to work out in spite of the very real potential. Our first move away from home to pastor a church in Washington was like that. We were used to being around family and familiar surrounding. The church we took had had some problems too. We were not sure they would like us or love us when the going got tough. We wrestled some concerning our move of 2000 miles with our daughter just ready for her senior year in a good Christian high school. We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far!
Jacob faced just such a challenge in his move back from Paddan Aram to his homeland. God commanded him to go back but he was concerned about the brother he had left behind nearly 20 years ago who was plotting to kill him. (Genesis 31:3, 13) Jacob had taken this brother’s birthright and stolen his father’s blessing. He had also just left his father-in-law upset by leaving and losing his family and herds to Jacob’s shrewdness. Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River. He divided them in groups and sent gifts for Esau but was in great fear and trembling when he heard Esau was coming with 400 men to meet him. He stayed behind to pray.
That night he was alone and Scripture says “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”. (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint. Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him. The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat, supplanter). The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.) The man wouldn’t give Israel his name, but did bless him and left. Israel named the place “Peniel”. This name states that he believed he had seen God face to face and was spared! Thus the nation of “Israel” was born out of this amazing wrestling match! God wins again!
Wrestling with God isn’t a bad thing if we are desparate for His blessing! God loves it when we lay hold of Him as our only hope! It’s a sure way to true blessing, but we may walk with a limp! It’s a humbling thing to be touched by the Lord! We will never walk the same way again! Thankfully, ways of cheating, lying and manipulating to get our way are left behind. Our past is gone! We have a “new Name” written down in Glory!
And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Genesis 36:11-12
“He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17